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Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway

This short write up on the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway answers burning questions like which route to talk and just how difficult is the riding?


Painted Hills Bikeway Ride Description

The Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway meanders through the multi-colored John Day Fossil Beds on 130 miles that connect the small communities of Fossil, Service Creek, Spray, Kimberly and Mitchell and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Viewed from your bicycle seat, you can see millions of years of history revealed in the layers of earth, one color at a time. 

The hills get their name from the delicately colored stratifications in the soil—ribbons of yellows, gold's, blacks, and reds formed millions of years ago by shifting volcanic islands. The ancient plant and wood fossils found here reveal 50 million years of animal evolution. You’ll ride through land where early cousins of elephants and rhinos once roamed.

The Bikeway is a loop made up of a series of hilly, remote out-and-back rides through high desert. One stretch runs along 20 miles of the John Day River, and another treats you to views of the Sutton Mountain Wilderness Study Area.

You can start and end your ride in any of the communities on the Bikeway; each has amenities and supplies, plus a small town to explore. Many parks and interpretive areas along the route have restrooms and drinking water. The moment you leave town, you’ll savor the solitude – it’s just you, your bicycle, the sounds of the birds and the glorious views.




Map and Cue Sheet

 Businesses on Bikeway


 Link to GPS 

Local Info

Eastern Oregon Visitors Assoc.


Wheeler County

Paleo Lands Institute

Condon Chamber (north of the Bikeway)

Special Accommodations
Spoken Hostel, Mitchell


Video of Hostel

Bed and Breakfast
(three miles from Fossil)
No water at any BLM sites