Smith Rock - Trail Running

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You know when you have a trail run that redeems all those other trail runs that kinda stunk? Well, Misery Ridge trail at Smith Rock Park is that one.

Written by

Lauren Melink


4.0 miles

You can stretch out this run if you want, but from the parking lot and back the trail extends to about 4 miles.

Destination Distance From Downtown

109.5 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Despite the last few miles being fast and easy, I gave this run a 3 star difficulty rating because the first mile is pretty steep. There is about 1,000 feet of elevation and it can get pretty huffy and puffy. Fortunately, the jaw-dropping views provide a much-needed distraction from burning legs.

Time To Complete

1 hours

The amount of time needed to complete this run is completely dependent on whether or not you brought your camera. If you don't care to check out the scenery you can probably finish the run in an hour. But if you did, then prepare to stop several times for both the view and to check out the awesome rock climbers.


All Seasons

The trail is fantastic in autumn! It's great anytime though—except for when it snows or has been raining for days on end.

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


$5.00 Daily Fee

Topographical Map

Smith Rock - Trail Running



This is the kind of trail that will turn road runners into trail runners and trail runners into trail fanatics.

Misery Ridge Loop at Smith Rock State Park is about 4 miles and it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful for every single step. The trail begins after the Crooked River Bridge. From there you will climb to the Misery Ridge Summit. This part isn’t easy, but at least there are some welcome distractions like rock climbers, hikers, and incredible views.  Then you will run along the ridge, head down some steep switch backs, and find a flat and fast trail along the river. 

What Makes It Great

This run is great because in just 4 miles, you get everything you want. You get the breathtaking views, an incline, a speedy downhill, and a fast flat section, not to mention a winding river to check out when you're all finished.  

But perhaps one of the greatest parts of this run is the atmosphere. Smith Rock is filled with hikers, rock climbers, runners and all sorts of outdoorsy types eager to have a chat, recommend a run, or share a post-adventure beer. The place is overflowing with good vibes and positive energy.

Aside from the mushy stuff, the run takes you up 1,000 feet of high desert terrain. There are occasional rocks in the trail but nothing big enough to seriously impede your speed.  For those downhill speedsters, this place is awesome with lengthy switchbacks that give you time to really let loose and fly.  

As for the flat section, it is lovely. There are a couple of roots and rocks to look out for, but that's what makes trail running fun, right?

Who is Going to Love It

EVERYONE! Seriously though, pretty much anyone can fall in love with this route. It is perfect for those new to trail running, and it's really perfect for those driving from Portland and looking to stop and stretch their legs for an hour or so.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

It is $5 to park at Smith Rock State Park. Once you've parked, you will take the Smith Rock Trail down to the Crooked River Bridge. Cross the bridge, and you'll see a sign for Misery Ridge Trail. From here, head on up!

When you reach the summit, the trail will skirt around to the other side of the ridge, and you will begin your descent. Eventually you will hop on the downward Mesa Verde Trail. Then continue onto the River Trail, which will lead you back to the bridge.

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Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, OR -- Misery Ridge Loop

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