FAQ

While we love hearing from you, the website has a wealth of information. We think you just may need a nudge in the right direction.

Our Frequently Asked Questions are culled from your phone calls. 

Just click anywhere in the box to display the answer as well as links to more extensive information.

If you don’t get the answer to your question here, try the magnifying glass Search feature in the navigation bar. And of course, we’re always here for you.

What are the Welcome Center Hours?

The Welcome Center hours vary, based mostly on volunteer staffing.

For July through October of 2016, the hours will be 9:00 AM-2:30 PM Thursday-Sunday.

For November-December of 2016 and January-February of 2017, the hours will be reduced to Saturday and Sunday only, from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM.

 

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How does the campground (Bivy) fee system work?

Space is available on a first-come-first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted.

You can check in and pay for the night any time after midnight.

For example, checking in the early morning, you would buy a camp permit for that night on arrival.

You can purchase up to 14 nights. Maximum stay is 14 nights.

Fees are $5 per person per night.

It includes the parking permit for the next day and use of the showers. The fee station takes credit cards and exact cash only, including coins.

For all details on the campground, or Bivy area, go here.

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What are the park hours?

Dusk until dawn, every day of the year. Other than perhaps in The Bivy you shouldn’t run into any vampires at Smith Rock State Park.

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Where do I get a park trail map?

While the park distributes them for free at each of the fee stations, you may wish to look at the trail system in context, as one downloadable pdf.

There are also individual Google Maps and virtual tours available on each and every trail. For an overview of difficulty level and links to the park trails before and after crossing the bridge, go to All Trails.

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How can I know in advance if the campground is full?

You can’t. The Bivy or Bivouac is a walk-in, first-come-first-served campground. There are no marked spots, and a full parking lot is the gauge for when the “Campground Full” sign goes up. That’s it. No hotline, and SmithRock.com has no way to forecast, although many call us begging to do so.

Parking spots are not tied to campsites, and there is no way to know exactly how many sites may be left, as campers are continuously coming and going from the parking lot and the campground. The park knows it’s an issue and we’ll make an announcement if anything changes.

 

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What options for camping are in the area?

While the Bivy is the closest, it is tent-camping only, no fires, and first-come-first-served.

One campground, three RV Parks and a public works RV dump station are within a 15-mile radius of Smith Rock State Park. There are descriptions along with Google Maps to each of them, with something to suit any type of camping.

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Are there vacation rentals in the park area?

Yes, we know anyone within 15 miles of Smith Rock likes to say they have park views.

Vacation rentals that advertise with us are listed in order of proximity to the park. They have individual Google Maps to help you gauge the distance as well as links to detail pages.

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Are dogs allowed in the park?

Yes, but only on a leash. That’s a strict rule that has become recently enforced without warnings like the old days. And be sure to check out the special rules for the dogs of climbers and slackliners.

And while there is a hefty fine for off-leash, there isn’t one YET for leaving dog poop all over the trail, or worse yet, bagged up and left on the trail. Those bags don’t decompose and there are no dog poop fairies to take care of it for you.

There’s a convenient free doggie poop bag dispensing station AND trash can at the head of the bridge. Keep it nice for everyone and clean up after your pet.

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Are there trails for wheelchairs and baby strollers?

Getting down into the main river canyon area of Smith Rock State Park is not easily accessible by wheelchairs and strollers, however if they are equipped with “off-road” tires it can be done by way of the paved Canyon Trail leading into the park. It deposits you on a gravel path before a bridge crosses the river.

After the bridge trails become narrow and have human, bike, and animal traffic on them competing for space. See the virtual tours for the River Trail and Wolf Tree Trail.

Great views can be had along the gravel paths at the parking level. The Rim Rock Trail is flat and offers great views of the main rock climbing areas as well as the river gorge below. The North Point trail is much shorter, coming directly off the turnaround fee station area, with views of the Red Wall, Monument and Gorge areas.

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What are 3 things I should know about hiking at Smith Rock?

Visitors are often unprepared when hiking at Smith Rock. Here are 3 things to keep in mind to have an enjoyable experience for you and your group.

Most rescues in the park are due to failure to do these, NOT rock climbing falls.

1, Dress appropriately.  
Wear layers that you can add and subtract from for changing weather conditions and shoes with good traction for walking down scree slopes. (covered with small loose stones)

2. Bring water—16 oz per person per hour of exertion.
The water fountain at the bridge is the last water station in the park. You may consider a hydration pack for easy access. The rocks can really heat up in the summer months and the combination of heat and dehydration can be dangerous.

3.  Stay on marked trails.
The trails are clearly marked to prevent erosion and to not mislead the next hiker. They also provide a reference on your trail map to get back so that the rangers don’t need to come find you.

 

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How do I find out about events at the park?

The Events page is updated regularly with events that we find out about or are notified by others.

There are also pages for annual events, such as the volunteer trail building efforts of the Smith Rock Spring Thing and the Annual Highline Festival that attracts slackliners from all over the country to put highlines at greater and greater distances apart across the park to walk across.

We also feature events on our News and Facebook pages, as well as recap past and promote upcoming events in our monthly Smith Rock News.

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When do I call SmithRock.com and when should I call Smith Rock State Park?

While SmithRock.com has its pulse on most of the activities happening in and around Smith Rock State Park, we are independent of the State Park System.

Call us at 541-516-0054 for clarification of anything we publish on our website or our Facebook page. We are happy to give recommendations on trail hiking based on your ability and desired length of your visit and help you with our knowledge of the area from years of being here.

Call the park at 541-548-7501 if you lost something, for issuing permits on weddings, photo shoots, or any special issues or needs that require their involvement.

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How do I find out my Smith Rock Spirit Animal?

Ahh…yes. A burning question for all age groups. Fortunately, we have a quick quiz that will solve the mystery.

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Will my National Parks Senior Pass or NW Forest Service Pass be accepted?

No, sorry. Smith Rock is part of the Oregon State Park system, and as such only accepts the day use fees and annual permits you can purchase at the park, online, and at the Terrebonne Thriftway and the park’s Welcome Center. Go here for more information and a link to the online pass.

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Planning a school field trip?

To ensure a safe and meaningful experience for your students the park staff requests that you contact them at 541-548-7501 to schedule a field trip.

During the months of April through July, an interpretive ranger may be available to speak to your group as well. At a minimum, they would like to meet your group on arrival to inform them of potential hazards, current trail conditions, park regulations and ethics.

The park’s Welcome Center is an excellent educational resource with a variety of displays on the park’s four themes of Geology, Ecology, Cultural History and Recreation. The Welcome Center is open a limited basis, so you may want to call the park prior to your visit to find out what the hours will be during your visit.

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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.