Snow Camp at Smith Rock

Rate this Adventure Oregon Smith Rock Parking Area

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Get spectacular views of a classic summer getaway in a whole new light. The park has easy to access campgrounds with numerous amenities and a camp host. Explore a wide variety of hiking trails around the rock formation and river, with unobstructed views as far as the eye can see.

Just 140 miles southeast of Portland, and 27 miles north of Bend, lies a clustering of rocks more prominently referred to as Smith Rock.

This intricate rock formation is a mecca for climbers during the warm summer months, however the landmark unveils a new face during the snowy season that few ever see.

Upon your arrival at Smith Rock, make the short trek from the parking lot to the designated camping bivouac (~250 feet). Here you will have the option to camp anywhere within the fenced boundary varying from cliff-side views to flat meadows or tree sheltered hideaways. One of the many perks of camping during the snowy season means less campers in the bivouac, allowing you to set up camp in spots that offer the best views possible and would normally already be taken. The campgrounds also offers fully functioning restrooms, picnic areas, and showers (available for purchase for $2 at entrance of campgrounds).

After you are settled in the real adventure begins! From the bivouac, take the Rope-De-Dope Trail towards the river until it dead ends with the Canyon Trail (~.4 miles). Continue west (river will be to your left) along the Crooked River until you reach the wooden bridge spanning the width of the water (~.35 miles). In the warmer months the most popular route to take from here would be up Misery Ridge, however in the colder season this can often be covered in ice and more hazardous to scale.

That being said, take advantage of the lack of climbers on the wall!! By continuing east (river will be on your left) along the Crooked River on the River Trail you will be inspired by views of the rocks towering over the partially frozen river. Just before the river bends to the left (~.45 miles) scurry up a side trail to the base of the rock wall. From here continue to hike east along the base of the wall until you reach Asterisk Pass (~700 feet). At just below 2,800 feet in elevation this is the highest point of the hike. There's even a hollowed out boulder just past the sign which gives you a great viewpoint to stop and eat lunch at or maybe just warm up your hands and toes.

When you are ready to return to the bivouac, simply retrace your steps.

Pack List

  • Overnight camping permit ($5/person/night - purchased at entrance of campgrounds)
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Extra clothing (layers)
  • Waterproof hiking shoes
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Food/water
  • 10 essentials
  • Camera
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How to Get There

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Added by Matt Klemsz

Wannabe professional wanderer attempting to capture the beauty of the outdoors.

Activities:

Camping, Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Winter

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

350 Feet

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildlife

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