Now's the Time to Mountain Bike at Smith Rock


November 5, 2018

Sure, the days are shorter, but they are also the most dramatic and clear. Morning and evening rays on the rock walls light up like gold, the air is crisp, and trail traffic during the week is almost non-existent. And while it’s raining and snowing on the west side and the mountains, it’s usually dry and ten degrees warmer at Smith Rock.

 Mountain biker coming back to the bridge along the Wolf Tree Trail watching the climbers.

Mountain biker coming back to the bridge along the Wolf Tree Trail watching the climbers.

All this translates to ideal conditions to ride the trails both in the park and beyond its borders on adjoining BLM land most of the year, just not during or right after it rains to protect the trails.

Inside the park, there are the following trails open to you:
Canyon Trail, Homestead Trail, Summit Trail, River Trail, Wolf Tree Trail. You can also ride on the roads within the park with the traffic flow.


One of the favorite loops that combines the Canyon, River, Summit, Burma Road, and Wolf Tree Trails to take in vistas from riverside to ridgeline is the 7.7 mile Summit Loop from the Welcome Center.

An intermediate single track with some steep pushes, exposed drop-offs, and a steep double-track road descent to another steep single track, it flattens out once again by the river until the final push up and out of the park.

 Mountain biker doing the Summit Loop Trail in reverse.

Mountain biker doing the Summit Loop Trail in reverse.

If you’re not quite ready to leave after you cross the bridge on the Summit Loop, hang a left onto the Homestead Trail and top out at the Northern Point for amazing views of the Gorge below and the Monument area from across the basalt column rim. Then go back to your car via the road for a total round trip of 8.3 miles from the Welcome Center.

Want yet another option to explore more of the park when you’re done with the Summit Loop? After you come back across the bridge to come up the Canyon Trail to leave the park, hang a right toward Rope-de-Dope instead of going up the hill. Follow the Canyon Trail as it winds along the river through terrain unlike most other areas of the park, and take it to the end where it exits on Wilcox and come back on Crooked River Drive to the park, for a total of 9.8 miles round trip from the Welcome Center.

Another option of adding miles with the Summit Trail Loop is to connect to Gray Butte Trail on BLM land at the top of Burma Road and follow it until it connects to the Cole Trail.

From there you can take it to Skull Hollow Campground (for a total of 10.3 miles from the Welcome Center) where you can shuttle back to the park, or reverse the entire loop and make it a 20+ mile day. Or you can check out the Forest Service Map for other trail options when you hit Gray Butte Trail.

 Mountain biker coming up the Burma Road toward the Summit and Cole Trail connector.

Mountain biker coming up the Burma Road toward the Summit and Cole Trail connector.