Clarno Unit

The three units of John Day Fossil Beds includes Clarno Unit, Painted Hills Unit, and Sheep Rock Unit.

Visit the Clarno Palisades

The Clarno Unit is located 18 miles west of the town of Fossil, Oregon. The Palisades are the most prominent landform and are volcanic lahars, or mudflows, that formed 54-40 million years ago in a lush semi-tropical rainforest environment. Tiny four-toed horses, huge rhino-like brontotheres, crocodilians, and meat-eating creodonts that once roamed ancient jungles are now found in the rocks of the Clarno Unit, as well as an incredibly diverse range of plant life. Leaves, fruits, nuts, seeds, and petrified wood from 173 species of trees, vines, shrubs, and other plants have been found here thus far.

Glimpses of fossilized plants can be seen along the cliff walls.

Pardon Our Dust!

During the summer of 2017, construction of the new Clarno Ranger station will occur. Trails, picnic areas, and restroom facilities will still be open during this time.

Unit Features:

  • Trails
  • Picnic Area
  • Restroom Facilities
  • Drinking water typically available May - September
The modern vegetation is typical of Central Oregon's near-desert environment with a variety of grasses, sagebrush and juniper

Last updated: June 17, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

32651 Highway 19
Kimberly, OR 97848


(541) 987-2333

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