An Enormous Smiley Face Adorns The Hillside In Oregon, Formed Entirely By A Multitude Of Trees

Travelers along Oregon Route 18 during the autumn months or early December are greeted with a delightful sight that is bound to uplift their spirits—a colossal smiley face peering out from the lush greenery of a hillside.

Nestled around the 25th mile marker on Oregon Route 18, between Willamina and Grand Ronde, lies the renowned smiley face of Oregon, captivating spectators each autumn as the foliage composing its form transitions into a kaleidoscope of hues. Spanning an impressive diameter of approximately 300 feet, this iconic emblem comprises a harmonious blend of two distinct coniferous species—one shedding its foliage in the fall while the other remains evergreen throughout the year. Evolving into a cherished landmark within Polk County’s rustic landscapes, this captivating creation promises to grace admirers with joy for the next 30-50 years until the trees mature for harvesting, leaving behind an enduring legacy of smiles.

The story of the Oregon smiley face dates back to 2011, when the Hampton Lumber company decided to create the popular design out of trees, during a reforestation operation. They used Douglas fir for the eyes and mouth of the smiley face, and larch for the body of the design. Unlike most conifers, larch loses its needles and turns yellow in autumn.

“The idea for the smiley face started with David Hampton and our former timberland manager, Dennis Creel. When we harvested the site, we knew the area was highly visible to people travelling down Highway 18 so David and Dennis saw an opportunity to have a little fun,” Hampton spokesperson Kristin told Western Journal. “They used a rope to measure the circle out and the eyes and mouth were triangulated from that point.”

“Let’s just say smiley face designs are not the most efficient reforestation methods out there. With planning and planting it took about a week to finish,” the spokesperson added.

The Oregon smiley face may start to lose its edges over time, but experts at Hampton Lumber say it will remain very clear for at least another decade. Then, in 30 to 50 years, the trees will be harvested and turned to lumber at sawmills in Willamina and Tillamook. For now, though, the smiley face helps cheer up locals when they really need a reason to smile.

“It’s a very depressed area here,” one local woman told KATU-TV. “The jobs are gone. You drive along and see a smiley face, that’s all that matters. Yeah, my day is going to get better now because I saw a smiley face. It kind of brightens up the community.”

This cute smiley face is just one of the coolest designs created out of living trees over the years. Not too long ago we featured the world’s largest signature made of trees, and the Soviet-era “Lenin” trees in Siberia.

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