Smith Rock bridge replacement will limit access this summer

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The bridge over the Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park will be replaced this coming summer, limiting some access.

Smith Rock State Park is getting a new bridge, but installing it will mean losing access to some of the most iconic parts of the park during July and August.  

The bridge, which crosses the Crooked River, provides access to some of the most popular hiking and climbing spots in the park, including Misery Ridge and Monkey Face, and while construction is ongoing, there will be no temporary crossing.

The construction will most likely take place between July 1 and Aug. 15, but the exact dates are unclear because it will depend on river flows and raptor nesting, both of which could shift dates construction is possible.

“The goal is to get it finished in two weeks but it may take up to four weeks, it’ll just depend a few different factors,” Smith Rock park manager Matt Davey said. “Overall, it should have a pretty limited impact since July and August are actually two of our least-visited months because of how hot it is.

“We know that this closure will have an impact on our park users, but our current footbridge must be replaced.”

Hikers crossing a bridge at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon.

While the bridge is being replaced, Davey said park officials will discourage people from using the other side. Plenty of hiking and climbing areas that don’t require crossing the bridge will still be easily accessible, he said.

Davey said park officials are worried about the ecological impact on the river if lots of people decided to attempt to cross it, along with difficulty in responding to emergencies in an often hazardous part of the park.

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