Smith Rock State Park is an American state park located in central Oregon's High Desert near the communities of Redmond and Terrebonne. Its sheer cliffs of tuff and basalt are ideal for rock climbing of all difficulty levels. Smith Rock is generally considered the birthplace of modern American sport climbing, and is host to cutting-edge climbing routes. It is popular for sport climbing, traditional climbing, multi-pitch climbing, and bouldering.
The geology of Smith Rocks is volcanic. It is made up of layers of recent basalt flows overlaying older Clarno ash and tuff formations. Approximately 30 million years ago, a large caldera was formed when overlying rock collapsed into an underground lava chamber. This created a huge amount of rock and ash debris that filled the caldera. That material solidified into rock, becoming Smith Rock tuff. Rhyolite flows intruded along faults in the Smith Rock Tuff.
More recently, the Crooked River cut its way through the layers of rock to create today's geographic features. Smith Rock itself is a 3,200-foot (980 m)-high ridge (above sea level) with a sheer cliff-face overlooking a bend in the Crooked River (elev. 2600 ft), making the cliffs about 600 feet high.
The origin of the Smith Rock name is uncertain. One story, published the Albany States Rights Democrat in 1867, states that Smith Rock was named after John Smith, who was Linn County Sheriff and an Oregon state legislator in the 1850s and 1860s. The newspaper article credits Smith with "discovering" the rock. Another story claims the rock was named after a soldier named Smith who fell to his death from the rock in 1863 while his unit was camped nearby.
The State of Oregon obtained the park property between 1960 and 1975 from the City of Redmond and Harry and Diane Kem.
The park has many miles of developed trails for hiking. The trails have viewpoints along the routes that overlook the Crooked River and nearby rock formations. The two main trails are the Summit Trail and Misery Ridge. The park's trail network links to neighboring Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management trails on adjacent public lands. The soil and native vegetation on the steep hillsides in the park are very sensitive to damage, so visitors are required to stay on established trails
Smith Rock State Park has more than 1,800 rock climbing routes as of 2010. The park is broken up into walls and have names commonly used by the climbing community.
Christian Brothers, The Dihedrals, The Upper and Lower Gorge, The Marsupials, Monkey Face Area, Morning Glory Wall, Picnic Lunch Wall, Red Wall, Rope-de-Dope, Ships and Gullies, Smith Rock Groups, West Side Crags.
The park's day-use area has a visitor center, picnic facilities, and restrooms. The day-use area is open from dawn to dusk year-round. There is also a tent-only campground for overnight visitors. The campsites are located approximately 600 feet (180 m) from a parking area along the park's main access road. Restrooms, showers, and a cooking area are located near the parking area. Open fires are not permitted. Many of the state park campers will stay at Skull Hollow, a nearby BLM camp ground
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