These Painted Hills In Oregon Look Just Like Mars & You Can Spot Fossils
This natural wonder is other-worldly!
The Painted Hills just outside of Portland, Oregon is considered one of the "Seven Wonders of Oregon" and it's no mystery why.
This geological hotspot is one of three units that make up The John Day Fossil Beds and is the most visited in the park. Every year, visitors comb the colorful terrain, hoping to find their own piece of history.
The origin of the park's name comes from the bright colors layered in the hill's soil. Consisting of hues of red, orange, tan, yellow, and gold, dirt has never looked so good!
With five different trails to choose from, visiting this incredible site can feel like you've left Earth and stepped onto a completely different planet. It's no surprise this colorful spectacle is so popular amongst nature lovers.
But this ancient jaw-dropper has more to offer than just beautiful views and sandy shores. These hills have five trails (they each have their own parking), which contain over 50 million years of history and fossil layers that have preserved the depictions of both plants and animals.
The thick blue and green layers of Turtle Cove Assemblage host a remarkable display of mammals, including three-toed horses, false sabre-toothed cats, multiple species of dogs, worm lizards, and the first dry land tortoises according to the park's website.
And discoveries are still being made! On September 3, 2021, Paleontologist Amy Atwater posted about a fieldwork find on social media, detailing the discovery of a peccary jaw fragment from approximately 7 million years ago!
My little peccary! Nothing beats the feeling of finding rad fossil mammals #fossilfriday https://twitter.com/JDFossilBedsNPS/status/1433850949018152965\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/eJch0B8uq0— Amy Atwater (@Amy Atwater) 1630708746
The Painted Hills
Address: 32651 Highway 19 Kimberly, OR
Why You Need To Go: You'll feel like on another planet while visiting this natural wonder.
Editor's note: It is prohibited to collect certain fossils on public land if you do not have proper permits and documentation. Always consult and comply with Federal & State Laws and Regulations.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.
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