While the overflowing parking lot on the weekends might suggest no room to trail run, think again.

header photo courtesy of Allison Miles

Run one mile in any direction and you leave the crowds behind. Then it's just you, the wildlife, and the amazing scenic beauty of the rock spires of Smith Rock State Park and its panoramic  views of the Cascades. The only thing you'll need to worry about is staying focused on the trail while you gawk. 

Steep trails, gnarly scree descents, exposed drop-offs--all call for you to pay close attention to your footing. Surfaces are hard packed clay with loose rocks, scree, and sometimes a little sand.

A couple of loops cover a lot of territory. The first, the Misery Ridge Loop Trail Run, isn't as miserable as it sounds, especially if you do it in the order we suggest. A great way to see the main park areas, you start at river level and climb up to some great views, coming down the steepest stuff. 

The best loop for covering the entire park, including a piece of BLM property, is the Summit Loop Trail Run. We've got it detailed for you from start to finish, along with some extension options to trail run both sides of the park.

Want to add even more miles? Go beyond the park into BLM territory on the Gray Butte and Cole and Warner Loop trails at the junction of the Summit Trail and the Burma Road Trail. Here's the Forest Service map with all your trail running options.

Smith Rock has only nine inches of precipitation a year on average. You can pretty much trail run here all year while you're waiting to get on the snow covered mountain trails of the area.

Just remember to stay hydrated, especially in the heat of the summer. Water is only available at the Welcome Center and bridge area into the park. 

trail running on the Rim Rock Trail at Smith Rock State Park

trail running on the Rim Rock Trail at Smith Rock State Park

trail running on the Canyon Trail at Smith Rock State Park

trail running on the Canyon Trail at Smith Rock State Park