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Smith Rock State Park – Tips and Images

Smith Rock State Park Oregon tips and images @handbookofnaturestudy

Smith Rock State Park

Terrebonne, Oregon


This is an amazing place to visit if you’re ever in the Bend, Oregon area. We had a free day when our daughter was visiting from New York and we were searching for a place to do some day hiking. Smith Rock State Park isn’t far from our new house so we packed up some lunches and water and set off fairly early on a Saturday morning. The weather was sunny and warm so lots of other people had the same idea of getting outside to enjoy the day.

The parking lot was nearly full but we did manage to score a slot in the grassy area. There is a day use fee of $5 that you can pay at the self-serve station in the parking area.

Here is a link to the home page for Smith Rock State Park.

Smith Rock State Park @handbookofnaturestudy

We visited the information center before choosing our hike. We were hoping to find a trail that took us along the river and where we could get a good look at the canyon. The ranger showed us just the right trail! You can check out the brochure before visiting: Climbing and Trail Guide.

Smith Rock State Park @handbookofnaturestudy

Not only did we hike down to the river and then alongside it, we were able to see a lot of people rock climbing just off the path. According to the website and brochure, there are over 1,000 climbing routes at Smith Rock. We observed people of all ages climbing up the steep rocks using ropes. I’m not at all interested in rock climbing but it was a treat to stop a few times and watch the truly amazing things people can accomplish as they spider their way up the rocks.

Smith Rock State Park @handbookofnaturestudy

I love wildflowers and now that we are in our new habitat, I can start learning about the flowers that are found here. The flower above is Lewis flax. Isn’t it an amazing color? Since spying this at Smith Rock, I realized there is a patch just around the corner from my house so I’ve been better able to study it up close since this initial discovery.

Smith Rock State Park @handbookofnaturestudy

It was actually quite warm in the sun as we hiked but the sound of water in the river made it much more bearable. Our dog took several opportunities to jump in and swim to cool off.

We had a picnic sitting on a rock when we found a viewpoint about a mile and a half down the trail. We watched a duck pair and their babies as they paddled in a small eddy along the river. Earlier we were able to get a good look at an eagle, its nest and its baby. There was a ranger with a spotting scope that shared this incredible sight with us. He was there all day…we know because we saw him on the way in and then on our way back. What a great opportunity for so many hikers to see the eagles thanks to this patient ranger.

Smith Rock State Park @handbookofnaturestudy

We all declared this a fantastic hike and we look forward to doing it again soon! My daughter even said it’s in her top favorite places to hike now, which made me so glad that we made the effort to get out and do this hike together.

Smith Rock State Park @handbookofnaturestudy

I love living in Oregon!


You can read more about our Oregon State Park adventures in this entry:

Posts from Other Oregon Parks

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Outdoor Mom – May 2017

Outdoor Mom May 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Mom – May 2017

Are you ready for my first Outdoor Mom journal entry from our new home in Oregon? This place is amazing! We had a period of time that we had to be “homeless” as we transitioned from living in our old home until we moved into the new one so we took advantage of those few days by going camping with two of our older children. The weather was perfect and we hiked a bit and had some awesome evening campfires. It was so very relaxing after a whirlwind of packing and transporting our household 450 miles.

Elk at sunrise @handbookofnaturestudy

Now that we’re settling into the new place, we realize how much wildlife we have living all around us. The most notable animals are the Rocky Mountain elk that graze in the land right behind ours. They make their way slowly by our fence line both at dawn and dusk. So far the largest group we observed was eight elk. Last night, one of the elk was brave enough to jump our fence and eat at the birdfeeder. What a treat to see these magnificent mammals close up!

Elk at La Pine @handbookofnaturestudy

We have enjoyed the early morning birdsong and many mornings there is a swirling mist rising up over the river. I wake up now and jump out of bed to look out the window to see what there is to see. I let my dog outside early this morning and a few minutes later I spied her sitting at the fence watching a group of four elk. She just sat and watched, sniffing the air. It made me laugh….I can only imagine what the Kona dog was thinking.

I have started a bird list, adding each bird as it makes its appearance. I have a pair of binoculars at the ready near the window just in case a new bird decides to visit the yard. It’s going to be a fun summer of bird watching and learning my waterfowl for this area of Oregon. I think I’m up to the challenge.

Smith Rock State Park hike and wildflowers @handbookofnaturestudy (1)

I have a really nice neighborhood for walking. It is a flat mile if I walk in a loop. As I walk, I’m making mental notes of any plant emerging that looks like it may be a wildflower. It is still very early spring here and many of the trees are just getting their leaves. I am hoping to learn my Oregon wildflowers one flower at a time, just like I did in California when I first started out with nature study with my children. I realized already that I need new field guides and a really good hiking guide book. I will be researching them on Amazon over the next month or two.

Smith Rock State Park hike and wildflowers @handbookofnaturestudy (2)

We took our first hike since moving at Smith Rock State Park. My daughter was with us which made everything more fun. I will share more about this awesome place in a future post.

Well hopefully you’ve had a great month of nature time as well. Share a comment or a link to your blog entry if you want me to pop over and take a look!


Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge
Don’t forget that I am sharing a nature journal page each week on my Instagram account if you want to see the pages as they unfold. Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge. And, if you want to create a page and share it on your Instagram for me to see, use the hashtag #OHCnaturejournal