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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

Smith Rock is situated just outside of the small town of Terrebonne Oregon and it is a very well known climbing and hiking destination. But you can also ride in this park and enjoy the incredible beauty from horseback.

Smith Rock State Park.

To get there: From Terrebonne drive east on Smith Rock Way, and follow signs 3 miles to the park. Once there, take a the left at the sign that says RV and bus parking, which is before you get to the car parking area. There are mapboards at the pay stations and also brochures you can take with you that have a map of the trails. The junctions are all signed and marked. It is a $5.00 per day fee if you do not have a state park pass.

The RV/bus/trailer parking area.

The trails are clearly marked.

The Crooked River runs through the park and if you are lucky you may see otters frolicking in the water. There are also a lot of Canada geese, bald and golden eagles that nest here, and of course tourists! This is a popular place, and to avoid the crowds it is better to visit during the week.
Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash.

An otter enjoys his fresh fish catch.

Canada goose with babies.

There are always climbers at Smith Rock.

Monkey Face is one of the most unique rock formations to behold, and you can ride past it on the River Trail and also a section of the Summit Trail.
Monkey Face.

There are about 6 miles of horse trails that include two river crossings, but there is no real way to do a loop, (horses are not allowed on a section of private land) so you will have to ride one way for awhile, then turn around and go back, which does add more mileage. Also the park borders BLM and after crossing the northern side of the river you can head up the Burma Road and out into public land from there. Or on the flip side you can start at Skull Hollow Trailhead and ride into the park from the north. As far as camping goes,  Cyrus Horse Camp is the closest place to stay, and although you could technically ride all the way to Smith Rock from camp, it would be a long trek.

The Burma Road from afar.

On the Burma Rd. Trail.

On the Burma Road.

Looking down on the park from the Burma Road.

On the Gray Butte Trail in the BLM that borders the park.

If anyone saw the recent movie "Wild" about a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, oddly a scene from the movie was filmed here, although the PCT does NOT run through Smith Rock!

A viewpoint on the Canyon Trail.

Interesting erosion on the Canyon Trail.

The southern river crossing is most definitely quite deep when the river is full, "swim your horse" type of deep, so waiting until the water level recedes is best.
The crossing to the north is usually the easy one, but this spring it is raging, with our heavy snow pack just now starting to melt.

One of the horse ford signs.

The northern horse ford, currently a little deep.

Summer can get quite hot, and there are rattlesnakes once it's warm enough for them to venture out. I tend to not even hike/ride here during the summer, the other three seasons being much more preferable temperature wise.

On the River Trail.

Happy Trails!


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