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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

446 Reviews
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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

446 Reviews
Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. Please choose a different date.
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SueG wrote a review Oct 2020
Portland, Oregon3 contributions1 helpful vote
Absolutely gorgeous. The 3 areas are spread out so allow 1-2 hours between the 3 sites plus visiting time (I did one site each day) but do them all as they are all different. Drive between towns of Fossil and John Day particularly scenic. Museum was only partly open which was a shame as I've heard the fossil displays are excellent. Very good displays on how fossils are found and processed in open lobby area. Nice hikes at each site. You won't see fossils except in the museum but the rock strata in which scientist find them are beautiful, rich greens, reds and yellows. Best hotels and restaurants in John Day. Smaller enterprises closed when I was there, probably due to COVID. No services or gas stations in some areas so keep your tank filled.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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Crazycruiser59 wrote a review Oct 2020
Middleton, Idaho286 contributions63 helpful votes
The views of this place are scenic. It is amazing to imagine what roamed here many years ago and what the terrain may have looked like. We went to the old ranch and despite it being closed it was nice to read about the history and what each piece of equipment/buildings were used. We went as a day trip from Idaho. It was about 3 1/2 hours but a nice drive.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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PandaHouston wrote a review Sep 2020
Houston, Texas5,450 contributions949 helpful votes
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We drove from Boise to Bend on Wednesday 9/9 and made a stop first at the Sheep Rock Unit of John Day Fossil Beds. Afterwards, we made a stop at Painted Hills which is also part of John Day Fossil Beds but the two are 50 minutes apart. At the Sheep Rock Unit, we did 2 hikes. First, we did the easy .5 mile round trip James Cant Ranch Historic District. This was more of a nature walk. We spent around 20 minutes here. Next, we drove to Blue Basin and did the 1.3 mile round trip Island in Time Trail in Blue Basin. I really enjoyed this hike. The scenery was amazing and the trail was nicely maintained with a few bridges. It took us 45 minutes to do this trail. What I found interesting was that in the Sheep Rock Unit, the road was paved and easy to drive but when you got to Painted Hills, it was a dirt gravel road even though Painted Hills had more visitors. We enjoyed Painted Hills as well and it is probably more frequented because it is closer to Bend. You can see my separate review for Painted Hills.
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Date of experience: September 2020
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JMB1126 wrote a review Sep 2020
58 contributions16 helpful votes
This area was one of the main trio draws for my husband, and so we had high expectations. Unfortunately, while the area was pretty, we felt like there was really just one first class view. The other nice view had a line of folks taking Instagram style photos.
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Date of experience: September 2020
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Brittany_11_10 wrote a review Sep 2020
Los Angeles, California1,293 contributions604 helpful votes
John Day Fossil Beds is comprised of three units, and in my opinion, the best is the Painted Hills (see reviews under Painted Hills for more info). That said, having not gone to Clarno, I can't comment on that one. The Sheep Rock Unit is nice, but maybe only worth checking out if you're going to the visitor center (as they are right across the highway from one another). The visitor center is worth going to, I think, as it has some helpful info about the formations of the various units, past and current fossil studies, and more. We went the last Sunday in August and the visitor center was open but, due to Covid-19, only 10 people are allowed in at a time. (We waited only a couple minutes for people to exit so that we could enter, so not a biggie).
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Date of experience: August 2020
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