While we love hearing from you, maybe you just may need an assist.
Our Frequently Asked Questions are culled from your phone calls. Just click on the + sign to display or collapse the answer as well as links to more extensive information. If you don't get the answer to your question here, of course, we're always here for you.
FEES, PERMITS, AND HOURS
+ What are the Park Hours?
Dawn til dusk, every day of the year. Other than perhaps in The Bivy you shouldn’t run into any vampires at Smith Rock State Park:-)
+ what are the welcome center hours?
The Welcome Center hours vary, based mostly on volunteer staffing. November through February hours are 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM Saturday and Sunday.
+ 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. You can also read more about how to know when it's full in one of the FAQs below.
+ 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.
+ WHen do I need a permit?
Pretty much any special event, bringing a large group (usually 50 people or more), and for commercial filming and photography. Contact the Park Manager at 541-548-7501 to determine if you need one.
PARK MAP, HIKING TRAIL PREP, ACCESSIBILITY AND CLOSURES
+ Where do I get a park trail map?
+ What are 3 things I should know about hiking at Smith Rock State Park?
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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
+ 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.
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 Poin Trail is much shorter, coming directly off the Turnaround Fee Station,and has great views of the Monument Area and the river in the Gorge below.
+ how do i find out about route and trail closures?
We regularly post news articles and Facebook updates with all information on closures, both seasonal due to raptor nesting route closures and trail renovation. Our Seasonal Closures page has all the information on raptor nesting closures and is updated regularly.
CAMPGROUNDS AND VACATION RENTALS
+ What options for camping are in the area?
While The Bivy Campground is the closest, it is tent-camping only, no fires, and first-come-first-served. And no, you can't sleep in your vehicle.
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.
+ 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.
What you can do is Follow us on Facebook for alerts shared from the campground hosts. We post whether it's open or closed when they text us.
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.
+ Are there vacation rentals in the area?
Yes, we know anyone within 15 miles of Smith Rock likes like 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.
DOGS, EVENTS AND SCHOOL TRIPS
+ 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.
+ 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.
+ Planning a school field trip?
To ensure a safe and meaningful experience for your students the park staff requests that you contact the OPRD Visitor Experience Coordinator, Jill Nishball at 541-388-6073 to schedule a field trip.
During the months of April through July, (and by appointment in the fall) 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, (see Hours section of FAQ above) so you may want to call the park prior to your visit to find out what the hours will be during your visit.
NOT REALLY IN A PARTICULAR CATEGORY?
+ When should 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 State 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 with the park itself.
+ may i fly my drone in the park?
No, sorry. Flying remote controlled aircraft is not allowed at Smith Rock State Park. While yes, the views from above are incredible, the sheer number of people with drones these days takes away from the park's serenity for all, including the wildlife. And the neighbors don't appreciate them straying over adjacent private property, so please respect the park and the surrounding community.
Here are the rules from Oregon State Parks and Recreation:
Commercial use of radio controlled aircraft is not permitted.
Recreational use of radio controlled aircraft isnt allowed at Smith Rock to avoid hazards that could negatively affect other visitors or protected wildlife.
OPRD does have other parks where recreational use is allowed but because of Smith Rocks popularity and protected wildlife it isnt one of them.
+ 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.