Just at the outskirts of Redmond is a special place where majestic rock spires rise above the Crooked River. The area, called Smith Rock State Park is a year-round destination for rock climbers around the world. There are routes throughout the park for beginner climbers and the expert as well. There are mountain bike and horse trails. There are wonderful walking trails along the Crooked River and up and around the rock spires. There are deer (we saw a mom and her still-spotted baby), lots of birds (we saw a blue heron in the river) and otters. The orientation of the rock spires allow for excellent photography of some of the spires in the morning and the other spires in the evening. It is a good idea to pack a lunch to enjoy in a shady area. You will want to spend the whole day.
With changing seasons, weather, and light, this park could keep a photographer busy year-round. The fourteen hiking paths are rated for difficulty, with four of them listed as the most difficult. There are separate trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. If there was nothing else to do in Central Oregon, spending much more time at the Park would be easier.