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Smith Rock State Park

If someone says Smith Rock and you think of a giant boulder at the side of the road, think again.

Try 651 acres of canyons, crags, cliffs and climbers on Central Oregon's high desert plateau. It's a wild and rugged landscape, nine miles north of Redmond, broken only by scattered pines that edge the banks of the meandering Crooked River.

With an international reputation and more than 1,600 climbing routes that reach 500 feet above the canyon floor, Smith Rock draws thousands of serious and amateur rock climbers each year.

Nonclimbers needn't stay away. Beyond the stark beauty of the multicolored rocks, visitors can hike, mountain bike, trail run and horseback ride over several miles of trails. Some lead to the top of the rocks, while others take you outside the canyon into the desert countryside.

Nature lovers will find that Smith Rock is an oasis for wildlife. Golden eagles and prairie falcons float on canyon air currents. Mule deer scamper through the grasslands and river otter and beaver swim in the lazy river.

To plan your outdoor adventure, contact the Smith Rock Company, 541-923-0702, www.smithrock.com, or the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, www.oregonstateparks.org.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.

Smith Rock State Park