Tag Archives: Hwy_26_Oregon

The Painted Hills and the beauty of the John Day Country

Like a heavenly paint spill, colorful layers of volcanic ash comprise the Painted Hills. Laid down millions of years ago, when this area was an ancient floodplain, a variety of minerals create this kaleidoscope. Black soil is lignite from vegetative matter, grays and greens are from mudstone, siltstone, and shale. The reds are laterite soil comprised of aluminum and iron oxides.  This area is located far from commonly traveled roads in Oregon. Meg and I have never seen more than three or four cars when we have visited. We continued to travel east through the John Day country and its shimmering yellows of cottonwood and tamarack trees. 

John Day River

Painted Hills

Picture Gorge petroglyphs 

Sheep Rock, John Day Fossil Beds

Tamarack or larch