Walking the Smith Rock State Park Master Plan


November 30, 2018

After pouring over the proposed Smith Rock Master Plan maps and descriptions to provide feedback to Oregon Parks and Rec before the December 15 deadline, we were still a tad confused. We thought you might be too. We asked Scott Brown, Smith Rock State Park Manager to review the maps with us and take us to some of the sites of the biggest proposed changes.

There are 4 main areas affected by the Smith Rock Master Plan Concept:

  1. The North Point Area

  2. The Day Use (Bus/RV Lot) Area

  3. The Bivy/Campground Area

  4. The NEW South Point (17th Street Lot and Trailhead) Area


#1: The North Point Area: Also known as the Turnaround Parking Lot, this area lies north of the existing park entrance sign, at the end of Crooked River Drive.


North Point Area in context—click to enlarge.

Overhead Google Maps inset of the proposed North Point changes. Click to enlarge.

While we did not walk this area with the Park Manager, we did ask about the proposed Rim Rock Trail extension, shown in the concept image as a red line. It essentially will run parallel to Crooked River Drive, where car parking has been eliminated, connecting to the access road that goes down into the park at the Overlook, as well as connects to the existing Rim Rock Trail. A shuttle stop as well as a new vault toilet with two stalls will be added to the lot that will grow from its 44 existing parking spaces to 78.

A new trail extension of the existing Homestead Trail is proposed to connect to a new North Bridge over the Crooked River to the existing Wolf Tree Trail. (See just above inset area on context image.)


#2: The Day Use (Bus/RV Lot) Area: this area lies just to the east of the existing park entrance sign, where oversize vehicles park in addition to cars.


Day Use (Bus/RV Lot) Area—click to enlarge

 Overhead Google Maps inset of the proposed Day Use Area changes. Click to enlarge.

Overhead Google Maps inset of the proposed Day Use Area changes. Click to enlarge.

A new Welcome Center with interpretative program space, classroom/meeting room, an office, and restrooms are proposed here, along with a shuttle stop. The existing Rim Rock Trail would be extended to connect to the proposed South Point Area. Parking would grow from 100 to 123 spaces.


#3: The bivy/campground Area: this area lies south of the day use area and before the existing park entrance sign. It is a walk-in campground with a separate parking lot for those paying camping fees.


The Bivy/Campground (Bivouac) Area shown south of the Day Use (Bus/RV Lot) Area—click to enlarge

Overhead Google Maps inset of the proposed BIvy/Campground Area changes. Click to enlarge.

A pilot program of reservation camping for 15+ spaces is proposed, along with a restructured, larger parking lot with spaces that correspond to tent sites, with a few overflow spaces, charged by site vs person. Rather than pads, areas will be delineated much the way the current restoration areas are. A few hiker/biker sites as well as 1-2 reservable group sites are proposed. The current picnic area will be relocated and and new cooking shelter will be installed. The Smith Rock State Park Welcome sign will be relocated to the park property line by the Bivy.

Smith Rock State Park Manager Scott Brown stands in the Bivy/Campground open area by the existing restrooms, where a shaded shelter and kitchen shelter will replace the current Common Area that will be reduced to just a few tables. Click to enlarge.

The parking area will be reconfigured to have space for bigger vehicles, but the total number of spaces remains unchanged at 75. Click to enlarge.

The new Rim Rock Trail extension coming from the South Point Area Lot empties out on to existing trails in the Bivy Campground to continue past the Day Use Area. Click to enlarge.


#4: The NEW South Point (17th Street Lot and Trailhead) Area: THIS AREA LIES parallel to wilcox avenue and starts close to the 17th Street intersection, before the current turn into the park off crooked river drive.


The South Point Area in context—click to enlarge

Overhead Google Maps inset of the proposed South Point Area. Click to enlarge.

The NEW South Point (17th Street Lot and Trailhead) Area is proposed to house 50 parking spaces, a vault toilet, and a shuttle stop. It is positioned across from the Smith Rock Ranch (Pumpkin Patch) parking property on Wilcox, just after you pass NE 17th Street. A section of the existing Canyon Trail will be accessible to hike to the proposed South Bridge to cross the Crooked River to the River Trail by the Southern Tip. The current section of the Canyon Trail from the new South Bridge to the horse ford by the intersection of the Rope-de-Dope Trail will be closed. An extension of the Rim Rock Trail will be added to connect to the Bivy/Campground Area, then continue on past the Day Use Area and current Welcome Center to new North Point extension as detailed earlier.

Smith Rock State Park Manager Scott Brown stands in the park property across from the entrance area to the proposed South Point Area parking lot, pointing to where the lot will be situated between two groves of trees ideally for minimal viewing from the road for area neighbors. It will connect to the existing Canyon Trail to the South Bridge as well as to the extended Rim Rock Trail to the Bivy/Campground. Click to enlarge.

Site of the proposed South Point Area parking lot for 50 cars. Click to enlarge.

Path of the Rim Rock Trail extension from the South Point Area lot. Click to enlarge.

The extension of the Rim Rock Trail from the South Point Area skirts the rim of the park property and will most likely have a few “lollipops” or viewpoint trails to see the canyon below. Click to enlarge.

The new Rim Rock Trail extension from the South Point Area loops back to the Campground/Bivy area. Click to enlarge.


Lastly, the current one-lane pedestrian bridge that connects to the River Trail and Tree Trails is planned to be replaced with a 6-8 foot wide bridge that will stay close to its present location. The current bridge will stay in place during construction. Please also note that the proposed master plan development does not have a current dedicated funding source and any development projects that make it into the final approved master plan may not be realized for some time.

If you have any specific comments or questions about the Smith Rock Master Plan, now’s the time. You have until December 15 to make your opinions heard.