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What are the Painted Hills in Wheeler County, Oregon?


The Painted Hills is a special geologic site located about 10 miles northwest of Mitchell, 51 miles northeast of Prineville, 40 miles south of Fossil, and 49 miles west of Dayville. The easiest entrance is coming from US Highway 26 (Ochoco Highway) where travelers will see a sign directing them to the attraction.
This amazingly beautiful area is one of three units within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument; the other two units of the park are the Clarno Unit and the Sheep Rock Unit.

Located within the Sheep Rock Unit is the 11k square foot Thomas Condon Visitor Center where visitors can view murals, photo galleries, fossil displays, and a fishbowl paleontology laboratory. Visitors can also get some souvenirs at the Discover Your Northwest Park Store at the center.


If you visit the Painted Hills, get your cameras out and take some amazing pictures of the area. The earthy vibrant tones and hues of reds, yellows, blacks, and golds will bring a sense of awe and wonder at the natural beauty of the unique attraction.


There is a road leading up to a vista point (picture above) where some placards detail the surroundings. From there is a quarter-mile hiking trail through the barren rounded hills devoid of vegetation and full of dry colorful surfaces containing stratified rock and soil.

According to Travel Oregon, the Painted Hills are one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. The park is also part of the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway, which is a 286-mile journey beginning at the town of Biggs along the Columbia River, going through Fossil, the Painted Hills, and ending at Baker City near the Idaho border. The route explores the past and present of Oregon with featured attractions like the Sherman County Historical Museum and the former wool shipping center of the world in the 1800s and now a living ghost town, the town of Shaniko.

Originally published at NewsBreak

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