Painted Hills Oregon Camping – Everything Know About it

In the high desert locale of focal Oregon lies an everlasting and surprising scene. Dry rural terrains, parched slopes, and riverbeds overwhelm the region, a topographical beautiful land in the Pacific Northwest.

The star fascination is the Painted Hills, a district of antiquated, beautiful slopes secured in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Flaunting brilliant shadings and ravishing examples, these slopes genuinely appear as though they were hand-painted by the unstoppable force of life herself.

Visiting these slopes should be possible in a day, however, transforming this excursion into an overnight setting up camp experience is simple and great. This is what to know and where to camp around Oregon’s Painted Hills.

The Artistry of Oregon’s Painted Hills

The Painted Hills are one of three units that contain the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and historians are finding the history from around 35 million years prior. Ages of environmental change and a progression of volcanic ejections changed the scene. It used to be a waterway flood plain, for instance. Later on, the region turned into rich tropical timberland and home to various ancient creatures.

Volcanic debris-covered layers of decayed vegetation, which was then bested by some more natural matter. Over the long haul, this all made a large number of land layers, all flaunting their own unmistakable tones, from red and orange to dark and tan, and surprisingly a trace of purple. Fossils of various old creatures and plants are discovered all over the space, including the Painted Hills, thus the”fossil beds” in the public landmark’s name.

While the Painted Hills is a certain feature of the public landmark, visiting the other two units (the Clarno and Sheep Rock units) is firmly suggested also. Together, they’ll give you a more profound knowledge of the colossal land and paleontological worth of this phenomenal region.

All units have short climbing trails, permitting you to do some more top to bottom investigations. None of them, notwithstanding, are especially huge. You just need a couple of hours in every unit to see everything you can see, and do everything you can do. Consolidated, they make for a fun and laidback end-of-the-week setting up camp excursion in Central Oregon.

Visiting the Painted Hills Oregon

A promenade takes guests through the painted slopes in the john day fossil beds public landmark.

The unit, found only north of Mitchell, offers various solaces for guests, including data boards and bathrooms. Drinking water is accessible from May into September. In case you’re searching for something beyond the slopes on your outing, April and May are the greatest months to see wildflower blossoms.

When visiting the Painted Hills unit, there are a couple of ways you can walk and view their highness. A modest bunch of short paths wind their direction through and along the Painted Hills, each offering an alternate point of view of these bright slopes. The most famous path is the Painted Hills Overlook Trail, at 0.8 miles roundtrip and beginning at the stopping region.

Moreover, the 0.4-mile Painted Cove Trail additionally makes for a phenomenal climb, a part of which is on a raised footpath through the slopes. The longest climb in the Painted Hills Unit is the Carroll Rim Trail, a roundtrip of 2.6 miles to a stunning perspective.

Where to Camp Near the Painted Hills

Regardless of whether you’re depleted from investigating every last trace of these old relics, or you simply need to see the absolute best dim sky stargazing in Oregon, setting up camp around the Painted Hills is one of the most incredible approaches to encounter them. Here is a couple of our campers’ #1 spots close to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

1. Red Hill Dispersed Camping

“It’s Bureau of Land Management land, which implies all setting up camp is free. We set up camp right on the banks of the John Day River and it was incredibly lovely. The water was the ideal temperature for swimming and perfectly clear. There were two or three hundred yards from us on one or the other side, so not very swarmed.” – The Dyrt camper Sarah W.

2. Enormous Bend Campground

“Fundamental dry camp with a couple of genuine spots. Directly on the stream. There is a vault (pit) latrine on the slope. Super-blistering in the mid-year. My better half and I love to move away here each late spring, no phone administration for a significant distance, not many others. Extraordinary to simply camp out then fish, swim, read, or rest the entire day.” – The Dyrt camper Rachel R.

3. Wheeler County Fairgrounds RV Park

“Fossil is a marvelous little town close to the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds. The Wheeler County Fairgrounds RV Park is really spotless, with full hookups and good size locales. There’s an awesome little path right close by that takes you up to the city water tank and 360 perspectives on the town and region. Fossil additionally has the best supermarket in the space so stock up on new products.” – The Dyrt camper Jill R.

Getting to The Painted Hills

The Painted Hills lie 9 miles north of Mitchell, Oregon in Wheeler County.

Going from Portland in the west, you arrive by means of the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway, one of the numerous beautiful drives in Oregon. You’ll pass through Shaniko, Oregon’s best-saved apparition town, and landscape overwhelmed by dry rural grounds, parched slopes, and ravines.

From Bend, head upper east toward Prineville, where you go right onto Highway 26 to Mitchell. It’s a 2-hour excursion from Bend to the Painted Hills. You can make a circle through the space, connecting each of the three units together, by joining Highway 26 with Highway 19 and 218, the last two of which are important for the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.

Best Time to Visit the Painted Hills

The Painted Hills Unit and the two different units of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument are open the entire year. You can visit them during sunshine hours. From spring to fall, consumable water is accessible in cookout regions. Note that summers can get pretty warm, so try to wear a cap, put on sunscreen, and drink a lot of water while investigating the region.

The Painted Hills are apparently at their generally lovely after a downpour shower. Water streaming down escalates the shadings, featuring the lively reds and yellows. Fall is consequently a fun chance to visit the Painted Hills.

In case you’re sufficiently fortunate to be there when it quits coming down and the sky clears not long before nightfall, the dusks can be mind-blowing. In spring, then again, purple and yellow wildflowers run along the foundation of the slopes, making a mysterious scene that draws in an assortment of scene specialists, photographic artists, and painters the same.

Tips for Visiting The Painted Hills

  • Watch out for the climate as your travel is close, it will give you a superior thought of the kind of apparel you need to pack.
  • At the point when you are in the Painted Hills, the offices and administrations are exceptionally restricted, so ensure you have snacks and a lot of extra water with you.
  • The main bathroom offices are situated at the Painted Hills disregard trailhead; there is a severe principle about not leaving the path, so ensure you utilize these.
  • The primary street that goes through the unit is rock, so don’t anticipate that your car should confess all without a scratch on it. They are truly kept up with, yet absolutely extremely dusty.
  • The entire of the Painted Hills are secured, in this manner harming it in any capacity might be viewed as a lawful offense. Make certain to pack out any waste that you get and don’t eliminate anything you find in the recreation center. Once again—DON’T stray from the path by the same token!
  • The best photography openings will occur in the early evening or evening, as you will not be getting the glare from the sun.
  • It is allowed to visit The Painted Hills, however, any gifts would be valued.
  • Ensure your vehicle is brimming with gas when you visit, as there will not be any place to top off in the unit. Mitchell is the nearest service station.


  • Location: Central Oregon, USA
  • Established: October 8, 1975 (John Day Fossil Beds NM)
  • Nearest Town: Mitchell, OR
  • Size: 3,132 acres
  • Annual Visitors: 88,571 (2020), 197,091 (2019) (includes visits to all three units within John Day Fossil Beds NM)
  • Entrance Fee: There are no fees
  • Hours of Operation: Officially sunrise-sunset, but the park remains open throughout the night.

Painted Hills Oregon Camping – Wrapping up

In the event that you have perused this far, you ideally needn’t bother with any persuading concern that why the Painted Hills of Oregon is viewed as an irreplaceable asset by local people and far-off guests the same! This weird scene offers a feeling of history, secret, and interest not at all like some other spot on the planet, however, is especially not quite the same as the for the most part green nature for which Oregon and the Pacific North West are known.

I trust you have discovered this movement manual for the recreation center instructive and moving. In any case, regardless of whether you did or didn’t, all useful criticism is empowered! If it’s not too much trouble, leave a remark underneath in the event that you have any inquiries, concerns, or amendments that could assist us with working on our manual for the Painted Hills.

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