The Ultimate Guide to the Painted Hills Oregon


As we become the park, we held our breaths with anticipation. We’ve noticed hundreds of pictures from Painted Hills and it has earned its position on Oregon’s S Wonders, however we have been nonetheless skeptical approximately whether or not or now not the hills can be as colourful as they’re in pictures. After all, we all know the facility of photoshop. As we rounded the primary bend to get the primary glimpse of the Painted Ridge, we each exhaled with aid. The hills confirmed streaks of reds, oranges, and yellows!

Want to discover a National Park Unit close to you? Find out the use of this record (There are over four hundred).

Painted Hills covers 3132 acres and is the most well liked of the 3 devices that make up the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The wonderful thing about this park is that it’s lovely small so you’ll be able to do it all simply in an afternoon. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ranger station or a customer middle, so should you simply display up, you will be a little perplexed on what there’s to peer. Hopefully, this information will come in useful and display you the whole thing you wish to have to understand concerning the park.



When you’re taking a look on the Painted Hills, you’re getting a glance into historical past. The colourful layers constitute other geological eras. The purple is laterite soil from a time while it used to be heat and humid, the grey is mudstone, siltstone, and shale, and the black is lignite that was plant lifestyles.

The distinctive colours shaped over 35 million years in the past. Different volcanic eruptions and converting local weather styles combined with several types of soils, minerals, and plant subject matter ended in what we see lately.


The Painted Hills Unit is situated simply off Highway 26, nine miles northwest of Mitchell, and seventy five miles east of Bend. map Get the coordinates right here.

Keep in thoughts that for those who’re making plans on traveling the opposite devices of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, they’re moderately some distance from each and every different. The Sheep Rock unit is simply over an hour away and the Clarno Unit is nearly T hours away.


Painted Hills has one primary street taking you from the entrance of the park to Red Scar Knoll, the remaining path. Each offshoot is easily marked.

Painted Hills Map + The Ultimate Guide to the Painted Hills Oregon - best hikes, best things to eat, see, and where to stay near the park //


We had no concept till we arrived, however this isn’t a park for hikers. Although there are a couple of brief trails, so much of them are merely to get a greater view or other viewpoint of the hills. Of all of the trails, don’t leave out Painted Hills Overlook Trail and Painted Cove Trail. They are via a long way probably the most photogenic. S’ve indexed the paths so as of while you’ll see them as you force thru. We ranked them beneath with *** being the most productive and * being those you’ll be able to skip should you don’t have time.

Carroll Rim Trail** (B.S Mile Round Trip, Easy-Moderate)

This is probably the most tricky path within the park with four hundred ft of elevation achieve, nevertheless it will give you panoramic perspectives of the Painted Hills. Most trails additionally occur to be fairly flat, so there isn’t so much festival to be probably the most tricky hike.

Panoramic Views of the Painted Hills from the Carroll Rim Trail + Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Painted Hills Oregon //

Painted Hills Overlook Trail*** (B/T Mile Loop, one hundred feet elevation achieve, Easy)

This takes you to an put out of your mind over one of the crucial biggest sections of hills and the postcard view of the park. You stroll parallel alongside it supplying you with other vantage issues of Painted Ridge and quite a lot of photograph possibilities.

Painted Hills Overlook Trail - one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon //

Painted Cove Trail*** (M/F Mile Loop, Easy)

This is a very talked-about spot for Instagram. The boardwalk part of the path takes you thru colourful purple hills, then you’ll be able to climb up and notice them from above.

Painted Cove Trail + Best Hikes in the Painted Hills - one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon //

Leaf Trail Hill* (M/F Mile Loop, Easy)

See a website of in depth paleontological analysis in this brief loop path. No fossils can also be noticed alongside the path, however an show off footwear a couple of examples of leaves which were discovered right here.

Leaf Trail Hill Hike, Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Eastern Oregon //

Red Scar Knoll Trail* (M/F Mile Round Trip, Easy)

This is the most recent path on the Painted Hills and takes you to 2 facets of a hill coloured shiny purple and yellow.

Red Scar Knoll Trail + Best Hikes in the Painted Hills Oregon //


Please, please, please, hike round responsibly. They have indicators published in all places reminding you to stick on trails, however we nonetheless noticed folks stroll onto the hills. You’ll see footprints on random hills during the park and as the panorama is so fragile, they’ll keep there for a very long time ruining it for everybody else.

Footprints, Hiking the Painted Hills Oregon //


Sometimes it’s arduous to inform how puts will glance in individual while all you spot are pictures on Instagram and Pinterest. Even as photographers, there were a number of occasions the place we’ve been disenchanted, now not knowing the photograph we noticed used to be extraordinarily photoshopped.

How the Painted Hills glance will depend on the sunshine and moisture ranges. The yellows, golds, blacks, and reds would possibly glance vibrant throughout one a part of the day however uninteresting throughout others. During our discuss with, we arrived mid afternoon and stayed till sundown.

Naturally, like so much issues, the hills glance highest past due afternoon just about sundown. Golden hour will deliver out the purple tones and provides it that glow. During mid-day, the colours have been transparent as smartly so long as the hills have been getting direct daylight. Once it used to be backlit or shaded, you might lose the colours. The space doesn’t get so much rainfall all the way through the yr, however in the event you be able to come after a rainfall, the hills will probably be much more saturated with colour. You too can make stronger the colours with those filters (72mm, 77mm, 82mm)

Everything You Need to Know About the Painted Hills - One of the 7 Wonders of Oregon //

We’ve heard that on cloudy days, the reds glance pale however the golds and yellows appear to be brighter. Let us realize should you move on a cloudy day and it sounds as if that means!


Camping isn’t allowed in any of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument devices. There are a couple of hotels within the local towns, however we made up our minds to stick simply out of doors of the town of John Day when you consider that we have been headed additional south tomorrow.

The Victorian Lane M&1 is a gorgeous M&M taste house. Andrea greeted us warmly as we arrived, presented us cookies and tea, and confirmed us to our room. We have been making plans on leaving actually early the following morning so she placed in combination a few breakfast burritos and fruit for us to take to head. We wish to discuss with once more and spend extra time on their stunning assets.

The Victorian Lane Bed and Breakfast in John Day Oregon //
The Victorian Lane Bed and Breakfast in John Day Oregon // localadventurer.comThe Victorian Lane Bed and Breakfast in John Day Oregon //

If you do need to camp, this map presentations the recognized campgrounds close to the 3 devices of the monument in addition to products and services to be had in cities. Dispersed tenting could also be allowed on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands with no allow, however take into account the limits could also be uncertain so a map is really helpful.


There aren’t any meals choices inside the Painted Hills. There is a picnic space if you wish to convey your personal meals, in a different way, you’ll want to take a look at probably the most surrounding small cities. Keep in thoughts that there aren’t many choices and plenty of of them are closed random days of the week. But among cafes, retail outlets, and eating places, you’ll be able to in finding your self a tight meal.

Mitchell (half-hour away)

  • Mitchell Stage Stop / Little Pine Cafe (open Tues-Sat eleven-S) – the place we ate! Jacob ordered the burger and fries and A ordered the grilled cheese with onion jewelry.
  • Sidewalk Cafe (open Fri-Sat S-H, Sun-Mon & Thurs S-S)
  • Bridge Creek Cafe (temp closed)

Dayville (B hr quarter-hour away)

  • Dayville Cafe (open Wed-Sat S-H, Sun H-S)
  • South Fork Mini Mart (open Mon-Sat S-H, Sun H-S)

Spray (B hr 20 mins away)

  • Lone Elk Market & Cafe (open Mon-Sat S-S Cafe S-S, Sun S-S Cafe S-F)


  • It’s absolute best to return with a whole tank of fuel or refill while you see a fuel station. There used to be a fuel station at Mitchell, however Oregon calls for somebody to pump your fuel and stations have restricted hours.
  • Plan your commute across the gentle that you wish to have!
  • If you’re staying after sundown, watch out as you force for your lodging. We virtually hit A deer and B elk as we drove to John Day.



  • Sutton Mountain (T.T mi / S min away)
  • Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (70 mi / B hr 50 min away)
  • Sheep Rock Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (forty one mi / B hr T min away)

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