If you live in the Pacific Northwest and don't have plans to visit the Grand Canyon anytime soon, don't worry, you have your very own natural wonder much closer. Located in Terrebonne, about three hours from Portland and 30 minutes from Bend, Smith Rock State Park is one the Seven Wonders of Oregon and the birthplace of American sport climbing. With thousands of climbs and over a thousand bolted routes, whether you're a novice or an expert climbing enthusiast, Smith Rock is a must-visit.
The towering rocks and winding river may leave you speechless, but you'll still be able to snap a few photos as you take in the towers of volcanic ash and catherdral spires. Oh, and did we mention they get 300 days of sun a year? Adventure paradise: found.
Beyond climbing, the park offers hiking, fishing, camping, and mountain biking trails. Open year-around, fall, winter and spring are the most ideal times to visit as during summer, the rocks can get so hot they actually melt through your shoes. Summer is best spent by the water.
The photo opps don't stop at rock climbing. There is an abundance of wildlife - from eagles to deer - that call Smith Rock State Park home. Have your camera ready because you never know when that perfect moment may happen.
Plan Your Visit
Smith Rock State Park is a perfect day-trip from Bend. While there are plenty of hotels in the city, we love the little chalets right on the lakes and rivers. This house is closer to Sisters (not too far from Smith Rocks State Park) and has it's own pond right outside the backdoor. The stargazing opportunities from the hot tub aren't too shabby either.
Once you've had your fill of outdoor activities, head back to Bend to embark on a new adventure -- of the culinary variety. With over 17 breweries in the area and new wineries and distilleries popping up all the time, it's unofficially Beer Town USA. If you're visiting in November make sure to join the Bend Ale Trail for your chance to win trophies and prizes for imbibing.
Bend is a great stop on a longer road trip through Oregon or a perfect weekend getaway. While the climbing may have been what got you there, you'll stay for the beer, food, and striking beauty.