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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

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Stop at the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and 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 restroom. 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 Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, the main parking area features an oasis of green grass and shade trees perfect for picnics, as well as restrooms and water. Only nature’s hand could paint such beauty — layers in a vivid palette of orange, red, black, green, and lavender. The deeply saturated hues are created by different layers of volcanic ash that have oxidized since being exposed to air by erosion. Explore the scenery on three short trails, Painted Hills Overlook and Trail, Leaf Hill Trail and Painted Cove Trail, the latter of which allows you to get very close on a boardwalk that circumnavigates a painted hill. Please do not walk on, or touch the hills as they will be permanently damaged. The Carroll Rim Trail is a 1.5-mile round trip that hugs the mountain-side, climbing 400-feet to a volcanic caprock overlook.

If you take a left on OR-19 you head towards the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument from this junction. Unending sunshine and warm temperatures make for great fruit growing and in Kimberly you will find orchards of apples, pears, plums, nectarines apricots and more. Take advantage of roadside stands or pick your own farms.



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