Misery Ridge Loop
Misery Ridge Loop
Millions of years of complex volcanic eruptions, lava flows, and erosion all come together at Smith Rock State Park, providing fantastical rock spires that tower above the surrounding plateau north of Bend, Oregon. Renowned as a mecca for rock climbers – there are more than 1,000 documented routes – the park also offers a fabulous hiking loop with varied views that'll impress the whole family.
Misery Ridge Loop combines several trails in the park that (primarily) exist to shuttle rock climbers from one section of the park to another. Begin at the day-use parking area and drop down into the canyon and cross Crooked River on a bridge. Once across, reach signage and the official start of the Misery Ridge Trail.
The trail climbs steeply to the north on short switchbacks to 2,900' before leveling out slightly. The trail is well-maintained, but many spurs leave the main trail – these are climber's trails heading off to the base of various climbs, so keep an eye out and make sure to stick with the widest path. At 0.40 miles, the trail turns south and reaches the summit at 0.75 miles and 3,360' elevation. Take a moment to rest and enjoy sweeping views east to the Ochoco Mountains.
Continue on the now-level trail for 200 yards and arrive at the west facing slopes of Misery Ridge looking out towards Monkey Face, an enormous 350' stand-alone pillar. Below, Crooked River cuts an impressive route through the park, and out west, the major volcanoes of the Oregon Cascades dominate the distant horizon.
From here, the trail drops steeply and connects with the Mesa Verde Trail at 1.0 miles. Head left at the junction (along the rock face) and descend gently for a half-mile before joining the River Trail. This mixed-use trail follows a flat course along Crooked River around the bend and back to the trailhead for Misery Ridge. Head back across the bridge and up to the parking lot, finishing your loop at just under 3.4 miles.
Permits & Tips
Oregon State Park Pass required; day-use permits ($5) are available for purchase at the parking areas. Toilets available at parking area. Walk-in tent camping is allowed in designated Bivouac Area, but no RV or vehicle camping allowed. No fires. Dogs must be on leash. The River Trail is open to horses and bikes, so keep an eye out. The entire hike is exposed to the weather, we recommend going early in the summer and bringing plenty of water as it gets very hot at the park. Also note that rattlesnakes are present in the park – be aware of your surroundings and avoid putting yourself at risk.
How to get there
From Hwy 97, head east onto B Ave/NE Smith Rock Way.
At 0.6 miles, turn left (north) onto NE 1st St/Lambert Road. After a half-mile, Lambert Rd bends to the right (east) and becomes NE Wilcox Street.
Follow for 1.5 miles and turn left (north) onto NE Crooked River Drive and enter the park 0.5 miles further.
Parking is on the left side of the road in one of three day-use parking lots.