The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Eastern Oregon is a fantastic place to visit. John Day is one of the world’s richest sources of fossils. There are literally fossils everywhere. Before people started stealing them, you could easily find fossils. You can still find fossils throughout the monument, you just have to look a little harder—and do not take them, it is illegal and they are actively being studied. The monument covers a large area and has three main points of interest: Painted Hills, with its colorful rolling hills; Sheep Rock, bluish green rock formation that is more like popcorn; and Clarno, with the towering Palisades formed by volcanic mudflows. Millions of years ago this area was a lush rainforest with horses, crocodiles, and other animals long extinct. Now it is desert with sagebrush and grasses. It’s unlikely you will ever see anything quite like it. The closest I know of are the colorful hills in Zhangye Danxia, China. Spend a weekend around here to go on some beautiful drives, great hikes and see some of the most amazing natural formations in the world.

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