John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
A visit to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is like taking a journey into ancient Oregon. Whether you tour the museum at Sheep Rock, hike a trail at the Painted Hills, or picnic at Clarno, Oregon's exciting past will be revealed. Within the heavily eroded volcanic deposits of the scenic John Day River basin is a well-preserved fossil record of plants and animals. This remarkably complete record, spanning more than 40 of the 65 million years of the Cenozoic Era (the "Age of Mammals and Flowering Plants") is world-renowned. Authorized October 26, 1974, and established in 1975, this 14,000 acre park is divided into three widely separated units; the Sheep Rock Unit, Painted Hills Unit, and Clarno Unit. There are many natural areas both inside and outside the monument boundaries that offer beautiful scenery and places to hike, drive or bicycle.
Seasonality / Weather
Park trails, overlooks, and picnic areas are open seven days a week during daylight hours. The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center is open daily, 8:30-4:30.
The Visitor Center at the Sheep Rock Unit is located on Highway 19 between the towns of Dayville and Kimberly, 2 miles from the junction of Highway 26 and Highway 19.
The Painted Hills Unit is located 9 miles northwest of of the town of Mitchell, just off Highway 26. There is no visitor center at this unit.
The Clarno Unit is located 20 miles west of the town of Fossil. along Highway 218. There is no visitor center at this unit.