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NATURALLY


Horshoe Bend, John Day National Wild and Scenic River, Oregon, May 2012


JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT As long as you’re planning to visit the John Day Country,


don’t miss the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The National Monument consists of three units: Clarno, Painted Hills and Sheep Rock. The rock found on the National Monument preserves some of the richest fossil beds in the world, and span some 40 million years of the earth’s history during the age of the mammals. Heading south from the interesting town of Fossil, Oregon, a loop is possible that enables you to visit all three units of the National Monument, via State Routes 19, and 207, and US High- way 26 (http://www.nps.gov/joda/planyourvisit/directions.htm). If you are up for a bit of an adventure and you have a suitable


vehicle for driving on gravel roads (as well as an adequate map), you can alter your route to go directly from Highway 19 to the Painted Hills via historic Twickenham. Drive about 11.5 miles south of Fossil on Highway 19 and turn left on Rowe Creek Road soon after crossing Butte Creek Summit. After about 10 miles,


46 SPOKANE CDA • March • 2013


once you have passed through Twickenham and crossed the John Day River, take the Burnt Ranch Road south about six miles to the Painted Hills. From the Painted Hills it is only about seven more miles to Mitchell. I recommend that you allow at least two days to visit the


National Monument and surrounding area. Consider staying at The Oregon Hotel in Mitchell (http://www.theoregonhotel.net) during your visit to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Plan to spend time at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center located in the Sheep Rock Unit. When planning your trip, keep in mind that your schedule should allow for businesses in the area that generally close by 6 p.m. You may also enjoy visiting the Twickenham Grade School and, for a small fee, hunting for fossilized plant remains at the Wheeler High School fossil beds in Fossil.


FIELDS SPRING STATE PARK Also in what I think of as Canyon Country, but in an entirely


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