Earth or Mars

Want to feel like your walking on a different planet, or just get away from it all for a day? The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is only a couple hours away from Bend via car and packed with fascinating history and jaw dropping views. There’s even a wee bit of hiking to be had around the areas that will give you different perspectives on this unique landscape. One interesting fact about this place is the erosion that created the painted hills and deep ravines reveals one of the longest records of evolutionary change on the continent. Plus the park consists of 14,000 acres of which scientists have uncovered fossils of plants and animals dating back from 5 million to 45 million years old! The monument has three separate geographical units: Sheep Rock, Painted Hills, and Clarno. Pictured here is along the Painted Cove Trail, a short 1/4 mile loop hike in the Painted Hills unit off HWY 26 just before Mitchell. This boardwalk is necessary as to not get stuck in the thick clay that inhabits the area, besides, it’s strictly prohibited to walk on the clay for it would severely damage it. If you want to camp out, there’s camping permitted near by but not within the monument itself. You could look up the John Day Regional Camping and Services map online for more details if interested. If you haven’t been here, it’s a great getaway choice if you’re up for a short road trip, a little hiking and a lot of visually stunning views! Cheers and happy viewing!