After we left Shaniko we hit the road again and headed for the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds. There are two trails, one snaking through the lower section (The Trail of the Fossils) and one going up to the rocks above (Arch Trail). We started walking on The Trail of the Fossils. I couldn't find a fossil to save my life. I guess I just don't have a trained eye.
Halfway down the trail, we ran into a couple of ladies headed back toward the parking lot. They suggested we turn back and go up the Arch Trail. We took their advice and weren't disappointed. There was a lot more to look at as we climbed up the hill. The only fossil I could pick out was blatantly pointed out by a placard and it was kind of hard to miss. It was really cool to see the layers of The Palisades up close. The Palisades were created by mud flows filled with ash 45 million years ago.
|See the "T" shape in the rocks? Those are fossilized tree trucks from a landslide.|
|Looking for the Aether (Thor 2 reference)|
|The end of the Arch Trail|
If you find yourself near Fossil, Oregon, you should check out The Clarno Unit. There's pull off parking spots right at the trailheads...which is where we parked. But just down the road is a parking lot with bathrooms and picnic areas. It's a perfect stop for road trippers like us. If it looks like we did a hardcore hike, don't be fooled. The Arch Trail is a little steep, but it's only .25 miles long.