Hiking With Buster: Destination Smith Rock State Park

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If you enjoy scenic views of deep river canyons or rock climbing, Smith Rock State Park is the place for you. There are several miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Along your trip through the canyon, you might see golden eagles, prairie falcons, mule deer, river otter and beaver.

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Dogs are welcome on the hiking trails, but MUST be leashed, and this is very strongly enforced. Rangers will issue you a hefty fine and accept no excuses.  It would be wise to keep your dog on a short leash to better keep your dog safe and in control if you meet any wildlife along the way, and some of the more difficult trails climb along steep cliffs.

baldeagles

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Located just 20 miles from Bend, outside of Terrebonne,  it was recently named one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, according to Travel Oregon, the state’s travel commission.

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You can opt for an easy 2 ½ mile stroll on flat ground with plenty of scenic rock and riverfront views by taking the River Trail from the park bridge around to Monkey Face — a 350 foot pillar of rock that resembles a monkey’s face. Or you can take the short cut, a 2/3 of a mile steep hike up the Misery Ridge Trail (elevation 3,360 feet) for out-of-this-world views including the entire Central Oregon Cascade mountain range. A favorite 4-mile hike is to start on the River Trail towards Monkey Face then ascend the Mesa Verde Trail up to Misery Ridge and back down to the footbridge ending at the parking lot. With the opening of the Summit Trail loop, hikers can now get an 8-mile round trip walk in. There are plenty of other trails to tackle each with its own unique views of the Cascade mountains, rock cliffs and the Crooked River.

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There are rattlesnakes throughout the park that come out in warm weather. Another reason to keep your dog on a short leash.

The Burma Road Trail, which takes you out of the official park and into BLM land, is a fun hike if you and your dog want to enjoy Smith Rock leash-free.  Keep your dog with you and out of the car. Do not bring your dog with you if you plan to do activities such as rock climbing where you can not bring your dog with you.  In the summer it gets VERY hot, and even during this time of the year where the air is much more comfortable, leaving a dog in a car is not humane.

This is truly pristine country. Please clean up after your dog and after your self. Bring water when hiking for you and your dog, and a first aid kit for your dog is a great idea.