The Painted Hills of the John Day Fossil Beds

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Painted Hills

While staying in Central Oregon, I decided to return to the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

A few years ago I visited the area after a long period of rain. The sun came out in the afternoon providing for exceptional photography opportunities.

This was due to the compressed volcanic ash absorbing the rainwater, bringing out the vivid yellows, golds, blacks, and reds of the soil.

I wasn’t so lucky on this visit. It hadn’t rained for days and the sun was beating down on the hills. I could have used “saturation” on the photos, but that doesn’t seem right.

Still, it’s unique and beautiful area. The colors of the Painted Hills are unmatched in my travels.

Painted Hills

Painted Hills area

Hoodoo north of Painted Hills

Painted Hills

Wide-angle of the Painted Hills

Painted Hills




Categories: Central Oregon Outings


  1. WOW, my kind of country.

  2. Beautiful photos! I can’t believe I’ve never been to the Painted Hills. I’ve lived in Oregon all my life and spend a fair amount of time playing outdoors. I’m adding to my to do list.

    • Thanks for the kind words. The Painted Hills should be on everyone’s bucket list who lives in, or visits, the Pacific Northwest. Actually, that’s true for all the sites in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

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