The simply spectacular Painted Hills!

Wheeler Travel Blog

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So most folks here are so used to my Europe blogs you lot probably  forgot I sightsee America as well. Truth be told, most of my American trips are weekend hikes or the odd business trip so there isn't much to blog about. But every now and then, when I do come across a winner, I make sure to tell the rest of the TB community.

Painted Hills is one such.

Located in the heart of the Wheeler County in literally the middle of OR, Painted Hills is one of 3-4 protected area of the John Day Fossils Bed National Monument. The easiest way to reach it (well, the only way!) is by car. It's about a 4 hour drive from Portland but totally worth it.

So what is it?

Taking a few lines from the Wikipedia page:

The Painted Hills are listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon.

Painted Hills is named after the colourful layers of its hills corresponding to various geological eras, formed when the area was an ancient river floodplain. The black soil is lignite that was vegetative matter that grew along the floodplain. The grey colouring is mudstone, siltstone, and shale. The red colouring is laterite soil that formed by floodplain deposits when the area was warm and humid. An abundance of fossil remains of early horses, camels, and rhinoceroses in the Painted Hills unit makes the area particularly important to vertebrate paleontologists.

As far as tourists go, there's  an information desk with lots of pamphlets and boards explaining the history of the place. it's about 1 mile away from the scenic viewpoints. There are a total of 4 trails, some on a boardwalk with specific instructions requesting visitors not to stray to protect the clay. The most common one is the 0.25 mile "scenic view point" hike, which also IMHO is the best as you get the best views of the hills. Expect not to spend more than 2 hours here. And in the summer, carry lots of water, sunscreen and a cap!

Whilst it would be a hard sell asking people to visit (I will admit the drive between here and Portland is quite boring!) with a lot of it being desert and fields of hay, the Painted Hills alone make the whole ordeal a must.

NickelP says:
LOL...I had Small Town stuck in my head for days.
Posted on: Sep 05, 2017
Vikram says:
LOL that's a good way to describe it!!
Posted on: Sep 05, 2017
NickelP says:
I went there in 2014. I loved it. I actually didn't mind the drive as I loved all the rock formations and the scenery. We stopped in Fossil for lunch and it felt like you were in a John Cougar Mellancamp video.
Posted on: Sep 05, 2017
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Entering the national park
Entering the national park
38,557 km (23,958 miles) traveled
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photo by: Vikram