Road Trip: John Day Fossil Beds Country

The first time I saw the Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon, I was in a hurry. My group had stopped at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, which acts as the interpretive center for the hills and the rest of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and learned about its stunning history — 55 million… More
: Cathedral Rock and John Day River by Joni Kabana

John Day River Territory

Take a journey through time in the John Day River Territory

The mighty waters of the wild and scenic John Day River define this region; sweeping past thousands of years of history just waiting to be discovered. Out here, cowboys and Native Americans aren’t just characters in old western movies, they’re a part of everyday life. Pull up a stool at a local watering hole and you’re bound to leave with a few good stories and new friends. Not to mention memories of epic landscapes, untamed waterways, ancient fossils, and the warm hospitality of this undiscovered gem. 

Trip Ideas

Average Weather

spring

HIGH

58 °F
14 °C

LOW

30 °F
-1 °C

RAIN

.57"

SNOW

.3"

summer

HIGH

85 °F
29 °C

LOW

48 °F
9 °C

RAIN

.26"

SNOW

.0"

fall

HIGH

64 °F
18 °C

LOW

35 °F
2 °C

RAIN

.55"

SNOW

.24"

winter

HIGH

39 °F
4 °C

LOW

22 °F
-6 °C

RAIN

4.8"

SNOW

1.2"

Outdoor Adventures in the John Day River Territory

Why You’ll Love the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway
Nature Lover’s Guide to the John Day River Territory
Spring Biking in Eastern Oregon
Digging Into Oregon’s Past
Eastern Oregon on Two Wheels
Three Days in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness
Canyon City, Eastern Oregon
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John Day River Territory Communities

Moro
Arlington
Condon
Fossil
Mitchell
Spray
John Day
Prairie City

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John Day River Territory

Map

Ask Oregon

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…

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