Rambling around Smith Rock before sunrise

Hiking or rambling around Smith Rock State Park was one of the October Camp Sherman basecamp day hikes – the last day in a 5 day sequence. Smith Rock State Park started the hiking season in May, and ended it in October. Smith Rock rambles are like talking to old friends – just different season, experiences – all in the week of October 4, 2023.

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The Route

I left Camp Sherman around 5am to leave plenty of time to travel to Smith Rock (thru the sprawl of Redmond) and arrived before 6:30. It was dark. There were 3 cars in the entire parking lot (look at end of post at the cars around noon), and both hiker sets were already on the trail, as I could watch headlamps bounce around across the river.

From parking lot, it was down river to the ‘Asterisk Pass’ where I turned around and went back to the river to Misery Ridge trail to the top. Back down to the river and up and over Burma Road to Grey Butte trail, and then back.


Leaving before sunrise, allowed my camera to catch the sun from several points both along the river and up on the rocks.


While out and about 3 different odd experiences reminded me why Smith Rock is just one of those places – easy to think it’s a city park, but then BAM! something happens.

First, this heron stood out on the water before the sun. Surely something in that water worth eating, right? Then look at the rock and water marks where things that shouldn’t move often move – and leave tracks.

While I was hiking along river on Wolf Tree trail, I heard a huge rumbling explosion. – WTF? … then I saw it coming right at my location – a rock the size of large 1-person cooler (cubic yard at least). It crashed all the way close to the trail about 20 feet away from me. WOW! a close call.

Looking out

Once up high enough heading toward Grey Butte, more of the park is visible, and all the cars. Remember, when I arrived there were 3 total! When I pulled out around noon, other cars were waiting for me to leave (wanted parking place).

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