"John Day Fossil Beds National Monument" Painted Hills State Park by niamey00

The Painted Hills Unit contains over 3,000 acres of stunning scenery unique even in the Pacific Northwest. The Painted Hills are located 9 miles northwest of Mitchell, and 75 miles east of Bend.

The yellows, golds, blacks, and reds of the Painted Hills are best seen in the late afternoon. Tones and hue may appear to change from one visit to another because of ever-changing light and moisture levels.

Volcanic ash accumulated here and formed these colorful deposits, the variations in color reflect changes in ancient soils and vegetation during a major global cooling event approximately 33 million years ago.

There are several short trails of between 1/4 and a mile and a half within the units boundaries, as well as a picnic area. Camping is prohibited; the nearest facilities are in Mitchel (population 160).

The Painted Hills are off the beaten track, but it is one of those special places Oregon has so many of.

  • Last visit to Painted Hills State Park: Jul 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“The question is not what you look at, but what you see. ---Henry David Thoreau”

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