Smith Rock is great place to visit for hiking, rock climbing, relaxation, and photography. It is easy to get to and is located in the little town of Terrebonne, OR.
This location provides several great photographic opportunities, with the S shape of the Crooked River running in front of the massive 500ft. walls of this interesting rock formation.
Trail Difficulty (1 out of 5)
I would rate the difficulty of this trail as a 1 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). This location is a layup for a landscape photographer, as the shot is an easy 75yd. walk from the parking lot.
GPS Coordinates & Elevation
2,693 Ft Elevation
Google Maps Birds-Eye-View
Click link above to view location in Google Earth
CLICK HERE to get driving directions the Smith Rock State Park parking lot.
Smith Rock is located in central Oregon in the town of Terrebonne (10 miles north of Redmond and 21 miles north of Bend).
The directions are from Bend, OR: Drive north on US-97 for 21 miles until you reach the town of Terrebonne. In Terrebonne, turn right on Smith Rock Way for 0.5 mile and turn left on 1st St./Lambert Rd. for 2 miles. Then take a left on Crooked River Dr. and you will run into the Smith Rock State Park.
To get to the photographic area, drive past the camping area on the left until you get to the main parking lot. From the main parking lot there is a gravel path directly next to the park information/fee sign. Walk on the gravel path for 25yds. and turn left. Walk on the gravel path for another 25yds. and you are there.
Best Time of Day to Shoot
Sunset is the shot most photographers are going take here (it is best with clouds to illuminated the setting sun). However, the red glow of sunrise can also produce a nice photograph.
Best Time of Year to Shoot
This location can be photographed all times of the year. In the summer months, the sun sets behind the rock and creates a silhouette. In the winter months, the sun sets to the left and illuminates the front/side of the rock.
In the summer months, the sun rises to the right of the rock. In the winter months, the sun rises in front of the rock.
What Lens(es) Do You Need
The above shot was taken with a 24mm lens. Depending on the composition you are looking for, you can use anything from a 24mm to a 50mm lens.
There are no permits required; there is a $5/vehicle/day fee.
Direction of the Shot
The direction of the shot is west at 260°.
Special Nuances of Shot
If you are shooting from just off of the parking lot, this is a straightforward shot. I would suggest arriving an hour or so before sunset to find the composition that is best for you.
Special Equipment Needed
Other than a tripod, there is no special photography equipment needed unless you plan on doing a panoramic shot.
Number of Other Photographers to Expect
This location is simple to get to and provides a great opportunity for a nice landscape shot - so you may share the area with several other photographers.
Smith Rock is in an arid part of Oregon and doesn’t get as much rain as other parts of the state. It can get cool in spring and fall, and winters are usually cold. Make sure you travel with the appropriate cold weather equipment in spring, fall, and winter.
I have Verizon and had good cell coverage at Smith Rock.
There is a tent-only campsite at Smith Rock State Park called the Bivy. This campsite is first-come, first-served. It does not allow RV’s or car camping. The closest other campground is Skull Hollow Campground, which is 8 miles northeast. The nearest lodging is in Redmond (10 miles south of Terrebonne).
Nearby camping and lodging
Camping - click on the campground below for directions
The Bivy – located in the Smith Rock State Park
Skull Hollow Campground - 8 miles northeast
Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review
Best Western Plus Rama Inn
2630 SW 17th Pl, Redmond, OR
Sleep Inn & Suites
1847 N Hwy 97, Redmond, OR
If you are staying in Redmond, there are several nice choices for food and drinks. My favorite place for a nice dinner is Diego's. They offer great food and good service. If you drive down to Bend, there are tons of nice restaurants and Bend is the craft brew capital of Oregon.
Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review
Diego's Spirited Kitchen
447 SW 6th St, Redmond, OR
Wild Ride Brewery
332 SW 5th St, Redmond, OR
The closest laundry mat is in Redmond, OR (10 miles)
Express Eco Laundromat - 1604 S Hwy 97 #1, Redmond, OR
Other Photography Opportunities Around
The closest airports are:
Eugene, Oregon (EUG) - (90 miles) is a regional airport servicing: Alaska Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, Emirates, Air France, Copa, Lufthansa and United.
Portland International airport (PDX) – (170 miles) is a full international airport with services to most of the major airlines.
Area Guides and Workshops
If you were looking for a GREAT photography guide for Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington areas) - I can highly recommend Mark Metternich. I have taken workshops with Mark in the past and he has been hosting workshops in the Pacific Northwest for many years.
Mark knows all the VERY best places to take you and just the right time to be there - to help you get the shot. He is a great photographer, an expert at photoshop, an excellent guide/instructor and a super nice guy.
The Photographer's Ephemeris is a very valuable tool for landscape photographers to determine the direction of the sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset from any place on earth on any day (past and future). Click here to take you to The Photographer's Ephemeris for this location.