Located about 30 miles north of Bend, Oregon, Smith Rock State Park is mostly well-known for its world-class rock climbing. This gem features jutted up jagged volcanic rocks that reach up into the sky 550ft. The trails along the river are mostly flat, smooth single track trails that are maintained by the park.

From the river, you pick your choice of where to go. The Misery Ridge trail boasts great panoramic views of the Three Sisters Mountains, which include Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, South Sister, Middle Sister, and North Sister. As you keep looking north on a clear day, you will be able to see Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood in the distance.

From the parking area, you descend steeply down into the river bottom where you have three possibilities of directions to travel. Misery Ridge trail to the top is a little more than a half mile long, but climbs more than 600 feet. From there you can see the iconic Monkey Face! 

The park features about 15 miles of different trails that are available to run. Many trail connections can be made to get outside the park and accumulate more miles, like the 12-mile roundtrip to the top of Gray Butte or the 14-mile Cole Trail Loop around the base of Gray Butte. The possibilities are endless for the trails you can run here.

There are also a host of wildlife viewing opportunities while running. If you catch it at the right time, you will see bald eagles along the river bottoms and through the canyons.

I have been running out here for 5 years and it still leaves me in awe every time. I usually just want to stop and take pictures and take in the views. Whenever I come out here, I never want to leave. Instead, I just want to keep exploring and running more miles.