hiker going down Canyon Trail at Smith Rock State Park

Coming up on Ground Hog Day at Smith Rock

While the usual January warm-up time is here, Smith Rock still has evidence of the huge snow dump from December and early January.

wintertime at Smith Rock
Snow-capped Gray Butte in the distance from the Canyon Trail


Misery Ridge Trail descent off the back side of Monkey Face in wintertime at Smith Rock
Misery Ridge Trail descent off the back side of Monkey Face

Trails are a combination of slush, mud, snow, and ice.

While the amount of snow looks tame enough, 3 inches of ice is lurking below, so any downgrade not melted out is very treacherous.

traction treads for boots
traction treads for hiking boots

Bring your traction devices for your shoes and hiking poles for stability, especially on Misery Ridge’s shady parts. 

It’s a beautiful time to see the wildlife and evidence of wildlife in the park left as tracks in the snow.

coyote tracks on the Canyon Trail
coyote tracks on the Canyon Trail

Even the shy coyotes rarely seen these days lead the way on the less-traveled trails.

Now that the river has melted once again, ducks and geese are abundant, and otters can be seen playing around the rocks.

Birds of prey are soaring overhead, looking to score an easy meal against the bright white backdrop. Rabbits are especially twitchy right now.

water fowl on the Crooked River
water fowl on the Crooked River

The sunny weather has brought out the other wildlife too. The kind that likes to climb rocks.

Everywhere the sun has kissed the wall or spire, you can find a few happy souls loving the warmth and the lack of crowds. And if you want to get some winter camping in, water is flowing at the sinks area…

Winter Climbers on Monkey Face
Winter climbers on Monkey Face
Bivy winter camping
Lots of spots open for winter camping at the Bivy.


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