Overlooking the Crooked River in Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

Smith Rock State Park: Oregon’s Rock climbing Mecca & Dreamy Day hike destination

A legendary rock climbing destination, Smith Rock State Park is a paradise for hikers as well. We made a (not-long-enough) stop here for a few hours on our way south to Bend. What our 4-mile-hiked lacked in length, it made up for with a challenging workout and spectacular scenery.

Volcanic boulder, permanent snowfield, caldera rim in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park (Part 2): Hiking the Lassen Peak Trail

Lassen Peak is the largest plug dome volcano in the world, and we are pumped to hike to the summit today. The exposed, sunny hike on the Lassen Peak trail is 5 miles round trip, and we will climb from 8500 feet to 10,457 feet. With almost 2,000 feet of elevation gain, the trail seems a bit intimidating, however the magnificent views along the entire trail definitely keep one energized and entertained.

Bumpass Hell in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park (Part 1): Bumpass Hell, Manzanita Lake, Museum & Visitor Center

Our first full day at Lassen Volcanic National Park starts with an education and ends with sunset over Manzanita Lake and a glowing Lassen Peak framed by dark forest. We fill the hours between with one of the best scenic drives in the U.S. and a hike so…well, California…that it brings unexpected emotions.