Fossil, Oregon
Fossil, Oregon

Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway: An Epic Eastern Oregon Adventure

If you’re thinking about staying at our Eastern Oregon Ranch Bed & Breakfast, chances are you’re an outdoor adventurist, explorer, or traveler in search of an authentic ranch experience, some fresh air and wilderness, or all of the above! Sound about right? Then you do not want to skip out on the chance to discover the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway! Read on to learn more about this natural wonder and how to best experience it on your next visit to Wilson Ranches Retreat.

Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway by Elizabeth Farrar


What is the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway?

Oregon is known for its many diverse scenic bikeways and the Painted Hills is no exception. With a variety of routes to choose from and a total of 161 miles spanning the John Day River Territory, you could literally spend days getting lost in the hills surrounded by the stunning natural beauty. The bikeway was designed to provide several short and long loops, giving riders the freedom to add to their journey as they please, each path providing something different from the last. The draw to see these in person and reasons to do so is as varied as the twists and turns you’ll encounter on your biking adventure.

Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway in John Day Fossil Beds

A Photographer’s Dream

It probably comes as no surprise from the few photos you’ve seen that this is a destination for scenic and landscape photographers. While no filter is needed when capturing these jaw-dropping formations, there is nothing like seeing it in person. From the sandy subtleties to vibrant layers, there’s something to be seen around every bend, up every hill, and down each descent; you’ll surely take breaks to capture its indescribable beauty as best you can. While this may be a sought-after destination for photographers, the many miles and route options leave the roads pretty quiet so you don’t have to worry about competing over the best vantage points. Just be sure your camera is fully charged and give yourself plenty of time to account for the endless photo ops. For the best lighting, late afternoon is the ideal time to see the Painted Hills transformed into an otherworldly place.

Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway


A Bucket List Item for History Buffs & Geology Lovers

Cruising through the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway is like a trip through time as these magnificent colors aren’t only Instagram candy for photographers, but they represent millions of years of our planet’s evolution, one colorful layer at a time. The gorgeous mixture of yellows, golds, reds, and blacks is a combination fit to take one’s breath away, especially when you realize the historical magnitude. The bikeway was designed to connect all the units of the famous John Day Fossil Beds, which holds the best fossil record from the last 50 million years, providing an astounding timeline of earth’s climate change. Each of these units offer additional exploration so be sure to factor in extra time if you’re especially interested in this aspect of the rainbow rocks.

Painted Cove Trail by Elizabeth Farrar

A Playground for Outdoor Adventurers & Exercise Enthusiasts

Let’s not forget about the biking! Should you choose to go on an adventure to see the Painted Hills by bicycle, you should know that this is no picnic (and you should probably pack a good one). Endurance is important and you will face demanding climbs and thrilling descents along the way. For those of you looking for a fantastic workout, action-packed adventure, or love a good physical challenge, you’re on the right path. Note that there are limited water stops along the bikeway so be sure to pack a good amount for the day.

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Regardless of your reasoning to hit the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway, your experience is sure to exceed any expectations and you will file this under epic adventures to remember. Make Wilson Ranches Retreat Bed & Breakfast your base and let us help you best prepare for your journey. Book your favorite room, pack your best biking gear, and get ready for an experience of a lifetime. We’ll see you soon!

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