News Release

Reopening of Outdoor Spaces at John Day Fossil Beds

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Date: May 14, 2020
Contact: Patrick Gamman, 541-987-2333

Kimberly, Oregon – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is increasing recreational access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning May 15, 2020, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument will reopen access to:  

Clarno Unit: Trail of Fossils, Clarno Arch trail, Geologic Time trail, and all picnic areas.
Painted Hills Unit: Painted Hills Overlook trail, Carrol Rim trail, Painted Cove trail, Leaf Hill trail, Red Scar Knoll trail, and all picnic area. 
Sheep Rock Unit: Island in Time trail, Blue Basin Overlook trail, Flood of Fire trail, Story in Stone trail, Cant Ranch trails, Mascall Overlook and all picnic areas. 

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain temporarily closed:
•  Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center
•  Painted Hills Contact station

Superintendent Patrick Gamman stated that, “As we reopen the monument’s outdoor spaces, join us in the new campaign #RecreateResponsibly by continuing to keep social distancing, know before you go, and pack it in and pack it out. Have a safe and enjoyable visit to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.”

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.   

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. There will not be potable water so please come prepared.  When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, and avoid high-risk outdoor activities. 

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.   

We have amazing virtual tours of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, all of the time, so for people who are still home schooling or not traveling at this time check out  

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website; and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

Last updated: July 16, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

32651 Highway 19
Kimberly, OR 97848


(541) 987-2333

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