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painted hills

Airstream road trip to the Painted Hills of Oregon


Oregon’s Painted Hills are on the little strip of highway just northwest of Mitchell (about 75 miles east of Bend) that leads up to one of the John Day Fossil Beds.

The area is dreamlike and sparse. The stripes vary in color—red, yellow, ochre—and some are marked with odd black shapes. 

There are trails for hiking, and a covered observation station supplies welcome shade and a boring diagram. Like a solar eclipse, it’s impossible to take a good picture of what the hills look and feel like. As always, morning or late afternoon is best for photos; our timing was off and we got there in the heat and glare around lunchtime.

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