About this TrailRocks, scree and rattlesnakes...oh my! Smith Rock is a wonderful place to hike. Best known for it's many climbing faces; there are thousands of faces; Smith Rock is also a great place to hike as you circle around Monkey Face and climb up and over Misery Ridge. Monkey Face is a rock face that draws climbers from around the world due to it's difficulty and is unmistakable since it looks like its name.
The hike begins with a short switchback traverse down a hillside and across a bridge. From this point it is highly suggested one turn left making the loop clockwise following the river around the bend saving the climb up and over Misery Ridge for the last. Keep an eye out for otter and beaver on your left as you walk the river and watch the cliff faces to the right for climbers inching their way up the rock walls.
The west side route up to Misery Ridge has quite a lot of loose scree and is much easier to walk up than down. Once you reach the top of Misery Ridge; coming face to face with Monkey Face along the way; the views of the mountains and prairies seem endless. Keep an eye on the sky for eagles and falcons riding the thermals. The descent down the east side of Misery Ridge is a long one that switchbacks through the rugged red rocks of the park and finishes back at the bridge where you started.
Directions to Trailhead (or put-in on water trails)Take Hwy 97 to Ebey Road and follow the signs to the park.
Notes on Difficulty RatingThe walk down the river is not too difficult. The hike up Misery Ridge is not all that miserable but it is steep with plenty of loose scree. Small children may have difficulty. Bring lots of water. There is very little shade and the sun beating off the rocks makes this a very warm hike. Heed the signs about rattlesnakes. Stick to the trails and if you sit down check the area first. Rattlesnakes love to sun themselves on and next to rocks and can blend in well. But, they are also shy creatures so you will likely not see one; even though there are plenty in the park.