Bivouac campground at Smith Rock State Park
The Bivouac campground at Smith Rock State Park isn’t just for rock climbers – it’s also a great place for hikers to camp when visiting this high desert location.
Smith Rock State Park is one of my favorite places to visit in the spring, especially when it’s cold and rainy in Portland. March through May is a great time to camp here and hike on the park’s trails before it gets too hot.
The Bivouac campground (also know as The Bivy) is an open area with walk-in campsites near the rim overlooking the park. The facilities include a restroom with hot showers, cell phone charging station, and a separate area for cooking (the use of stoves is not allowed in the tent area). Spring is a busy season here, with rock climbers taking advantage of the cooler temperatures. When we arrived on a Saturday in March around noon, the day use parking areas were already full, and the parking at the campground was filling up fast.
Note that most of the rim sites at the campground are closed in the spring due to bald eagles that nest every year in a tall Ponderosa Pine. Later in the season, it’s open and a prime area to set up camp. Get there early to snag one of these spots with jaw-dropping views of the crags.
- Location: Central Oregon
- Cost: $8 per night per camper (pay station at campground entrance)
- All camping is first-come, first-served
- Amenties: potable water; flushing toilets; hot showers; dish washing station; designated kitchen area with picnic tables
- Nearby towns for supplies: Terrebonne (3 miles) has a rock climbing gear shop, restaurants, and a grocery store. Redmond is 9 miles south and has an outdoor gear shop, restaurants, and grocery stores.
- Regulations: the use of stoves is not allowed in the tent area; campfires are not allowed at any time; seasonal rim closure due to nesting bald eagles
- Learn more: Smith Rock State Park
Hiking at Smith Rock
Take the Rim Rock Trail from the campground for great views of the park. Continue to the Visitor’s Center, and on the The Chute for access to the park’s hiking trails. See the “Best Hikes at Smith Rock State Park” post for info on hiking the parks many trails.