John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, John Day
Categories: National Parks, Nature & Parks
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is located in John Day. It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and many more John Day attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's John Day trip itinerary maker.
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This is one of the most amazing attractions we have ever visited, and to think it's right here in the Pacific Northwest! The monument consists of three sections, Painted Hills, Clarno, and Sheep Rock.... read more »
There are 3 separate units for John Day Fossil Beds. We went to the Painted Hills Unit and Sheep Rock Unit. The Painted Hills are amazing....the colors beautiful. The Condon Paleantology museum in the... read more »
Beautiful. Make sure you go down to the trail heads to get up close with the painted hills. Sunny days are best.
I really love this national monument. I have been to the Painted Hills Unit a few times - it's a great place to take visitors. The scenery is striking and otherworldly; I can just sit and look at it for hours. Best times to see it are later afternoon, when the light really starts changing and brings out all the rich colors. Typically the expansive sky is partially cloudy and sunny so you really get the depth of the colors and textures - it makes it even more mesmerizing. The Sheep Rock Unit is further on down the road and the rock formations look like the Dakota Badlands or maybe even a Martian landscape. Great colors in this one too. Both units offer easy walking trails that nearly anyone can complete and enjoy. While this isn't one of the better known national monuments, it sure is very beautiful in its unique expanses. Visitor's centers are clean and modern as well, with friendly staff and good information.
We've been to the Sheep Rock and Painted Hills and both are worth checking out. At Sheep Rock, we hiked the Blue Basin overlook trail and could see up close the blue-green cliffs. The mud puddles in the streams were especially brilliant. We also saw some fossils of extinct animals that were dug up, but covered and left in place along the trail. The visitor's center here is also filled with fossils and history of the area. At the Painted Hills, it's much less developed which helps accentuate the vibrant colors in the otherwise bleak landscape. I really liked the Painted Cove trail, which takes you around some multi-colored, cracked mud heaps. It's also a really easy, short hike.
Wow, is the only thing I can use to describe the view. Absolutely amazing. I went when it was ab it hazy and the view was still incredible. Everyone suggest you go towards sunset and for good reason. The lighting it amazing and you aren't getting beat down by the sun. I've been told the colors pop even more after a good rain which would make sense. PLEASE go check this location out if you haven't gone yet absolutely amazing.
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Adventure awaits on a very cool trail through time. There are bathroom facilities, but no running water, so pack water if your coming on this hike. The "Island through Time" trail, is to the right of parking lot, takes you over a mile through a winding canyon, gravel packed, with metal bridges and slight incline, loaded with dinosaur sites to get a glimpse of how they found dinosaur remains in natural habitat. They are easy to spot, they have signs and are encased in a plastic viewing frame. Once finished I rode around to the "Blue Basin Trail" winding around the backside for about 2 miles (no Dino sites from what I saw in 2 miles) It was hot and had no water so had to turn back early, but still a great ride into the wild unknown. Remember to pack water... and enjoy.
Pros: Wonderful place to explore the beauty of nature and discovery how the rock formations have changed over many years, excellent hiking w/ fantastic views Cons: Can be very hot at times, quite the drive if you live near the Portland, OR area My family and I love coming here when we camp out this way. The kids are always fascinated by the rock formations and learning about the geological history of the area. Great trails to hike on with fantastic views! We have always come here in the summer and it has been very hot, so make sure to bring lots of water, food, and gas as services are limited out this way.
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