• Two

    John Day Fossil Beds

    National Monument Oregon

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  • Hwy. 26 open between Prineville and Mitchell, OR - Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    US26 mile posts 34.8 To 53 is now open to two way traffic with a 35 MPH speed limit. Motorists are required to use headlights in the affected area. Air quality in the area is poor. Follow link for more detailed information. More »


This area has never had a large human population. Most archaeological evidence points to this area being used seasonally, most likely when fish such as steelhead are running in the river. Those who did come to use these resources left their mark in Picture Gorge.

Ranchers started moving into the area in the mid-1800s. Many tried their fortunes, and suceeded (or failed) to varying levels. Until the middle of the twentieth century, sheep and cattle ranches were equally common, but as the market for wool has declined, cattle ranching has come to dominate in the area.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument doesn't just contain fossils, but also places where traces of the people who have lived here, past and present, remain.

Did You Know?

Image of three toed horses.

The first horses evolved in North America 50 million years ago, and at least 14 different genera have been found at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon.