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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. How to get by car to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. How to book a room and its price in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

 

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

In north-central Oregon, near Dayville, Mitchell, and Clarno

 

The heavily eroded volcanic deposits of the scenic John Day River basin house a well-preserved fossil record of plants and animals that spans more than 40 of the 65 million years of the Cenozoic Era, or Age of Mammals. The monument is composed of three widely separated units: Sheep Rock, Painted Hills, and Clarno. The monument was authorized in 1974 and established in 1975.

 

WHAT TO SEE & DO

Auto touring, self-guided trail tours, visiting fossil museum at Sheep Rock Unit. Facilities: Paleontology Center with fossil museum, visitor center, Cant Ranch sheep-ranching cultural museum, theater. Bookstore. Exhibits at Painted Hills and Clarno, scenic roads, trails, picnic tables with fire grills. Programs & Events: Self-guided tours, ranger-led talks in fossil museum, ranger-led trail hikes. Campfire programs (Apr-Oct, monthly) in nearby state campgrounds, ranger-led auto tours and hikes (Apr.-Oct). Tips & Hints: Go to Clarno in morning, Sheep Rock in early afternoon, and Painted Hills in late afternoon for best light for scenic views and photography. Go mid-Apr.-mid-May for wildflowers at Painted Hills. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded Jan. and Feb.

 

FOOD & LODGING

Camping: None in park. Near Mitchell: Ochoco Divide (U.S. 26, 15 mi west of Mitchell, tel. 541/416-6500 or 877/444-6777; 28 sites; $10; vault toilets).  Hotels: None in park. In John Day: Best Western Inn (315 W. Main St., tel. 541/575-1700; 39 rooms; $72), Sunset Inn (390 W. Main St., tel. 541/575-1462 or 800/452-4899; 43 rooms; $60). X Restaurants: None in park. In John Day: Grub Steak Mining Company (149 E. Main St., tel. 541/575-1970; $4-$10), Outpost Pizza Pub & Grill (201 W. Main St., tel. 541/ 575-0250; $4-$10).

 

FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS

Free. No collecting or disturbing fossils or geologic or biological resources. No public telephones at sites. Park trails, overlooks, and grounds open sunrise-sunset. Paleontology Center, Cant Ranch, and visitor center at Sheep Rock open Mar.-Memorial Day and Labor Day-Thanksgiving, daily 9-5; Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 9-6; and Thanksgiving-Feb., weekdays 9-5.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Paleontology center with fossil museum, and Cant Ranch center, at Sheep Rock Unit are 9 mi west of Dayville, near intersection of U.S. 26 and Rte. 19. Painted Hills Unit is 10 mi west of Mitchell off U.S. 26. Clarno Unit is 18 mi west of Fossil on Rte. 218. Closest airports to Sheep Rock Unit: Redmond (80 mi), Portland (250 mi), and Boise, ID (240 mi).

 

CONTACTS

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (32651 Rte. 19, Kimberly, OR 97848-9701, tel. 541/987-2333, fax 541/987-2336,). Grant County Chamber of Commerce (281 W. Main St., John Day, OR 97845, tel. 541/575-0547 or 800/769-5664,). Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce (390 N.E. Fairview, Prineville, OR 97754, tel. 541/447-6304).

 

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. How to get by car to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. How to book a room and its price in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument