When Is the Best Time
Smith Rock State Park has 650 acres of desert rock terrain. It offers an elevation of about 3000 feet. The rock formations in the park were formed from volcanic ash over 30 million years ago and are truly fascinating. Make sure to stay one night. That way, you can start exploring the park earlier than others.
Best Time To Visit | Climbing Season – Hiking Season
The best time to visit Smith Rock for hiking and climbing is in the spring and fall. The most stable weather without the extreme heat of peak season is usually from mid-September until mid-November. If you’d like to avoid the very busy summer period and experience pleasant temperatures go in October: The heavy crowds are gone and the weather is still nice: Average high 62°F (17°C).
Smith Rock Opening Hours | Entrance Fee
The park is open from dusk till dawn every day (7 a.m .- 7 p.m.). Smith Rock is open year-round. No matter what season or month, you can visit the park each day of the week. The hours for the Welcome Center change as volunteers staff it. It is usually open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday).
A day permit is available for 5 USD at a self-service station. The yearly permit can be purchased online for 30 USD.
Weather Details | +Crowds
Smith Rock State Park benefits from minimal rainfall and mostly sunny weather throughout the year. It has its own microclimate: The highs average some degrees warmer than recorded at the closest weather station. Monthly weather: Smith Rock State Park Weather
In general, the weather between June and August ranges from pleasant to very hot. The chance of rain is rather low. In autumn the rainy days increase minimally. On the other hand, the temperature in the autumn months is very pleasant. Maximum temperatures are in the mid 70s.
Winter in Smith Rock usually runs from December to February. However, some claim that it can go to March because of the changing spring weather. Officially, spring goes from March to May. Temperatures during this time are very pleasant. The maximum is about 65 degrees.
March – May (Spring): Usually pleasant temperatures for hiking and climbing, especially in May. However, spring weather is sometimes unpredictable. Particularly April can still be tricky, because of the snow and rain. Quote from a local: ‘April and May here in Central Oregon is some of the strangest weather months.’
June – August (Summer): Extremely hot, especially in July/August! With temperatures that often crack 100 degrees in midsummer, you have to start your hike early and bring plenty of water. It’s also ridiculously busy. Particularly narrow tracks like Misery Ridge get very crowded, even more on weekends.
September – mid-November (Autumn): Stable weather, pleasant temperatures. Perfect months for hiking and climbing. It’s still crazy busy in September.
December – February (Winter): If you don’t mind the cold (dropping below 32°F / 0°C) and want to experience pure nature without any crowds go in the winter. Hiking or even climbing is a great experience. An excellent winter report: Smith Rock State Park in Winter
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Most of the time it’s heavily crowded from May until September. Even in April, the weekends are already jam-packed. Only in OCTOBER, the crowds start to dissipate. If you visit in late spring, summer or early fall: Avoid weekends at all costs. Instead, go early and on a weekday and stay at a nearby hotel (see below). Otherwise, the park gets ridiculously busy. The parking lots fill up extremely quickly, and trails are crowded as well. However, especially in spring and fall, you should be able to get away from the crowds after hiking a few miles.
The best hotels nearby can be found in the city of Redmond, which is a short 13 minutes drive to the park. Check out the deals below (TIP: Save the results page!)
Smith Rock State Park offers intriguing view of rock formations and river canyons. It’s a very popular among climbers and hikers.
Other things you can do are slackline, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Where to Stay (bookmarks the links)
- Sleep Inn & Suites (Redmond): Excellent value for the money. Super clean, very friendly and helpful staff, fast internet. We highly recommend this one. 12-minute drive to Smith Rock State Park
- Alternative Hotels/Lodges: Smith Rock State Park. Enter your preferred dates and then check the list of hotels. Make sure to change the search criteria to your liking at the top bar. We usually select ‘Review Score & Price’.
First photo in the gallery: Courtesy Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.