Oregon’s Painted Hills

TEXT BY HEATHER DOWDY

IMAGES COURTESY HEATHER MONTANE
@BEND.BROTHERS

Looking for a colorful PNW hike with your canine sidekick? Look no further than Eastern Oregon’s breathtaking Painted Hills.

Located just northwest of Mitchell, Oregon, the Painted Hills are one of three locations within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

The park encompasses more than 3,000 acres and bears the title of one of Oregon’s seven wonders. It’s named for the colorful layers of black soil, mudstone, siltstone and shale, formed when the area was an ancient river floodplain.

The area contains fossils of early horses, camels, and rhinoceroses as well as leaf fossils from more than 30 million years ago.

The park provides a picnic area and restrooms, and provides drinking water from May – September.

We spoke to Heather Montane of Instagram’s @bend.brothers about her recent trip here with Aussie pals Raku + Fenix.

The Northwest Dog:  What was your favorite part of exploring the Painted Hills?

Heather: I think the views are particularly cool because they truly tell a story. Millions of years of various volcanic eruptions that occurred in different climates have led to these beautifully colored, rolling hills.

The Northwest Dog:  When did you visit?

Heather: We visited midday in early July. However, the sun was shining high and the temperatures were hot, making photo ops difficult. I’ve heard wild flowers are in bloom in April/May when temperatures are cooler.

The Northwest Dog: Any favorite trails?

Heather: There are several small trails, and I’d recommend doing them all! I mean, if you make the drive out there, you gotta make it worth it! Go big or go home!

The trails include:

1) Painted Hills Overlook Trail (0.5 miles)
2) Painted Cove Trail (0.25 miles)
3) Leafhill Trail (0.25 miles)
4) Carroll Rim Trail (1.6 mile)

Trail information can be found here.

The Northwest Dog: Any tips for readers?

Heather: Dogs must be on leashes, so make sure to have one handy. There are a lot of people around, so if your dog is reactive, this may be a difficult place to bring them. And bring lots of water, especially if going in the summer rather than the spring!

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