John Day Fossil Beds National Monument - Painted Hills Unit

US Hwy.26, 9 miles NW of Mitchell, OR


Painted Hills

Photo taken by Richard Doody in June 2011



The Painted Hills are distinguished by varied stripes of red, tan, orange, and black, this area preserves a sequence of past climate change. Red bands of the Painted Hills were once tropical soils, while lighter colored bands are soils that developed at times of lower temperatures and less precipitation. The Painted Hills also contain a diverse assemblage of leaf fossils aging 39-30 million years old called the Bridge Creek Flora, and a small outcropping of rock containing animal fossils from 30-27 million years ago.

Update Log 

  • January 26, 2019: New photos from Richard Doody
  • January 26, 2019: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody