Painted Hills, One of Seven Wonders of Oregon - Joe Ng
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2015-10-08

No matter where I travel, I want to see what makes each place unique. I found out about the Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon when I was planning a short getaway with my wife. We had passed by Oregon many times but had never been to the eastern side of Oregon.


The Painted Hills is one of the seven wonders of Oregon. It is one of three sites that comprise the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. It took 9 hours by car to get there from Vancouver, which was quite a long drive for me. However, the car trip allowed us to see the beautiful scenery once I got onto the I-82 East in Washington State. The route I took passed by huge wind farms along the Columbia River, which divides Washington from Oregon.

We stayed at Mitchell, a small town with a population of 130, and is located just 9 miles away from the Painted Hills. Mitchell is called the “gateway to the Painted Hills” because it’s the only town in close range, making it a popular stop for visitors in need of gas, groceries, food, and accommodations.

We were lucky to have access to the Wi-Fi service at the historic Oregon Hotel, since there was very limited cell service to begin with. It was first built in the late 1800s and was burnt down twice. The entire hotel had recently undergone a complete renovation, restoring it to its previous condition and adding some homey touches.

It’s difficult to describe the beauty of the Painted Hills in words – it needs to be experienced! I was amazed at the many different shades of colors, the different lighting at different times of the day, and the unique shapes and forms of this geological wonderland.

A short drive beyond the main attraction brings you to the spectacular Red Hill and the Painted Cove Trail. This short hiking trail loops around the multicolored clay structure, allowing visitors to get a closer look.

I could easily spend days here, and I know I will definitely return and still be in awe of the beauty that is the Painted Hills.

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