Finding Things to do in Bend and Beyond
If your finding it hard to find some things to do in Bend this weekend, consider checking out Smith Rock and its surrounding areas. It’s just a short drive away and hosts word-class rock climbing, along with some great spots to sample local craft beer, coffee and food.
Explore our page to find even more of the best things to do in Bend, Oregon and its surrounding areas!
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is one of the crown jewels of central Oregon. Situated less than 30 miles from ever-popular Bend, Smith Rock comes with a wide variety of attractions, from hiking to sport climbing. Whether you are vacationing with the family, looking for adventure with friends, or just have time for a quick stop on your way to Bend, there is something memorable here for everyone. Begin your trip at the Welcome Center yurt to learn about the history and geology of the park. Parking passes for day use are five dollars at the self-serve kiosk, or you can acquire an Oregon State Parks pass (get yours today) from the camp host on-site, which opens up all Oregon State Parks to you. Summer is high season at the park, and parking can be difficult, so plan to carpool if you are going with friends.
Hiking Smith Rock
There are a multitude of options for hiking Smith Rock. For instant gratification, there are plenty of flat walking trails at the top of the canyon with photo-ops to be had everywhere you look. If you’re up for a more challenging expedition, head up Misery Ridge Trail, which begins just across the footbridge at the bottom of the canyon. At just 3/4 of a mile long, there is 1000 feet of elevation gain. Once you reach the top, however, all misery fades from your mind with gorgeous views of the Cascade range as well as an eagle-eye view of the entire park. If you continue on, you can make a loop of it by following Misery Ridge Loop to River Trail, then back out the way you came. This route takes 3-4 hours, depending on your fitness level, and goes down the back side of the rocks and along the river.
If you’re looking to spend most of the day hiking, and are ready for some steep gains, head the opposite way to Burma Road Trail, which brings you around the few giant Ponderosa Pines and around the irrigation canal that runs through the park. Burma Road Trail is also popular with mountain bikers and climbers.
Fun For Kids
Near the entrance to the park is a play area for children, featuring a scaled down version of Monkey Face Rock which kids can try their hands at climbing. There are also picnic benches and trees to spread out for lunch, or perhaps set up a slackline.
Finally, take a look at the maps before you head out, and feel free to spend the day piecing bits of each trail together for your own adventure.
Climbing The Area
Smith Rock is known as the birthplace of sport climbing. There are just under 2000 routes in place at Smith Rock. The variety and quality of routes attracts international climbers to the park during all seasons. Be sure to check out the Welcome Center for the park’s unique climbing history and to read about the big names in the sport that made their way through the park. If you’re a beginning climber or would like a guide, check out Smith Rock Climbing Guides, Inc., which offers instruction for all levels of climbers.
Highlining and Slacklining
Smith Rock is also becoming a known highlining spot. Gaze upward when you’re out and you might be lucky enough to spot what looks like a tightrope being walked by some daring human. Slacklining involves the use of climbing rope strung between two points. Many people will set up between a couple of trees, but the truly daring will post between two high points. Dubbed “highlining”, this is an entrancing activity just to watch even if you aren’t interested in partaking.
Smith Rock is home to many birds of prey, such as bald eagles which nest in the pines on the south end of the river trail. There are also golden eagles, prairie falcons, river otters, mule deer, and beaver that can be seen in the park. Bufflehead and mallard ducks as well as Canadian Geese are also common visitors. Bring your binoculars, and make sure to look up while you’re in the park to see the many different nests hanging onto the faces of the rock. Be aware that some climbing routes will close seasonally for nesting raptors, which are easily disturbed by human visitors.
Places to Stay
The Bivy campground at the park is five dollars per night. There are showers and restrooms facilities available for the use of guests. The campground fills quickly, especially in summer, and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For those that require more creature comforts, Eagle Crest Resort is 15 miles away in Redmond. The resort has all the amenities one could require, such as a sauna and spa. There are many vacation rentals available throughout Central Oregon, and Bend is a short 30 miles down the road with hotels, resorts, and rentals to suit a variety of needs.
Food & Drink
Just before the entrance of the park is Juniper Junction, a climbing supply store that also happens to sell huckleberry ice cream. For a true taste of Oregon flavor, this is a must-do, and is especially rewarding after a hot day of adventuring in the park. If you’re looking for a delicious meal, hit up the Terrebonne Depot. The Depot resides in a restored train station where trains pass by daily. They serve steak, seafood, burgers, and pasta, and use locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. If you’re looking for something more down-home, or perhaps are in need of a milkshake, the Sun Spot Cafe is just a little further from the park, and serves up daily breakfast specials in a tiny diner-like atmosphere. Need coffee? How about a beer? Redpoint Climbing Supply serves up locally roasted coffee inside their gear shop. They also have a rotating selection of beer on tap. Fill up a growler to take home, or just sit and plan out your day at Smith while enjoying a beverage. Right next door is a community studio with massage, yoga, and energy healing.
Redmond Oregon – Big(ish) City Vibes
If you are staying in Redmond, there are several options for food and drink. Proust Coffee is located in downtown Redmond and features Belgian-style liege waffles along with specialty coffee. The ambiance in Proust is friendly and warm. Everything is house-made, right down to their syrups and chai!
Step right next door to the Vault Taphouse to try locally-brewed Kobold beer, or go for some award-winning tacos at Westside Taco Co.. West Side Taco Co. is a food truck that shares an outdoor patio with the Vault.
Pig and Pound Public House is a British-style pub just west of the downtown strip, featuring a simple menu and plenty of beer. Go for the bangers and mash if you want to be wowed.
Redmond is following in the steps of Bend and becoming a town well-known for its breweries and pubs.There is shopping available in the downtown corridor, as well as a locally-owned bookstore, Herringbone Books, which has an excellent selection of books as well as regularly scheduled author events.
Visit Central Oregon Today
Central Oregon is brimming with all the ingredients for an adventure-filled getaway. From awe-inspiring cliffs at Smith Rock to beer and coffee in town, Central Oregon has got you covered.