John Day Fossil Beds - Clarno Unit

EASY 1 reviews

John Day Fossil Beds - Clarno Unit is a 1.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Fossil, OR that offers scenic views. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking and nature trips.

1.8 miles 149 feet Out & Back

kid friendly


nature trips


Short (<2 miles) series of 3 connected trails at the foot of palisades. This walk combines educational displays about geological periods, discovery of fossils (twigs, leaves, trunks) in a field of boulders and a short climb to the base of the palisades to a natural arch and 2 fossilized tree trunks From NPS site. Arch Trail [1/2 mile round trip] This rough trail climbs steeply to the base of the Palisades. Two fossilized logs form a T about 40 feet above the trail. A delicate stone arch is found at the trails end. Trail of Fossils [1/4 mile loop] This rough trail climbs steeply through a boulder field. It is the best trail to see leaf and wood fossils exposed naturally in the monument. Look for the fossils on the fallen rocks along the trail. Geologic Time Trail [1/2 mile round trip] This trail starts at the picnic area and provides a fantastic view up toward the rocky spires of the Palisades. The trail connects to the Trail of Fossils and Arch Trail.

4 months ago

I loved the plaques that displayed a timeline of the area in millions of years. Nice parking lot with pit toilets. The arch trail is worth doing to see many fossils and get a good look at the area.