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Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

Updated: Mar 6

A must-visit for landscape photography...

A vivid sunrise bathes Smith Rock State Park in glorious light. Oregon
Sunrise, Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

Smith Rock State Park is nestled in eastern Oregon. The park encompasses 651 acres of pure beauty, situated on Oregon's high desert plateau with an elevation of around 3,000 feet. Smith Rock State Park is a fantastic destination for rock climbers. The park offers over 1500 climbing routes. A small day-use fee is required. Pets are allowed but must be controlled at all times. Hiking and biking trails are abundant. The park is located about 9 miles from Redmond, Oregon. From Redmond, travel North on US-97N for about 6 miles. Take a right turn on NW Smith Rock Way. Travel on NW Smith Rock Way for approximately one mile. Follow the signs and have a great time.


The climate in Eastern Oregon can vary from season to season. July and August are typically the hottest months, with temperatures regularly reaching 100 degrees. Nighttime brings cool temperatures and can dip into the 40's in the summer. When visiting Smith Rock, planning for all weather conditions is advised. Precipitation is limited to just a trace in the summer months. The majority of the annual precipitation falls as snow in the winter months.

Photo Experience

At Smith Rock, your photo opportunities are endless. The area is home to deer and small mammals, and many species of birds inhabit the rock faces. A sturdy tripod and a good selection of graduated neutral-density filters are handy. The sunrises at Smith Rock are bright and vivid. Using a wide-angle lens and GND filters is a must to capture these scenes. The many miles of hiking trails will allow you to explore the hidden world that awaits you. I like to bring along a macro lens for these types of shots. At Smith Rock, you will likely see climbers traversing the rock faces. It's an opportunity that a photographer shouldn't pass up. A telephoto lens is an excellent choice for images of this type. Smith Rock State Park has something to offer everyone regardless of shooting style!

Best Times

Summer is the best time to visit. Days are longer, allowing you more time to explore everything the park offers. Summer also provides the best weather conditions with little worries of rain. The sunrises are stunning and a joy to photograph. The wildlife is active, especially in the morning, just after sunrise. The Crooked River offers a great place to rest and soak your feet during the midday sun. Come prepared and be ready to be amazed.

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