We took a stroll out to the Lower Gorge with John Rich, a long-time climbing aficionado of the Gorge Area, aka “Mayor of the Gorge.” We wanted to get his take on the proposed Oregon State Parks & Rec (OPRD) acquisition of 38 undeveloped acres to expand Smith Rock State Park there on both sides of the Crooked River.
Seeing those holiday calories already pile on and want a little motivation to deal with it later in a group setting? Or maybe the anticipated snowy conditions have you a bit skittish if you're new to the park? Take the free Smith Rock First Day Hike with a ranger on January 1, 2018, from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM. But hurry and sign up. It's limited to the first 35 who do so. By signing up you'll be notified if conditions are too severe and the hike gets canceled.
It's become a right-of-passage at Smith Rock State Park. Head across the bridge and straight up the "mountain" to the top of Misery Ridge. At times it looks like a giant conga line as hikers of all ages and fitness levels look for the quickest way up to the great views below, often unprepared.
While the upper reworked section of the Homestead Trail is not complete, (but soon!) you can enjoy a new addition, thanks to the descendants of emigrant nonindigenous settlers that began to occupy the area in the late 1800s.
The upper section of the Homestead Trail is closed for renovation from April 24 to May 24, 2017. This is the section that enters and exits the park close to the Northern Point, a popular climbing area and great viewpoint of the Monument Area.