TERREBONNE, Ore. Smith Rock State Park near Redmond is one of the most rugged and scenic places in Oregon.
The rising columns of rock among the dry landscape make Smith Rock one of the most visually stunning places in Oregon.
"I think it's one of the best places. We're so fortunate to have it in our backyard here in Oregon," climbing instructor Phil Friesen said. Friesen was taking part in a climbing certification course at the park.
"The grandeur of the rock formations, I'd say," Pat Rau said while admiring the scenery. Rau and her husband ventured down from Lake Oswego.
With around a thousand bolted routes, both expert and novice rock climbers know the park well.
"The 5.14 Chain Reaction was set up here and most of us can never touch that route," Friesen said with a laugh. "There are some classic routes, like Cinammon Slab. It's a 5.5. A lot of people get up on it and love it."
Smith Rock is well known as a rock climber's playground in Central Oregon.
But what you may not know is that this rugged landscape also makes it a unique jewel for both hikers and bird watchers.
"They can take trails that go up to the top and around near the cliffs or they can walk along the river through the trees and that sort of thing, so there's a lot of good variety," volunteer Steve Lay said.
"Just walking the different routes we went on. Dew Drop and along the river. We didn't do as large of a loop, but it was great," Rau said.
On a warm afternoon, volunteer Steve Lay has a spotting scope trained on a rock face watching a golden eagle nest.
"The cliffs here provide a special kind of habitat for nesting that a lot of birds take advantage of," Lay said.
Campers and hikers can also find a place to cool off and relax at a bivouac tent area in the park.
"I've met people from Finland and New Zealand. So it's a good vibe at the bivouac site. That's a good place to hang out and get to know people," Friesen said.
And you can get to know this rugged park in the high desert and it's all in a day's drive.
On June 21, several artists will head to the park for the Smith Rock Paint Out. During that event, they'll paint works of art on site and compete for prizes. The winning artwork will be on display at the Redmond airport.
Smith Rock State Park