Painted Hills

On our drive home from Reno a few weeks ago, Captain Cavedweller and I made a side trip so we could see the Painted Hills in Central Oregon.

We’d driven past them before, but we hadn’t taken time to stop and really take some photos. I thought I’d share some of them with you today.

The Painted Hills are one one of three units that comprise the John Day Fossil Beds. I did a post a few years ago about the John Day Fossil Beds here.

Maintained by the National Park Service, there are three units that make up the John Day Fossil Beds: Clarno, Painted Hills and Sheep Rock.

In the Sheep Rock Unit you’ll not only find great places to hike on trails and take in unbelievable views, you’ll also discover the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and The James Cant Ranch.

Many people don’t know that most of Oregon was once like a tropical rain forest. The Paleontology Center takes visitors through 40 million years of history through a collection of fossil specimens and large murals that are incredibly informative and interesting.

The Sheep Rock Unit isn’t too far from the Painted Hills unit.

1 PH a

The Painted Hills are a few miles off the highway, but easy to get to.

1 PH b


1 rock crib

I love old rock cribs!

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Aren’t the colors amazing?


1 PH f

This one almost makes me think of ancient fingers or toes spread out. (I know I’m weird!)

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I wonder what the pioneers who traveled through this area thought of the colored hills.

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I bet they found them just as fascinating as we do today.


1 PH c

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Painted Hills, make the trip and the time. It’s worth it!

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