Smith Rock State Park in winter is an incredible destination that offers hiking, rock climbing, and more. It's a true year-round state park that's beautiful in any season.
As all outdoor lovers know, the beginning of winter really changes the game. But it doesn't have to if you're visiting Smith Rock State Park in winter. Smith Rock is a seriously one-of-a-kind destination in central Oregon that's incredible throughout the year.
Don't forget! You'll need an Oregon State Parks Pass all year long. Or, you can buy a day pass for $5 at any of the pay stations. They only take cards!
Yes, it definitely does get cold at Smith Rock. But, since it's in the deserted shrublands of central Oregon, rain is far less of an issue than it is throughout the rest of Oregon and Washington. It's one of the only Oregon State Parks you can enjoy year-round.
If you're a climber, hiker, or a general lover of being outside throughout the year, Smith Rock is a fantastic choice for winter hikes and snowy views.
Visiting Smith Rock in Winter
Smith Rock is one of Oregon's most popular parks, and in the winter, it surely gains in popularity compared to the coastal parks that usually take the crown of the "best" park in Oregon.
Rainy Ecola State Park has nothing on snowy Smith Rock in winter!
Yes, you can visit Smith Rock State Park throughout the year. It's open year-round, and your ability to visit is only defined by the roads you have to take to get there.
If you're driving from Portland, you may have trouble getting over Government Pass. But it's not impassable. They keep the road pretty clear, and if you check out the Government Pass webcams, you can keep an eye on how bad/good the roads are.
From Bend or Redmond, you'll have few problems. Sometimes, the highway gets a little snowy, but there is far less snow around Smith than there is closer to Portland. In fact, the landscape change can be incredibly striking.
Leadbetter Point State Park is another interesting option when the weather cools down.
Winter Smith Rock Hikes
Hiking at Smith Rock in winter is incredible, especially if there's snow! If you've visited in the summer, then you'll be well aware of how hot it can feel, even if it's only 70 degrees outside. Winter is a very different story.
In the sun, it's absolutely gorgeous, and in the shade, you'll quickly want to pull on your biggest puffy jacket, especially if it's windy!
Rim Rock Trail
The popular Rim Rock Trail is an easy 1-mile hike through the gorgeous Smith Rock State Park. If you're hoping to hike in Smith Rock during the winter, you'll really enjoy this short jaunt through the park.
To hike this trail, take the path from the leftmost parking area down towards the canyon and then loop around to the left. You'll end the hike in the Bivouac camping area.
The Canyon Trail is another great option in Smith Rock during winter. It takes you into the middle of Smith Rock and around the main Smith Rock Group.
You can follow the trail to the left, passing super historic rock climbing routes and walls on the other side of the river, including the Dihedrals, Christian Brothers, Phoenix Buttress, and the whole Smith Rock Group.
You'll find the end of the trail right before turning the corner around to the far side of the tallest rock formations. Follow a few switchbacks up the side of the canyon to the parking lot.
Crooked River Trail
This is another great, easy option if you're visiting in the winter. The trail is a total of 4.5 miles long, but you don't have to do the entire trail if you don't want to.
The trail takes you around to the back of Smith Rock. If you want to, you can extend your hike and travel in a full loop back to the paved entrance.
Climbing at Smith Rock in Winter
Smith Rock is open for climbing throughout the winter. This famed sport climbing destination has some of the best weather in the state in the winter. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't rain and/or snow.
The highway stays clear of snow around Smith Rock, as do the parking areas. As long as you keep an eye on the weather, you're likely to find a great weather window.
Camping at Smith Rock in Winter
If you want to camp at Smith Rock in the winter, there are a few different options. The Climbers Bivouac Campground is the most popular option as it's in the park itself. It's open year-round!
You can also find a lot of dispersed camping near Smith Rock. For example, traveling down Lower Bridge Road. But, be aware in these dispersed camping areas, there are no resources. You'll need to pack in and pack out all of your supplies, and please don't leave anything behind!
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