John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Clarno Unit

Clarno Unit

The Clarno Unit is 1,969 acres in size and is located 18 miles west of the town of Fossil. It features hiking trails, exhibits, and a picnic area; The modern vegetation here is typical of Central Oregon's near-desert environment with a variety of grasses, sagebrush and juniper.
The cliffs of the Palisades are the most prominent landform in the Clarno Unit. The Palisades were formed 44 million years ago by a series of volcanic mudflows called lahars . The Palisades, preserved a great diversity of fossils in an environment very different from that of today. At that time, volcanoes towered over a landscape covered by near-tropical forest fed by approximately 100 inches of rain per year. Tiny four-toed horses, huge rhino-like brontotheres, crocodilians, and meat-eating creodonts roamed the ancient jungles.

Directions

The Clarno Unit is located 20 miles west of the town of Fossil. along Highway 218. There is no visitor center at this unit.