Winter in Central Oregon is a wonderful time to play in the snow, whether it is snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor, hitting the slopes at Hoodoo Ski Resort for night skiing or cross country skiing at one of the many snow parks. It is also a great time to feel the cool breeze while hiking up the somewhat strenuous Smith Rock outside of Terrebone. During the winter and spring, this hike is perfect for those wanting to avoid the crowds and it is also a great time to bring your 4 legged friends.
This hike is a local favorite for my husband and me and we try to visit a few times a year. Typically during the winter and spring, the terrain is snow free and the ground is cool. This allows are 2 dogs to join us as we hike up Misery Trail. I definitely would not recommend this hike for your dogs in the summer as the ground is extremely hot and dry unless you are just going on the river trail and not going up Misery trail to the ridge.
From the FivePine Lodge campus, take a left on Hwy 20 and then an immediate right on Hwy 126. Continue on this for about 18 miles. You will begin to drive through Redmond and continue until you can take a left on Hwy 97. Hwy 97 will lead you to the small town of Terrebone where you can pick up a few snacks or stop for lunch at The Depot. You will see several signs guiding you to the state park and you will take a right on B Ave and continue on to NW Smith Rock Way. Once there, you will need to pay the $5 state park fee.
As you approach the massive park, you will be overwhelmed with all its natural beauty. With a day bag packed with plenty of water, snacks and dogs in tow, we embark up misery trail.
Begin the journey down The Chute and cross the footbridge to start Misery Trail. This trail isn’t really that miserable, difficult at times, but so worth it when you get to the top. The trail to the top is approximately 2/3 mile and once there you will have extraordinary views of the Crooked River gorge. Continue along the ridge and you will soon see the Monkey Face. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse at rock climbers climbing the face. The spring is also an excellent time to see bald eagles soaring the skies.
The next trail junction will be the Mesa Verde Trail which you can either head right or left and this will take you down to the River trail. We typically go to the right where you will experience some steep switch backs. Once you get to the river, the trail becomes a leisurely stroll and is approximately 2.5 miles. Along this trail is typically when we grab a seat along the river and have some snacks or lunch.
To complete the day, we find ourselves at FivePine Lodge for their complimentary wine & beer reception. My husband typically enjoys the beer from Three Creeks Brewing and we relax in front of the crackling fire where we recap the day’s adventures.