John Day Fossil Beds and Dayville Oregon

"Any good poet, in our age at least, must begin with the scientific view of the world; and any scientist worth listening to must be something of a poet, must posses the ability to communicate to the rest of us his sense of love and wonder at what his work discovers."   ~ Edward Abbey

Between Bend Oregon and La Grande Oregon you can find the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  It covers 40 Million years and over 14,000 acres in three separate park units.  We visited only one of them, the Painted Hills.

We based out of the seemingly miss-named Fish House Inn and RV Park in Dayville.  We located in one of their "overflow" sites which despite lacking hookups, was the choice spot in this small park.

AIROSMITH in the Painted Hills

Our day in the Park was a Ranger led hike into the Blue Basin area.  Here the Ranger explained the volcanic history for the entire area.  There is evidence in this place from every volcanic area where we have visited on the west coast, and many more that we have not.  There are traces here from volcanic activity out of Yellowstone.

Take a Ranger led hike in any National Park.  These Rangers are great interpretive naturalists, love their jobs, and will usually leave you wanting to learn more about these wonderful places.

Look near or far in the Blue Basin and you will see layer upon layer of volcanic eruptions.  The color, thickness, and composition will tell the story of that eruption.  Volcanologists, and palentologists read this landscape like a history book.  An ancient history book.

An excellent companion read for this trip is John McPhee's Basin and Range.

Volcanic Crust

Sheep Rock - Painted Hills

Begin or end your hike at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center for the fossil and geology history of the area.  Many, many of these things roamed this area.

Jalapeno Carmel Apple Pie a la Mode

When in Dayville you must visit the Dayville Cafe, if for nothing more than the pie!


  1. Hi Jim and Steff!
    Great pictures of the Painted Hills. I was hoping to see the Painted Hills (and stop at the Fish House Inn again) on our way back to California. However, looks like our plans are now to head into northern Idaho and then over to Washington, so I'll miss the Painted Hills and the jalapeno caramel apple pie too!

    Keep up the post, so we can keep in touch!


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