Cove Palisades and Smith Rock--2 day hikes with car camp

PLEASE READ THE FULL DESCRIPTION BELOW!!!

Tired of the spring gloom and drizzle in Portland?  Let's head to the east side of the Cascades where it should be drier and sunnier!  This TWO-DAY weekend outing will take in two of central Oregon's best state parks: Cove Palisades (at Lake Billy Chinook) and Smith Rock.  We'll do a nice day hike at each park (a gentler one on Saturday and a more challenging one on Sunday), and will car camp at Smith Rock on Saturday night between the two hikes, giving us the opportunity to enjoy the dramatic scenery at sunset and sunrise as well.  If you love desert scenery and spectacular rock formations, this event is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SATURDAY Hike (Cove Palisades)

Rating: Gentle to Moderate

Elevation gain: 650 feet

Hike distance: 7.2 miles

Hiking time: 3-4 hours

The 7.2-mile Tam-a-lau Trail is Cove Palisades State Park's only significant trail, but once we climb the bluff on top of which most of the trail lies, there should be some great views of the cliffs and canyons which surround Lake Billy Chinook.  Most of the hike won't be too strenuous (aside from getting up the 600-foot bluff) and should be a good warm-up for the slightly longer and more demanding hike on Sunday at Smith Rock.  I've not been to Cove Palisades myself, so we'll discover the area together.  Here's more information about the trail: http://www.oregonstateparks.org/images/pdf/palisades_hiking.pdf

After this hike, if there's time we can make a quick stop at Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint (http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_50.php) to see the impressive Crooked River Canyon, then head to nearby Smith Rock State Park to camp for the night. The campsites are a short walk from the parking lot, and also just a short walk from the river and the rocks themselves.  If it's a clear day, sunset and sunrise could be really nice here.  You have the option tonight to bring your own dinner food and eat in camp, or drive to nearby Terrebonne where there's an excellent little food/drink spot.


SUNDAY Hike (Smith Rock)

Rating: Moderate to Difficult, with a little steep off-trail scrambling

Elevation gain: about 1,000 feet from lowest to highest point, but with ups and downs it will be more like 3,000 feet in total

Hike distance: 9 miles

Hiking time: 5-6 hours

If you haven't been to Smith Rock State Park before, you're in for a visual treat...it's like a little slice of Utah in our own back yard, with stunning 300-foot cliffs and pinnacles lining the aptly-named Crooked River. While the park is better-known for its rock climbing (which can be fascinating to watch even though we won't be joining in), it offers enough hiking trails to make the long drive from Portland and back well worthwhile.

This hike is graded as Moderate to Difficult.  While significant stretches along the river at the base of the cliffs are fairly flat, there are also some very steep and slippery sections on the ascents to Misery and Staender Ridges, including a steep off-trail scramble shortcut between two of the trails.  Please contact the organizer (Matt T) if you have concerns about whether the hike is appropriate for you. For more information, as well as a downloadable park map/brochure, visit http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_51.php

We should be finished with our exploration by mid to late afternoon.  We'll stop either in Terrebonne or back closer to Portland (Zigzag maybe) for a well-deserved dinner on the way back.  We should be back to Portland no later than 8pm on Sunday, but as always I can never guarantee it.  If you really need to be back by a specific time, please don't sign up!

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MORE DETAILS (please read them!)

My hiking style: I'm a pretty tireless hiker, but I like pausing for photos, viewpoints, and/or snack breaks whenever the scenery demands it.  To me outings are more about enjoying your surroundings than reaching the 'finish line' at any set time or pace, although I do in general keep a moderate to quick pace (2-2.5 mph) when we're on the move.  (With that said, if you're wanting full-speed-ahead hikes without pauses, this isn't your event.)  I like keeping the group somewhat 'together' on the trail and not leaving anyone behind. Most of all, I want it to be an enjoyable day out for everyone!

Total driving distance for the weekend: roughly 300 miles

Costs: Suggested $25 per person to driver for gas (may vary depending on each car's gas mileage), $5 camping fee per person and $10 in parking fees for each car.

What to bring: enough layers for 2 mild days and 1 cold night; sunscreen; hat (for shade; there aren't a lot of trees); gaiters (could be handy at Smith Rock to keep rocks out of your shoes); tent, a warm sleeping bag (it can get quite cold in the desert at night, especially in early April), sleeping mat for padding, trekking poles; headlamp and spare batteries; sunglasses; camera; enough water and food for 2 lunches, 1 breakfast, & 1 dinner, plus snacks for the trail; sturdy hiking boots or shoes.  Always bring a waterproof layer just in case.  Leave the cotton at home. (If some people prefer to eat Saturday's dinner in a restaurant rather than in camp, that option exists: there's an excellent place about 10 minutes drive away in Terrebonne.)  Once we know who's going we can discuss details further, but if you have a portable stove or a water filter/purifier, please bring them along.

NOTE: This is the desert, and rattlesnakes live here as well.  No need to be paranoid about it; just be aware and alert.  I've seen snakes--including rattlers--at Smith Rock before, and we may well see them again.  Give them space and respect and there should be plenty of room for all of us!

Sorry, no dogs...

 

THE FINE PRINT:

- There's a manual waiting list for this event, meaning that when someone on the YES list drops out, everyone waitlisted gets an email noting that there's a spot open.  First one to the open spot gets it.

- As a Meetup organizer, I'm an unpaid volunteer.  While I always try to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing for everyone, by signing up for this event you assume full responsibility for your own health, safety, and well-being for its entire duration, including while traveling to and from both the meeting place and destination.

- I absolutely welcome and encourage other NW Wilderness Organizers to sign up for and join my events; it's always great to have you guys along.  I do, however, reserve the right to move you to the Waiting List if I decide to move qualified and Waitlisted non-organizers to the YES list.


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  • Robert R.

    We don't want to forget to thank Tamsen for the great cookies! Thanks Tamsen!!!

    1 · April 30, 2013

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    Pictures will be uploaded tonight. Thanks.

    April 30, 2013

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    Fantastic times. Rough start early due to forgetting my hiking poles and little stuff. Beautiful weather. Great company. Thank you guys for making this wonderful. Thank you Udhay for letting me use the camera when my battery died. Thank you Robert for driving. Thank you both Udhay and PJ for letting me use the hiking pole as a staff. Thank you everyone for the fun times. Memories will be treasured. Thank you Matt for putting this together. I will see you on a next hike. RSOE KORB!!!

    1 · April 29, 2013

  • PJ

    Thanks everyone in taking the time and sharing all these fantastic pictures :)

    1 · April 30, 2013

  • Udhay

    Thanks Matt and fellow leaders for the memorable weekend

    1 · April 29, 2013

  • Juergen

    Yeah, pictures, I put mine up as well. Thanks everyone, it was a fun weekend.

    1 · April 29, 2013

  • Benson L.

    Thank you Matt for organizing the trip. Also extending thanks to Robert and Chatchay for leading groups. It was a fun weekend and nice to meeting you all.

    1 · April 29, 2013

  • Scott

    Hey it was fun bumping into you at Smith. Sorry you all couldn't hang out with me :)

    April 28, 2013

    • PJ

      Such a small world...looked like you were in full concentration and enjoying your climb :)

      April 29, 2013

    • Scott

      Yes. I was in a Zen bubble. It took me a minute snap out of it.

      April 29, 2013

  • PJ

    BTW.......there's no getting away from snakes in this area of OR!!!!!!!

    April 29, 2013

  • Matt T

    FYI, the first metal circular marker we were studying at the point on our Cove Palisades hike was a horizontal control point, for which very precise latitude and longitude coordinates have been established...useful for surveying and positioning. Other similar markers exist (vertical control points) which do the same for elevation.
    http://mapserver.mytopo.com/mapserver/topographic_symbols/Control_Data.html

    April 29, 2013

  • Matt T

    Fun weekend with good people in one of my favorite corners of Oregon. Thanks to everyone for your flexibility and patience!

    April 29, 2013

  • barbara s.

    What a great way to spend the last weekend of April....looking at central Oregon's beautiful scenery, enjoying warm weather and spending time with such a great group of excellent hikers and generous people. This is my second car camping trip with Matt and I look forward to him setting up more unique outings in the future. Thanks Matt and everyone who came along for the ride.

    April 29, 2013

  • PJ

    First Matt lead hike/campout I've been on....it was such a good time I'll look forward to more from Matt. Good weather, scenery, exercise, people, entertainment, and support. Thank you to all :)

    April 28, 2013

  • Matt T

    Just curious...is anyone planning to bring a Jet Boil or stove?

    April 26, 2013

    • Robert R.

      I'm bringing a two burner Coleman. I only have to bottles of propane though which I also plan to use for a lantern.

      April 26, 2013

    • PJ

      Its not a jet boil but its a MSR stove.

      April 27, 2013

  • Benson L.

    I will bring my stove and Ti cup. I have to have a coffee in the morning.

    April 26, 2013

  • Benson L.

    I will bring my stove and Ti cup.

    April 26, 2013

  • Jason

    i'm bringing my jetboil

    April 26, 2013

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    I will see you guys in the morning. KORB!!!

    April 26, 2013

  • Benson L.

    Someone just drop out. I am looking forward to this weekend to hike/ camping with you guys.

    April 23, 2013

    • Benson L.

      Matt, I sent you my email but here it is again. [masked]

      April 24, 2013

    • Benson L.

      Thanks, Matt. I got your email.

      April 24, 2013

  • PJ

    OK Matt, it appears my obligations are being met very nicely; so I have a responsibility to give to you.........you keep ALL snakes within 100 ft. away from me at all times (unless you'll be caring smelling salts) :)

    April 22, 2013

  • PJ

    Matt, You'll have to wait to see what unbeknownst powers come about closer to the weekend :) My nose is wiggling though! (If you remember Bewitched...lol)

    http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=44.5430158&lon=-121.27507209999999&site=all&smap=1&searchresult=The%20Cove%20Palisades%20State%20Park%2C%20Terrebonne%2C%20OR%2097760%2C%20USA

    Robert, Food.......you mean REAL food and not the ?? in the foil packs?

    Any other requests since they're being made? I must look like I have really broad shoulders....:)

    April 17, 2013

  • PJ

    So looking forward to this. :)

    April 16, 2013

    • Matt T

      i'll make it your responsibility to arrange for good weather this time, PJ...we're counting on you!

      April 16, 2013

    • Robert R.

      And FOOD!

      April 16, 2013

  • Svetlana

    I can't make this weekend either - sorry to miss it, have a great time everyone

    April 6, 2013

  • Marc

    Unfortunately, I cannot go on the weekend of April 27-28. I hope whoever gets my spot has a good time!

    April 4, 2013

  • Matt T

    Sorry guys, the weather gods are not smiling on Central Oregon this weekend, so in the interest of everyone's safety and enjoyment on the trails I'm postponing this event until the weekend of April 27-28. The RSVP list has been brought forward to the new date. Please take a minute to update your RSVP. If you're on the 'yes' list and cannot make the new dates, please change your RSVP to a 'no' so someone on the lengthy Waiting List can take your slot. Likewise, if you're on the Waiting List and the new dates don't work for you, please update so you don't continue to get assaulted with emails about the new dates. Thanks.

    As I mentioned to some of you earlier, some hikes I might go ahead with despite a wet forecast, but Smith Rock is not one of those. There are some steep and slippery trails, and I want everyone who goes to come home happy, safe, and in one piece. If you have any questions, just email me.

    Matt

    April 4, 2013

  • Krista

    So what's the scoop? Do we think this is going to happen or not, and if so, where will we be meeting?

    The forecast seems pretty questionable still....!

    April 4, 2013

    • Matt T

      I'll decide and let everyone know this evening (Thurs). If the forecast remains as it currently stands (and I'm watching several sites), this will likely be postponed til the 27th/28th. I just don't want to pull the trigger too soon and then have the weather turn out to be perfect! Some hikes I would go ahead with despite a showery forecast, but a few of the trails at Smith Rock could be slippery and a bit dangerous if they're wet, so I want to err on the side of safety this time. I'll send an announcement one way or the other once I'm home from work this evening.

      April 4, 2013

    • PJ

      Thanks Matt, for all your considerations! :)

      April 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    ugh, still sick! :( have fun, everyone!

    April 2, 2013

    • Matt T

      Keeping an eye on the forecast. If by later in the week it looks like it will be wet, I'll postpone until April 27-28. I'll let everyone know no later than Thursday PM.

      April 1, 2013

    • Robert R.

      Where will you take us instead then? Bullwinkles in Wilsonville to do the rope climb???

      April 1, 2013

  • Krista

    I'm hoping the change from gateway is still accessible by bus? (I live in southwest and don't drive...)

    March 15, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I also live in SW and also don't have a car, so I may need to be part of that carpool as well if the location is not on public transit.Thanks!

      March 16, 2013

    • Krista

      Awesome - thank you Matt :D

      March 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I live in Sherwood, would I be able to board and jump ship at the wilsonville I5 exit? It's an additional 1-2 hours to the transit center for me.

    March 13, 2013

    • Matt T

      By the way, the meeting location will probably change, although it will still be in Portland somewhere. Gateway is a great meeting spot, but not the best place to leave cars overnight. Stay tuned!

      March 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Awesome! I also have a vehicle if a second is needed with 4wd and five seats with storage (Nissan XTerra).

      March 14, 2013

  • Matt T

    Since the waiting list has grown quickly, I've doubled the group size. We can hike as one group at Cove Palisades with no problem, but we'll split into 2 smaller groups when we hike at Smith Rock. Thanks to Robert and Chatchay for volunteering to help with the leading so we can open this event up to more people! We do have alternative camping locations in case there aren't enough spaces at Smith Rock to accommodate us all.

    1 · March 14, 2013

  • Stephanie

    So I'm on the waiting list and hoping that there will be another overnight camping trip in the future. For all who are going, have a great time!

    March 13, 2013

  • A. S.

    Great event plan Matt

    March 13, 2013

    • A. S.

      just realized this conflicts with my biking trip plan with Rick. Will probably drop out now and hope to get in, in case the biking trip gets cancelled.

      March 13, 2013

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