Audio Description Page 4


Clarno Unit


Clarno Unit is 18 miles west of Fossil, Oregon, off OR 218. There is a picnic area and restrooms. This unit also has two significant fossil sites not open to the public: Clarno Nut Beds and Hancock Mammal Quarry (see other side of brochure).

Trails: Two trails with interpretive displays let you explore the towering Palisades. These craggy cliffs looming up to 150 feet over the valley were formed when a succession of ash-laden mudflows (lahars) swept through a forested landscape45 million years ago. A jumble of fossils are embedded in the rocks. The 0.25-mile Trail of the Fossils allows you to see actual fossils embedded in rock. The Clarno Arch Trail is a 0.5-mile climb to a natural bridge arch in The Palisades.

Hancock Field Station: Operated by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, this camp offers educational programs on geology, paleontology, and ecology. Please visit by appointment only. For additional information, visit


Description: Clarno Unit Map

The map is orientated with north pointing up. In the upper left corner of the map is a small inset map that shows the Clarno unit in its entirety. The unit is shaped like the lower right portion of a square cut on the diagonal. The diagonal border going from the bottom left to the upper right is shaped like a set of stairs. In the southwest section of the unit is the Hancock Field Station, marked as “private.”

Underneath it, is the detailed map of the southeast section of the unit, where there are amenities and trails. A more highly patterned section of the map in the southwest is colored with various shades of brown and beige. Its label identifies it as The Palisades.

Route 218 runs east-west on the bottom of the map. Below it and also running east-west is Pine Creek. In the left (west) portion of the map off of Route 218 is one of two parking areas. From here, there are two trails. The Clarno Arch Trail meanders north into the Palisades. The Trail of Fossils is to the east (right of the Clarno Arch Trail). It is a loop that takes you around and back to the parking lot. Intersecting off of the east side of the Trail of Fossils is the Geologic Time Trail. This trail travels east and parallels Route 218. It takes you to the Palisades Picnic Area where there is parking and restrooms. Drinking water is available May through September.

The map legend indicates that a little less than an inch equals 500 feet and about five-eighths of an inch equals 100 meters.

Description: Clarno Unit Photo

In the left foreground of this photo, four hikers walk toward us. They are in a line and the dirt path under foot is narrow. Around them are clumps of mostly beige grass. The height of the hikers is dwarfed by the extra tall Palisades mountain. This mountain looks like a wavy wall that surrounds them on their right and behind them. The rock has layers of color varying from beige to light brown to a faded red clay color. The rock is jagged and has many deep-cut horizontal crevices and some vertical ones.

Thomas Condon Paleontology Center

Text: Located in the Sheep Rock Unit, the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center is a National Park Service research facility dedicated to the study of the John Day Fossil Beds. It is also the park visitor center and fossil museum. Picture windows let you view the working laboratory and collections room with over 60,000.

In the fossil museum gallery, you can walk through nearly 50 million years of the Age of mammals. Hundreds of fossil specimens are displayed, along with eight large murals depicting plants and animals of the time. Each display explains the geology then and now.

Photo caption: Fossil museum gallery.

Photo description: On either side of a wide floor area are exhibit displays. The exhibit structures are rock-like. Embedded in, on and behind them are exhibit panels, flora and fauna displays and colorful wall-length murals. In the distance is a wide doorway where another exhibit area is located. The dominant colors of the mural in the front exhibit are blues and greens. In the back exhibit, the dominant mural colors are reds and browns.

James Cant Ranch

Text: The dry hills of eastern Oregon provided ideal grazing land for livestock, mainly sheep and cattle. James and Elizabeth Cant, Scottish immigrants, bought this land in the early 1900s. The Cant family operated the ranch until the National Park Service purchased it in the 1970s.

The 1917 ranch house has been renovated to house the park headquarters and a museum telling the human story of the area, from the American Indians up through the sheep and cattle ranchers. You can tour the original ranch buildings and see some of the original ranching equipment.

Photo caption: Historic James Cant Ranch house.

Photo description: At an angle the front and left sides of this white, two-story house are visible. The house sits on a green lawn. The front porch has a low brick wall on the sides and part of the front. Corner columns lead from the wall to the ceiling at the front of the porch. In the center area at the front of porch are two columns that frame the entrance. Above the porch roof is a landing surrounded by a wooden railing with posts. The house has hip-style roof, meaning that all four sides of the roof are inclined. A dormer is in the center of the front and left sides of the roof. Multiple windows are on both floors, including a three-window alcove with a small roof on the left side. A portion of a tree overhangs the front lawn and provides shade.

Last updated: June 30, 2018

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Mailing Address:

32651 Highway 19
Kimberly, OR 97848


(541) 987-2333

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