Smith Rock State Park
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The park is a fantastic year-round destination. However, the best seasons for hiking and climbing are spring and fall; while spring weather might be unpredictable sometimes. The most stable weather outside of high season is usually from mid-September until mid-November. If you’d like to avoid the crowds at all costs and still experience pleasant temperatures go in OCTOBER: The heavy crowds are gone and the weather is still nice: Average high 62°F (17°C).
Weather and Crowds
Smith Rock State Park benefits from minimal rainfall and mostly sunny weather throughout the year. It has its own microclimate: The highs average some degrees warmer than recorded at the closest weather station. Monthly weather: Scroll down to the chart
March - May (Spring): Usually pleasant temperatures for hiking and climbing, especially in May. However, spring weather is sometimes unpredictable. Particularly April can still be tricky, because of the snow and rain. Quote from a local: 'April and May here in Central Oregon is some of the strangest weather months.'
June - August (Summer): Extremely hot, especially in July/August! With temperatures that often crack 100 degrees in midsummer, you have to start your hike early and bring plenty of water. It’s also ridiculously busy. Particularly narrow tracks like Misery Ridge get very crowded, even more on weekends.
September - mid-November (Autumn): Stable weather, pleasant temperatures. Perfect months for hiking and climbing. It's still crazy busy in September.
December - February (Winter): If you don’t mind the cold (dropping below 32°F / 0°C) and want to experience pure nature without any crowds go in the winter. Hiking or even climbing is a great experience. An excellent winter report: Smith Rock State Park in Winter
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Most of the time it’s heavily crowded from May until September. Even in April, the weekends are already jam-packed. Only in OCTOBER, the crowds start to dissipate. If you visit in late spring, summer or early fall: Avoid weekends at all costs. Instead go early and on a weekday. Otherwise, the park gets ridiculously busy. The parking lots fill up extremely quick, and trails are crowded as well. However, especially in spring and fall, you should be able to get away from the crowds after hiking a few miles.
Smith Rock State Park has stunning scenic views of deep river canyons. It’s a very popular destination for climbers. Its wide range of climbs can be overwhelming and watching the climbers is spectacular. There are also several eagle nests in the park. But it’s not only for climbing. There are amazing hiking trails as well like the Misery Ridge Trail. It ends at the base of the ‘Monkey Face’, a park icon (photos 4 and 5 in the gallery).
Other popular activities are slackline, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Where to Stay (bookmarks the links)
- Sleep Inn & Suites (Redmond): Excellent value for the money. Super clean, very friendly and helpful staff, fast internet. We highly recommend this one. 12-minute drive to Smith Rock State Park
- Alternative Hotels/Lodges: Smith Rock State Park. Enter your preferred dates and then check the list of hotels. Make sure to change the search criteria to your liking at the top bar. We usually select 'Review Score & Price'.
First photo in the gallery: Courtesy Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.