John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon

John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon

"one of our country’s greatest national monuments"

If you travel to northeast Oregon, you will find one of our country’s greatest national monuments, the John Day Fossil Beds.  Comprised of three large sites full of priceless geological finds, the Fossil Beds tell the tale of our long history.  The three units are wide spread and made up of 14,000 acres in the John Day River Basin.

Sheep Rock Unit
Located between Dayville and Kimberly, the Sheep Rock Unit boasts several hiking trails, two picnic areas, wayside exhibits and two interpretive centers.  The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center has exhibits and several presentations on fossils, geology and paleontology.  Sheep Rock is home to the Fossil Beds headquarters, the Cant Ranch Museum, where visitors can see exhibits detailing the human history of the area.

Painted Hills Unit
Painted Hills is near the town of Mitchell and features some of the most amazing scenery in the Pacific Northwest.  While there is no visitor center here, more than 3,000 acres of breathtaking views make the trip well worthwhile.

Clarno Unit
Near Fossil, OR, the Clarno unit has hiking trails, exhibits and a picnic area.  Visitors like to come see the stunning outline of the cliffs of the Palisades, a formation that contains a wealth of fossil history dating back to a time when the terrain was near-tropical and fantastical animals roamed the earth.

If you are traveling through Oregon or looking for a new place to visit, the John Day Fossil Beds would make a fantastic scenic stop on a road trip, and provide a great educational experience through the preserved history found in the fossils.