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A short trail leading to the site of extensive paleontological research with some good views.

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2,099' 640 m


2,075' 632 m


24' 7 m


21' 6 m



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Dogs Leashed

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Family Friendly This is a short trail that leads to a hill where significant fossil finds have been made. There are several fossils in a sign that teaches about the discoveries made here.

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 trailhead for the Leaf Hill Trail (also known as the Leaf Fossil Trail) is located toward the end of Bear Creek Road in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. There is a parking area on the lefthand side of the road that is big enough for several cars.

This short, quarter mile loop trail provides access to a hill that has been the site of extensive paleontological research through the years. Crossing a short, wooden bridge, the trail forks to the left and to the right. There is an arrow that points to the right, but you can go either direction and have the same experience. A sign below the arrow reminds everyone that removal of rocks or fossils is strictly prohibited to protect the treasures of the national monument.

Following the wide, gravel trail to the right, the path works its way through shrubs and short trees. Crossing over another wooden bridge that spans a seasonal creek, views of surrounding hills similar to the other Painted Hills, come into view. After taking in the views, the trail moves to the left and a wooden fence separates you from the fossil hill. There is a large sign where the history of the hill and examples of some of the fossils that have been discovered here can be viewed.

The trail climbs gently around the hill, where better views of some of the hills you saw earlier come into view. The trail has transformed from gravel to dirt at this point. You pass around the backside of the hill and descend along a red rock/dirt trail through some small trees until it reaches the fork in the trail that you passed earlier. Take a left and the trail returns to your car.


Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote


  3.0 from 1 vote
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in Oregon


5 Views Last Month
336 Since Nov 25, 2016
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A better view of the surrounding hills come into view as the trail climbs behind the fossil hill.
Nov 28, 2016 near Fossil, OR
The trail makes its way back to the fork. There are small trees in the area, nourished by seasonal rain.
Nov 28, 2016 near Fossil, OR
A large, yellow, clay hill can be seen off in the distance.  The colors are amazing and represent the different climate variations in different eras.
Nov 28, 2016 near Fossil, OR
The fence separates visitors from the fossil hill. The sign talks about the history of the hill and has examples of some of the fossils found here.
Nov 28, 2016 near Fossil, OR
The trail as it makes its way through the barren landscape.  You can see a clay hill off in the distance.
Nov 28, 2016 near Fossil, OR
The trail as it leaves the parking area. You can take a left or a right at the split in the trail as both lead to the same destination.
Nov 28, 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
May 25, 2019
udo schmeling
Jul 8, 2017
Owen Johnson
Jul 7, 2017
Scott Johnson
Nov 20, 2016
David Hitchcock
Hiked around, views of the hills are nice. The fossil bed information is interesting and contributes to the understanding of the area. 0.2mi

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