What’s the best route to see the John Day Fossil Beds?
You can make a great loop between Portland and John Day. The most exciting route will be to take Highway 26 all the way. It will take you over Mt Hood into central Oregon and through The Painted Hills. Total driving time is about 5 hours.
For a return trip, I recommend heading north through The John Day Fossil Beds on OR 19 to Arlington. There you will join Interstate 84 and make the riveting drive along the Columbia River and through the Columbia River Gorge. Driving time is about the same.
I think this is the most scenic tour that will offer up several slices of Oregon for you, though there are other variations. You will find lots of small towns and amenities along the way, which you can check out via traveloregon.com. You can also request printed travel guides.
Enjoy your trip!
Have something to add What’s Your Answer?
Share your thoughts Answers From Other People
Gena Albert says…
My family only has 4 nights in Oregon. We are driving from San Francisco and flying out of Portland. What can we see in those few days. We really want to visit Crater Lake , Mt Hood, Painted Hills, Fort Clatsop. Help!
Other questions about Eastern Oregon
- What are the best hikes in the Eagle Cap Wilderness? Are they crowded?
- My friend and I are planning a motorcycle ride over to the Oregon Coast from Northern Idaho near the end of July. Any roads or towns you would recommend hitting? We would like to spend some time near the ocean and find some good local brews.
- What to visit in Eastern Oregon for 2 days?
About Ask Oregon Expert Lynne Curry
I'm a city lover, but I moved to one of the most remote places in Oregon to live at the edge of the wilderness in a community of ranchers, artists, and independent types like me. Since I'm a food writer, I blog about eating and the rural lifestyle. My biggest project to date is the cookbook, Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut(Running Press, 2012).