Misery Ridge Trail

Misery Ridge. Its name conjures up images of early pioneers slogging it in wagon trains over mountain passes, but it’s not that bad. Really.

most difficult iconIn fact, it could be renamed “Awesome” Ridge, because that’s what it is when you get up to the 3,360 foot summit.

Especially if you decide to hike it from the other direction as described in detail on this 3.7 mile self-guided tour.

Off-limits to mountain bikers and horseback riders, hikers can take Misery Ridge at their own pace, yielding to others that have a faster one.

Trekking poles can help in both directions for balance as well as an assist in powering up the 600 foot elevation gain of the short trail. They also help a bum knee on the way down navigate the scree.

Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park start of stairsThe .68 mile trail takes off directly across from the bridge.

You soon meet up with climbers on Picnic Lunch Wall after a series of small switchbacks.

Continuing up, you pass Ship Rock and another favorite climbing destination, the Red Wall.

A series of wooden steps helps hold the crumbling trail in place.

Each year people cutting the trail erodes it even more. Don’t be one of them.

A lot of volunteers in addition to the park staff work hard each year to maintain the trail system.

Misery Ridge Trail Viewpoint at Smith Rock State ParkOnce at the summit, scramble up on the rock ridges.

Get a great view of the Monument Area to your left. Look down and see the Crooked River as it winds around below.

Continue on the path, and you’ll come to another great viewpoint.

All decked out with a park bench, you can take a load off while you take in the beauty of the scenery in all directions.

Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park Monkey Face viewThe top of one of the park icons, Monkey Face, looms at the ridge.

Hang out and watch slackliners traverse a rigged line to the Monkey’s “mouth.”

You can often see climbing parties on various routes finishing up their ascent of the free-standing welded tuff pillar.

Rested up, you can complete the rest of the trail down a series of switchbacks past the Monkey.

You then make a loop back to the bridge along the River Trail for a total of 3.7 miles.

Done for the day after watching the climbers? Go back the way you came–just keep your weight centered over your knees on the steep scree down. You’ll be fine.


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Online resource for adventurers to Smith Rock State Park. Detailed information for rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, slacklining and horseback riding.