On a recent family tour of Bend and Sunriver in central Oregon, we stopped for a day at Smith Rock State Park to take in the incredible landscape and get some hiking in.
This was a trip of many discoveries for us, not having spent much time in the area previously, and Smith Rock was one of our favorites. We arrived mid-morning and the weather (in May) was very pleasant (about 75 degrees all the time we were there), but the parking areas were already nearly full as this is apparently a popular weekend spot! However, in a large park with so many trails and climbing areas to choose from, it never felt especially crowded.
In our group of two families with eight kids between us, we kept to the main paths, which were large and very well-maintained – enough to travel with a good-sized stroller and not find any difficulty maneuvering our way through.
There are countless opportunities for great photos overlooking Smith Rock and the river, and we kept our cameras at the ready and came away with lots and lots of pictures…
Smith Rock is encircled by Crooked River at the bottom of a canyon, with trails leading up and down from the rim (where the entrance and parking area is). We did not get too adventurous with so many young children in tow, but the whole park features quite a few miles of developed hiking paths.
If you’re into mountain climbing, Smith Rock is reputed to feature over a thousand different routes up the face of the rock. We found a children’s climbing area and playground near the entrance which was a little more our speed for this trip!
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and found it to be a great family destination with some of the most unique landscapes we’ve seen around our home state of Oregon. It inspires us to find time to explore more of the central part of the state in the future!