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Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

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At the Clarno Unit you will discover the Palisades. The 150-foot craggy pinnacles were formed about 45 million years ago by a series of ash-laden mudflows that encased the remains of a semitropical forest. There is no visitor center here, but you will find information panels, a shaded picnic area, water fountain and facilities. From the parking lot — literally walk back in time on the Geologic Time Trail, (1/2-mile round trip) each foot of trail representing 37,000 years of history described on interpretive panels. At the end of this trail you will find two other short trails. The Trail of Fossils highlights actual fossils embedded in rock — and you get closer to the imposing Palisades. On the Clarno Arch Trail, petrified logs are visible in the cliff face. Note, if you don’t want to walk here, there is a small parking area to access this area before you get to the main parking lot.


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