kid friendly


nature trips

dogs on leash

Active Science & Spectacular Scenery Colorful rock formations at John Day Fossil Beds preserve a world class record of plant and animal evolution, changing climate, and past ecosystems that span over 40 million years. Exhibits and a working lab at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center as well as scenic drives and hikes at all three units allow visitors to explore the prehistoric past of Oregon and see science in action. Thomas Condon Paleontology Center (Sheep Rock unit) Daily hours: Through May 22, 2014: 10am - 5pm Friday, May 23rd - Saturday August 16: 9am - 5pm August 17, 2014 to May, 2015: 10am - 5pm There are no anticipated closure dates for the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center through the winter season other than Federal holidays from Veteran's Day in November through Presidents Day in February, and December 24th and 31st. Cant Ranch House (Sheep Rock unit) Winter/Spring hours are 9am - 4pm, Monday - Thursday. It is open some Fridays when staff is available. It is closed on weekends. The Cant House may have to close without notice if there are not enough staff available. It will be closed on Federal Holidays from Veteran's Day in November through Presidents Day in February, as well as December 24th and 31st. Summer hours remain 9am - 4pm Monday - Thursday and open most Fridays. The Cant House museum is also anticipated to be open 10am - 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays Memorial Day weekend - August 15, 2014.

Short trail. Really interesting area! Just a few feet into the trail and you step into a prehistoric jurassic time surrounded by fossils and turquoise rocks.

3 months ago

Very short trail along the south flank of Red Star Knoll.

trail running
4 months ago

Be aware that there are 2 trails. The longer one is a bit over 3 miles. The sign suggests 3 hours to do this, don't be fooled. At a gentle jogging pace with stops for photos this took 45 minutes. Not much wildlife but interesting colors. Collecting is not allowed. Easy to find and to park on a Saturday in November.

go for the view... simply amazing. not hard whatsoever - they scaled the climbing into moderate increases in elevation. just bring water and a good protein bar.

9 months ago

IF you're looking for a hike, the Carroll Rim Trail (also on AllTrails) is for you. The rest are several loops found on a gravel road. The scenery was breath taking and worth the driving to get to the unit. Highly Recommended.

My favorite part of the JODA park! You enter into a canyon of blues as well as observe fossils embedded in the rock! Only moderate because of the length and rocky terrain. A magnificent step into time.

10 months ago

Not a hike but a great place to appreciate Mother Earth and take in all the colors!

Not for someone looking for a long hike, but more for someone who wants a high dose of educational beauty you will see nowhere else. highly reccomended.

It is a long way to drive into the middle of nowhere to see these hills but it will be fast and furiously short. Incredible, surreal views. Worth the drive but not worth the hike if you have other better hikes to do.

This is a 6.4 mile loop.

If you're driving.

Otherwise, the Carroll Rim trail (which is also on AllTrails) is the only hike in the Painted Hills. There are several small loops you can do after driving to them, but if you're looking to hike, well, this isn't your place. The hills are cool enough, but after your 6.4mi graveled drive to varied .2mi "hikes," you might want to venture elsewhere for some exercise.

On the other hand, if you're fresh off the tourbus or looking to gas-guzzle your way through an interesting piece of geology, well... man: is this is the place for you! Bring your camera, all your cousins, an umbrella, and every digital camera your family owns, 'cause it's ON!