The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is comprised of three separate units encompassing 14,000 acres. Now referred to as One of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, the Painted Hills Unit, 10 miles west of Mitchell, Oregon, includes the most colorful rock formations of the three units. Best seen at sunset, the Painted Hills offers spectacular views of exposed and eroded volcanic ash layers, revealing their delicately colored stratifications, making for dramatic photography any time. Add a little inclement weather, in the form of thunderstorms, to the mix and the scenes unfolding can be down right amazing, as the panoramic image "Rainbows End" clearly shows. The Sheep Rock Unit to the east includes the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, the principal source of information for the Monument and includes an excellent museum exhibition displaying many fossils recovered from the John Day Basin. Also of interest just up the road is the James Cant Historic Ranch and museum, which provides visitors with a history lesson of the first settlers to the area and how they survived in this inhospitable land. Also not to be missed while visiting the Sheeprock Unit is the Blue Basin area. One way to experience the fossil beds up close and personal is to take the Island In Time interpretive trail for an easy stroll or hike the Blue Basin Overlook trail for a more strenuous climb overlooking the Blue Basin with spectacular views of the valley's badlands.

PAINTED COVE TRAIL

PAINTED COVE TRAIL

RAINBOWS END

RAINBOWS END

TRACTOR RELIC

TRACTOR RELIC

PAINTED HILLS OVERLOOK

PAINTED HILLS OVERLOOK

RANCH T RELIC

RANCH T RELIC

ISLAND IN TIME

ISLAND IN TIME

GRASSY KNOLL

GRASSY KNOLL

BLUE BASIN VALLEY

BLUE BASIN VALLEY

HISTORIC CANT RANCH

HISTORIC CANT RANCH

SHEARING BARN

SHEARING BARN

PAINTED CONTOURS

PAINTED CONTOURS

BASIN RIM TRAIL

BASIN RIM TRAIL

PAINTED HILLS RESERVOIR

PAINTED HILLS RESERVOIR

TIN LIZZY

TIN LIZZY

PAINTED HILLS

PAINTED HILLS

HENRY THE BEAR

HENRY THE BEAR

MITCHELL MOUNTAINS

MITCHELL MOUNTAINS

LITTLE PINE CAFE

LITTLE PINE CAFE

BLUE BASIN

BLUE BASIN

RED HILL

RED HILL