<< Smith Rock and the Monkey Head

05/31/12 - The John Day Fossil Beds - Painted Hills

It was a long drive from Sisters, where we were staying, to the John Day Fossil Beds. We had passed the last town a while back and had left the river valley for the wild lands beyond. The turn off for the Painted Hills section of the park was a simple farm road, but there was no mistaking when we arrived at the painted hills. Their bright colors were unmistakable with bands of red, ochre, orange and even green. The landscape was surreal, like something one might find on Mars. We explored a bit, climbing for a better view of the strange forms. Then, we set out for an even more remote part of the Park, miles farther down the road.

Stripes of color

This bird sure sounded like a lark.

More painted hills

If you look carefully, you can see that these stones once formed a lava tube, since eroded and collapsed.

Dramatic lighting

A view from our climb

Another overview

More hills of color

The crenelations we climbed

Waves of grass

Mineral deposits

Keywords: oregon