• Two

    John Day Fossil Beds

    National Monument Oregon

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  • Cattle on the road that leads to the Painted Hills

    Motorists stay alert for cattle on the Bridge Creek Road on the way into the Painted Hills unit. The road winds along a creek and has limited sight distance in places.

Traffic & Travel Tips

Map of local area.


Oregon is a full-service only state, meaning that you are not permitted to pump your own gasoline. Due to this requirement, it can be difficult to impossible to buy gasoline in the evening or at night in the communities surrounding the monument. Fill up with gasoline before leaving major roads or communities if you will be traveling late.

The fuel station in Mitchell is for cardlock holders only. For all practical purposes, for most visitors, there is no fuel available on Highway 26 between Prineville and Dayville at any time of day. It is inadvisable to travel this stretch of road with under half a tank of fuel.


Driving distances from Oregon cities to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center (located in the Sheep Rock Unit) and estimated travel times. Due to winding roads, travel times vary from those given by most mapping programs and GPS units.

  • Portland - 240 mi. (4 hours 30 minutes)
  • Bend - 122 mi. (2 hours 45 minutes)
  • Prineville - 80 mi. (2 hours)
  • Fossil - 63 mi. (1 hour 15 minutes)
  • John Day - 41 mi. (1 hour)
  • Mitchell - 35mi. (45 minutes)
  • Long Creek - 50 mi. (1 hour 15 minutes)
  • Burns - 110 mi. (2 hours 15 minutes)

Driving distances between units:

  • Sheep Rock to Painted Hills - 45 mi. (1 hour)
  • Painted Hills Unit to Clarno Unit - 75 mi. (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Clarno Unit to Sheep Rock Unit - 81 mi. (2 hours)

Road Conditions

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Did You Know?

Park ranger in the field

Paleobotanical field work helps scientists at the John Day Fossil Beds learn about ancient climates.