If you want to go to a “Pleasure Palace” for a little off-line recreation, I’ve got great directions for you. Drive 26 miles north of Bend, Oregon. Head to the west of Misery Ridge and past the Red Wall. Then climb 100 feet upwards. You won’t be disappointed. And the scenery: Ooh la la!
Pleasure Palace is just one of over 1,000 bolted routes at Smith Rock State Park, where travelers to Central Oregon find world-class rock climbing year round. Some other popular climbing routes with intriguing monikers include Monkey Face, Morning Glory and Spiderman Buttress.
Yes, the shape and character of Smith Rock captures the spirit of many travelers, with its rust-colored walls, dramatic spires, and the Crooked River at its feet. This geographical wonder rises from the land like a mammoth ship, beckoning to recreationalists of both extreme and sublime sensibilities. How did it get here? Over a million years ago, basaltic lava roiled from Newberry volcano and flowed down the canyon of the Crooked River leaving behind steep, cragged, cliffs.
Today, travelers come from all over the world to climb the heights of Smith Rock. Sightseers picnic in its shadows and hikers, bikers, scramblers and walkers of all bent take to its trails. Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Smith Rock. The crowds have disbursed and the soaring 100-degree temperatures have cooled to down to invite you up.
Photos courtesy of Smith Rock Climbing Guides.
What You’ll See and Do There
Hike, walk, mountain bike, picnic, bird watch, boulder, cave, fish in the Crooked River, and – if you’re a hardcore local, regional or international rock climber – you can always rope up and climb. There are thousands of climbs and 1,700 established routes.
Smith Rock State Park Website
Smith Rock Climbing Guides
Location: Smith Rock State Park is located in Central Oregon, off US 97, 26 miles northeast of Bend. It encompasses 651 acres and hovers 3,000 feet in elevation. Link to Google Map.
Fees and Parking: $5 daily day-use fee or buy a 12-month permit for $30. Good at all state park day-use areas.