Blue Basin in the John Day Fossil Beds – Island of Time Trail


While staying at the Wilson Ranches B&B near Fossil, we spent a few days visiting the very interesting and wide-spread units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

On a somewhat stormy day, thankfully turning to mostly sun breaks, we journeyed to the Sheep Rock Unit. The Unit is subdivided into the Mascall Formation Overlook, Picture Gorge, the James Cant Historical Ranch, the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, Blue Basin, Cathedral Rock and the Foree District.

After visiting the Historical Ranch we headed toward Blue Basin. There were two hikes available from the upscale parking area, the Island in Time and the Blue Basin Overlook trails. The first one led to a huge natural amphitheater with high walls of bluish-green clay or tuff (compressed volcanic ash). The tuff had a corrugated look to it – – – very unique. And, of interest, the little stream leading from the amphitheater was literally green in color due to recent rains sloughing off the clay into the creek.

Upon return to the trailhead area we commenced the longer and more difficult climb to an overlook above the amphitheater (Blue Basin). This is probably the most spectacular trail in the National Monument, providing an excellent sense of the geological change the area has seen over the last 20 million years.

Both trails are well worth hiking. Together they are four miles in length with about 1,200 feet of elevation gain. The following are photos from the Island of Time Trail.

After a rain, that's the color of the stream in the Blue Basin

After a rain, that’s the color of the stream in the Blue Basin

A couple hiking into the Blue Basin

A couple hiking into the Blue Basin

Butter-and-eggs

Butter-and-eggs

Basalt capstone on top of Blue Basin cliffs

Basalt capstone on top of Blue Basin cliffs

Fluted structure of Blue Basin Tuff (compressed volcanic ash)

Fluted structure of Blue Basin Tuff (compressed volcanic ash)

Purple Sage

Purple Sage

Creek in Blue Basin

Creek in Blue Basin

Upper cliffs of Blue Basin

Upper cliffs of Blue Basin

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Categories: Central Oregon OutingsTags: , , , , ,

1 comment

  1. Reblogged this on Myaz_Nuggetz.

    Like

What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: