Photographer's Guide to Smith Rock State Park

The comprehensive 14-page photo guide was created by Steve J. Giardini Photography. Below is an excerpt from the guide. A FREE download of the entire guide is available with your email subscription. The guide may not be reprinted, reproduced or resold without permission. Contact us for more information. Thank you.



Smith Rock State Park (SRSP), Terrebonne, Oregon, USA is a world-class climbing venue. It is also a photographer's paradise!

The Park has all the elements outdoor photographers hope for; a winding river, rock pinnacles and overlooks, osprey, eagles, geese, ducks, otters and, a variety of plants including high desert Spring arrowleaf balsamroot wildflowers.

Throw in a few climbers hanging from ropes high on the rock walls and you have the perfect combination of subject matter to create beautiful and dramatic nature, landscape and lifestyle images.

About This Guide

"This guide is intended for photo enthusiasts and pro photographers alike. If you’re new to the Park the guide will help you get to the right spot at the right time. If you’re a frequent visitor I've included a few seldom visited locations that offer unique points of view."

Rim Rock Trail - The Long View

Getting There: Park near the Welcome Center, pay your $5 day use fee and grab a park map. Walk west to the Rim Rock Trail, a paved trail overlooking the Crooked River. The walk is less than a tenth of a mile! Within a 100 yards either direction from where you reach the path you will have grand views of Picnic Lunch Wall, Morning Glory Wall, Christian Brothers Dihedrals, the Crooked River, Asterisk Pass, and Phoenix Buttress. Mount any lens and start firing away! This is an all-purpose location great at sunrise or sunset.

You won’t have views of the Cascade Mountain Range from here unless you’re using a long lens, but honestly there is plenty of wide lens beautiful scenery and interesting compositions.

Ideal Photo Time: Sunrise or Sunset

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Rim Rock Trail - Southwest Corner View

A standalone triangular rock formation at the southwestern most point of the park is an excellent spot to capture an iconic view. The Crooked River defines the formation running along its base on two sides. Frequently referred to as Phoenix Buttress, the name of the climbing point on the East wall, the formation stands 2,700 feet tall and catches the morning sun. West of the triangular butte you have distant views of Middle and North Sister Mountains.

Fog Burn 141019LND8

Fog Burn 141019LND8

Getting There: From the Welcome Center it is an easy half mile walk on a level path. Grab a map from the pay station area or download from the Oregon Parks website. You’ll walk south and then west along a path that parallels the auxiliary parking. 

Viewpoint #1

Walk until you get to the park bench overlook. The overlook provides a close up view of Asterisk Pass (look for the Snoopy rock formation in the ‘gap’). The river is prominent just below the overlook. If you are in the Park in the Fall this is an excellent spot to catch geese and ducks doing touch n’goes (river take off and landings).

Subscribe and get the complete guide including composition, lens recommendations & more.