Smith Rock is a worthwhile destination, even if you only have a day. I'm not a rock climber or very fit hiker (so misery ridge was off the table). There were still great trails to take advantage of along the river, that were less trafficked than the misery ridge trail as well.
Walk-in site (the Bivy) is chill. walk-in, pitch tent, done. Yeah you have a lot of neighbors, but people are nice and the price is right ($8 per night for up to two weeks). Has showers and easy access to the climbing. Epic. The ground is pretty nice, not super rocky, but heavy duty tarp would still be a nice way to even things out. Not allowed to sleep in vans etc. tent/bivy only.
Campground is walk in only. There is a common area for cooking and a designated area for camping. No fires allowed but beautiful views anywhere you look. Smith Rock is ideal for climbers of all levels and while I was visiting I saw many rock climbing guides as well. Bathroom facilities were very clean and they do have showers for campers. Lots of hiking trails and dogs are allowed, which is always a plus and necessity for me. Can't wait to return to this beautiful park.
We got here so late at night I could barely see my hand in front of my face. We walked back into the camp areas and found the only open spot. Pitched the tent and passed out.. I woke up, unzipped the tent and the photo attached was my view.. THIS PLACE WAS MAGIC. The other campers were all adventurers and we heard some great stories from everyone. I loved it here.
Aamzing rock faces. Many climbers use many walls here to test out their skills. Great to get family pictures taken too! Nice trails to get a workout. Near terrebonne which has stores. Nice place to go for a hike and get away for few hours.
Having grown up in Central Oregon, I'm no stranger to Smith Rock State Park. My family used to spend weekends hiking the trails and watching rock climbers defy gravity on the massive basalt walls. I didn't get into rock climbing until college, and it's a shame that Smith was in my backyard and I never took advantage!
When I moved back to Oregon, I knew I'd spend quite a bit of time at Smith Rock, and the campground did not disappoint! We spend a lot of time in dispersed camping on Forest Service roads, so the amenities at Smith rocked!
Tents are pitched at the Bivouac, an area about 50-100ft away from where you park. If you get there early enough, sites along the fence posts offer incredible views of the Crooked River and basalt monoliths. However, there are plenty of places to pitch your tent, and even some good trees for hanging a hammock.
In the center of parking, there are a bunch of picnic tables for the communal eating area. You're not allowed to cook food at the Bivouac, so all meals must be made in the center of the parking lot (I assume this is to mitigate fire hazards). The bathrooms are unbelievably clean and you can take a shower for $2. Alongside the outer wall of the bathrooms, there's a giant sink and dish washing area.
Costs have gone up since I first visited the Bivouac, and are now $8/person/night. Not bad, considering most other parks in Oregon are upwards of $20/night. Parking at the trailhead requires a $5 fee, which is included in your camp fee. Plus, if you have a Parks Pass or Northwest Forest pass, the fee is already covered.
There are only two downsides: 1) No fires allowed, so in turn, no s'mores. 2) Super popular and no reservations. I recommend going early to nab a spot. Arriving too late on a Friday in the summer is an almost guarantee the campground will be full.
5/5 would absolutely recommend!
Renogy Portable Solar Panel Review
It was SUCH a treat to have power at our campsite! I normally let my phone battery drain and wait until I'm home to charge it again. It's nice being completely disconnected, but I like having my phone to keep track of time and to take pictures. With the portable solar panel I was able to do that!
There are a few things to know about the solar panel: it doesn't have a power bank, so whatever energy it gathers from the sun it can't store. You can purchase an attachment from Renogy (a portable power bank) to store the energy as you collect, but otherwise you can plug in your phone's USB cord, set the panel up in direct sunlight, and your device will begin to charge!
When we were at Smith it was 70 degrees and sunny (perfect for climbing!), and with the panel in direct sunlight, I charged my phone completely in less than two hours. The panel comes with two carabiners so you can easily attach it to a pack and charge while you're hiking. It's also scratch and water resistant so you don't have to worry about dirtying it up at camp or on your hike. This seems like a perfect addition to backpacking gear as well so you can keep your devices charged without taking up a lot of space.
5/5 would definitely recommend this product to anyone who camps!
Smith Rock always surprises me- here you are, driving through the farmlands of Central Oregon and BAM. There is Smith, rising out of the ground. Although there are no actual "sites", the area for tents is peppered with naturally formed sites amongst trees. You may need to search a little for some space, but I've always found a secluded spot for a tent or hammock. You may just have to move a few rocks out of the way. Parking can occasionally be a struggle if you get there late at night, but that just means a little bit more of a hike in.
There are no fires allowed, and all cooking is done in a communal area. Although this takes away from the "camping" experience of no s'mores, there is something to be said for joining fellow adventurers at meal times. There are plenty of picnic tables, and it's great to see what other people's set ups look like! There is a bathroom near the communal area, as well as a dish washing sink outside of the bathrooms. There is even an area at the bathroom to charge phones and other electronics. Showers are available.
The bivy sites are a short walk away to two different ways to get down into Smith Rock proper. You'll want to get an early start if you have specific routes in mind, especially on weekends or holidays. There is a drinking fountain at the bottom of the hill down to the climbing routes, right before crossing the river into a great network of trails.
Located close to the trail down to the river. Amazing views!
The sites are walk-in only, to the west of the parking lot. But there’s nice showers with hot water! The hiking is fantastic and the climbing is world-renown.
I've been a repeat visitor of the bivouac campground at Smith Rock State Park for four years and it never ceases to impress. the restroom facilities are among the best maintained in the state, running water sources are free of impurities, and there's even outlets near the main area to charge your phone while you cook meals! there is plenty of room to camp with many trees to provide a wind break or a hammock anchor point. 5/5 would recommend highly!