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A new trail in the Painted Hills, this trail is mostly level and ends at a knoll made of bright yellow and red clay.

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Point to Point

2,259' 689 m


2,222' 677 m


38' 11 m


5' 2 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (5°)

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Family Friendly This is another short trail that leads to a viewpoint of a red, clay hill. It climbs gently to the backside of the hill and provides views of the rest of the monument.

Depending on weather conditions in the winter, one or more areas of John Day Fossil Beds may be closed if the roads are not open or passable. The "red hill" is off limits to visitors as it is fragile landscapes and can be damaged by people traversing across it.


The Red Hill Trail, also known as the Red Scar Knoll Trail, is the newest trail in the Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument. It is found at the end of the end of Bear Creek Road before it departs the monument. There is a small parking area on the left hand side where you can park before exploring the area. The trail drops to the side of the road and makes its way across a dirt wash via a small, wooden bridge. Turning to the right, the trail follows a narrow, gravel trail that climbs gently toward the hill. Gaining about 25 feet over a tenth of a mile, it's an easy climb for everyone.

The trail continues around the hill and climbs a little bit more to where a bench sits facing the hill. From here, you can look straight ahead and take in the enormous red and yellow clay hill that sits before you. The red clay is iron red paleosol that indicates a warm and moist environment that use to exist in the area. The Yellow/Tan soil represents a drier environment at a point in time where there would not have been much water. Off to the right, there are views of the trees and surrounding hills. There is a sign that indicates that you have reached the end of the trail. Do not go past the sign as it can damage the ecosystem in the area. Once you have taken in the views, you can return to your car via the path that you followed.

Shared By:

David Hitchcock

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  3.0 from 1 vote
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in Oregon


3 Views Last Month
653 Since Nov 25, 2016



Bright and Yellow clay compose the hill that this trial is named for.
Nov 30, 2016 near Fossil, OR
The Red Hill Trail allows you to see erosion at work.
Nov 30, 2016 near Fossil, OR
A view of the the surrounding hillsides from the end of the trail.
Nov 30, 2016 near Fossil, OR
The hill rises above you at all points along the trail.
Nov 30, 2016 near Fossil, OR
At the end of the trail, there is a bench where you can sit and enjoy the views.
Nov 30, 2016 near Fossil, OR
There are dead trees along the trail in places.
Nov 30, 2016 near Fossil, OR



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Apr 3, 2022
Karson Maitland
Jun 9, 2021
Bear Rinehart
Jul 23, 2019
Katie O'Malley
Jul 8, 2017
Owen Johnson
Jul 7, 2017
Scott Johnson
Nov 20, 2016
David Hitchcock
A quick hike out to a red and yellow hill, with some limited views. 0.5mi