Heat and Sun
Heat exposure is far and away the most likely hazard that visitors should plan for. The summer months, particularly July and August, can be extremely hot with many days reaching over 100 degrees Farenheit and very little shade on the trails.
If you see a snake during your visit to the Monument, it will probably be a non-poisonous bull snake or garter snake. However, two species of rattlesnakes also make their home here, the northern pacific rattlesnake and the prairie rattlesnake.
Rattlesnakes will usually try to crawl away or remain hidden unless surprised. You can minimize the chances of being bitten by keeping your distance. It also helps to watch where you put hands and feet. Snakes will seek shady, cooler areas when the hot summer sun is out, so avoid putting hands and feet in locations where you can't see.
Adult ticks rest on grasses and low plants and attach themselves to people or animals that brush against the vegetation. Once they hitch a ride upon a passing animal or person they can spend up to 2 to 4 hours climbing the host to find a good site to attach. Make periodic inspections of your clothing and that of your companions. If a tick is imbedded in the skin follow standard first aid procedures for removal. If you develop a rash or any flu-like symptoms, visit a doctor.
Did You Know?
The Painted Hills at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument are made of heavily eroded volcanic ash layers.