Geologic Time Trail and Trail of Fossils

EASY 11 reviews

Geologic Time Trail and Trail of Fossils is a 1.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Fossil, Oregon that offers scenic views. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking and nature trips. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

1.3 miles
249 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly


nature trips


Short series of 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.

27 days ago

My favorite part about this hike is the seclusion. To get here you take a scenic route, no one in sight. Had the entire park to myself. Surrounded by golden hills. And the palisades are really spectacular.

10 months ago

Every step you take towards the bathroom represents 37,000 years and adds up to 50 million. That may lead to some pretty profound thoughts on the toilet.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Easy, short trail that takes you up close to some rocks.

Monday, June 12, 2017

This was a cool place to stop and check out, stretch our legs on the way home from the Painted Hills & Sheep Rock. It is the least cool of the 3 units in the John Day Fossil Bed area but still neat to see and check out!

Monday, June 06, 2016

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.

4 months ago

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Monday, September 14, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015