Plan Your Visit

A woman holds up a paper map of Oregon to orient her location.
Since it is difficult to visit all three units in one day, it is best to plan out a route and overnight accommodations ahead of your trip. Visit our Maps page for more information.

NPS Photo

One Park, Three Units

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument consists of three units: Sheep Rock, Painted Hills, and Clarno. These three locations are dispersed through east-central Oregon. Because of the winding roads, visiting all three units is difficult to do in a single day, but is possible with an early start. The amount of time available and your route of travel taken are often the determining factors on which units you're able to visit.

Distances & Drive Time Between Units

Sheep Rock to Painted Hills - 45 miles (1 hour)
Painted Hills Unit to Clarno Unit - 75 miles (1.5 hours)
Clarno Unit to Sheep Rock Unit - 81 miles (2 hours)
 
Clarno is the best place for fossils in situ.

Clarno Unit

The Clarno Unit has the oldest exposed layers of the park, and the only unit with fossils along the trail. Remember, no collecting fossils.

Painted Hills Unit consists of fossilized soils from wet forests no longer found in eastern Oregon.

Painted Hills Unit

The colorful stripes and gentle ripples of the Painted Hills makes it one of the most popular destinations in the park.

Eroded claystone reveals the past with blue, tan, pink, and brown rock layers.

Sheep Rock Unit

Home to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and the Cant Ranch Museum, the Sheep Rock Unit also has many trails and scenic views.

Last updated: June 17, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

32651 Highway 19
Kimberly, OR 97848

Phone:

(541) 987-2333

Contact Us