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We like to revisit things that were great the first time around. Smith Rock is one of those places. The first time we were here, we stayed in Bend, OR. We really didn’t know what was around. It was a little bit of a stop over destination. And we needed a place to find a part for our RV. With a little bit of searching online, we found Smith Rock. We only got to go out once in the evening, but it was pretty magical. So on our trip back through the area, we made sure to make plenty of time to go and explore.
An Evening Trip
This time through, we decided to stay a little north of Bend in Redmond, OR. The great thing about Redmond is that it’s only a 15 minute drive out to Smith Rock. We took advantage of that and made a several trips. The first was in the evening when the sun was setting.
The Evening Light is the Best
The evening light is the best out at Smith Rock, but in the summer it arrives late. Su really wanted to take a hike, so we decided to come back the following morning and hike the Misery Trail.
Morning at Smith Rock
I wasn’t as much of a fan of Smith Rock in the morning. The angle of the sun hitting the rocks made for much harsher light. But for hiking, it was fantastic. The air was cool, the trails weren’t being beaten down in the hot sunlight, and there were very few people. We started out around 8AM.
We took the trail down the ridge to the river. Then from there, it’s pretty much straight up. In the later hours of the morning and the afternoon hours, the Misery Trail is in direct sunlight and it can get hot and really dusty. So we were glad we started earlier.
The Views are Worth it
It doesn’t take too long to get to the top. When it’s hot out, it definitely takes a little more work. Even though the trail up is steep, it’s short. The misery to get to the top is worth it, though. There are some pretty incredible views.
The “Backside” of Smith Rock
Since we hiked up, it was only natural that we would have to hike down. And since we were at the top of Smith Rock, we could go down either side. The side we hiked up was easily viewable from the road and parking lot. It’s also the only side we had seen up to this point. The Misery Trail is part of a loop that goes to the top and back down the other side. So we went down the other side. The first rock formation is Monkey Face. It’s a pretty well known and popular climbing spot.
The River Trail
We hiked down the backside of Smith Rock and joined the River Trail that looped back around to the bridge where we started.
The trail followed the rock along the river shore and eventually lands back a the bridge back up to the parking lot.
All in all, we logged 3.49 miles. It sounds short, and it is, but it’s not an easy hike. And it gets even more difficult when it’s hot out.
Another item on our list this time through is an area known as the Painted Hills. It was a bit of a drive from Redmond, but we decided to head out there later that afternoon. We had read that it was best in the afternoon and evening hours.
Where to Start
The road though the Painted Hills is an out and back road, meaning one way in and one way out. So we decided to drive all the way in and work our way back out. The hills reminded me of a desert landscape that was somewhat alien. Hills just pop up out of the ground full of color reminiscent of Yellowstone. The light in the later afternoon and evening definitely helped bring out some of the colors.
Sunset at the Painted Hills
We waited around until the sun was setting to see if there were any better views. The sun started to get obscured by the hills on the horizon. But we got one final good view before everything got dark.
Bend and the River Walk
We did a few more things in Redmond before we had to move on to our next spot. One of the areas we never got around to seeing last time was the Old Mill and River Walk. It was a lovely spot to spend an evening taking a stroll along the river.
Smith Rock Once More
Since we were so close to Smith Rock, we decided to go out one more time. When we were hiking we saw a bald eagles’s nest. When we went back I was actually able to get a photo of one of them leaving the nest. We also had some nice views all around.
On to Silver Falls
Then it was time to pack up and move on to our next spot near Silver Falls.