Smith Rock to partially reopen Thursday; locals only for now

Smith Rock State Park will partially reopen on Thursday, but park advocates warn it won’t be business as usual and the park will close again if people cannot follow social distancing rules.

Parking spots will be reduced from 500 to 200, the bivouac camp will be closed and the Misery Ridge Trail will be off-limits as the park reopening is geared toward local visitors, according to smithrock.com.

“The park WILL close again if things go nuts,” the website says.

Smith Rock, a hugely popular spot for hiking and climbing near Terrebonne, has been closed since March 23rd.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Spokesman Chris Havel said the date could change and to check oregonstateparks.org for updates.

Since the governor’s restrictions on non-essential travel is still in order, Havel reminded Oregonians that the opening of state parks doesn’t mean it’s time to start playing tourist again.

“Don’t hop in your car from hours away and rush out to the park,” he said. “This is for people who are already in the area.”


Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

  • Misery Ridge Trail will remain closed for visitor, staff and first responder safety across from the footbridge as well as at the crossroads of Mesa Verde and Misery Ridge Trails.  Other trails are all open and social distancing guidelines are being placed in key locations.  Please respect trail closures during this initial phase of re-opening.

  • The RV and overflow parking lots will remain closed to limit total park capacity.  Please only park in designated parking spaces, and if the park is full upon arrival, plan to come back another time when it’s less busy.

  • The Bivouac Camp (Bivy) will remain closed for now.  Oregon State Parks has a planning committee looking into requirements for opening camping up again, but no dates are yet determined.

  • The Welcome Center yurt will stay closed, as well.  Annual passes can be purchased online or at the Terrebonne Oliver Lemons store.

  • The park will be open to all the normal outdoor activities allowed at Smith Rock, (including climbing).

  • Climbing will be restricted on Picnic Lunch and Red Wall, as the trail to Misery Ridge will be closed across the footbridge. Regular Seasonal Nesting Closures are also in place.

  • The park needs people to cooperate by staying close to home, bringing everything they need for a short visit, then packing everything out. While in a park, people need to give each other space and we strongly suggest wearing a face covering.

  • Due to loss of revenue for park operations — state parks are funded mainly from lottery and user fees, and both drastically lower now — they cannot fully staff the park.

  • If the health situation worsens, or visitors don’t cooperate, or funding becomes even more critical, it will affect the ability of the park to offer service.

  • Your safety depends on your own good judgment and constant awareness of the situationYour safety is your responsibility: prepare for your visit, and take care.

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