The start of the summer brought adventures around Oregon, one of them being a trip to the famous Painted Hills. The Painted Hills are one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon and one of three areas that make up the John Day Fossil Beds.
Hiking Around the Painted Hills
There are 5 hikes you can go on while visiting the Painted Hills. Luckily, they are all pretty short and you can do them all in a day. There is one main road throughout the whole area that takes you to all of the hikes, so you can’t get lost.
1.Carrol Rim Trail- This is the first hike you come across when you first arrive at the Painted Hills. It is a 1.5 mile hike that gives you a panoramic view of the hills. It is the longest hike in the Painted Hills area so it’s best to start with this hike first.
2. Painted Hills Overlook- a 0.5 mile hike that gives you another panoramic view of the Painted Hills.
3. Painted Cove Trail- This is perhaps the most famous hike in all of the Painted Hills and the one you most likely see on social media. This hike is a 0.25 miles and the red dirt makes it look like you are walking on Mars.
4. Red Scar Knoll Trail- This is the newest hike in the Painted Hills. It is a 0.25 mile hike that goes around a colorful red and yellow hill.
5. Leaf Hill Trail- A 0.25 mile hike that loops around some trees and is not all that interesting. It is probably one hike you can skip if you had to pick one.
Tips for Visiting and Camping Near the Painted Hills
1. There is little to no cell service in the area, so make sure you know where you are going before you lose reception.
2. Bring water! The Painted Hills area is actually a desert so it’s important to keep hydrated while hiking.
3. If you plan on camping in the Painted Hills (Lower Burnt Ranch, Burnt Ranch and Priest Hole), make sure to observe the campground rules and bring your own firewood. Initially we intended on camping in the Painted Hills but didn’t have any firewood to cook our food. The nearest town, Mitchell, is VERY small and there was no place that sold firewood when we drove by. We ended up driving an hour east just to find firewood and by then we were so far from the Painted Hills, we ended up camping near John Day.
4. If you are coming from the west, I recommend stopping in Bend to try some of the local beer. But if you are coming from the east, stop by 1188 Brewing Company in John Day. Which ever way you’re coming from, you can’t go wrong with hiking and great local beer.