Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,043.00 ft (317.91 m)
Trail type
3.80 mi (6.12 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Smith Rock State Park is not just for adrenaline-seeking rock climbers or mountain bikers; there are a series of trails throughout the famous rock formations that draw in just about every skill level. The Misery Ridge to River Trail offers a moderate adventure that will satisfy those looking to see what expansive views lie beyond the entry point.

Descend into the state park from the parking lot area. It may seem daunting at first, but be sure to begin the trail counter clockwise and ascend up the steep trail to the right. You'll thank yourself later. Hikers will gain the majority of the elevation in the first section of the trail, climbing just over 1,000 feet on switchbacks and wooden stairs. Along this portion, there are cave-like rock formations and a small subtrail toward the beginning on the left that follows a ridgeline of high rock walls with a nice view. 

Traversing upward, the trail offers expansive views of the Crooked River and the state park below. Once the Misery Ridge Summit is reached, the plateau leads to different vantage points of the state park. This flat portion of the trail is a quick reprieve before winding to the opposite side of the ridge. From there, hikers will see Monkey Face, a rock pillar who's tip resembles a — you guessed it — monkey. On a clear day, the region's mountains: Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor will give way. 

Take the Mesa Verde Trail on the descent and head left. The trail descends gradually through switchbacks before meeting the River Trail, which is a beautiful, flat trail that meanders along the Crooked River. This section of the hike features wildlife — Geese and Blue Herons galore — mountain bikers and clusters of rock climbers. 

The trail will eventually loop you back to the front of Smith Rock and hikers can take the paved path back up to the parking lot. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Wildlife. Family friendly. Unique landscape. Near other adventures.


Crowded. Exposed to weather.

Trailhead Elevation

2,238.00 ft (682.14 m)

Highest point

3,281.00 ft (1,000.05 m)


ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required




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