Story in Stone Trail


Location: Sheep Rock Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
Roundtrip: 1/3 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 40 feet
GPS Coordinates: N 44 39.126   W 119 38.407
Visitor’s Information Open: all year round

No Pass Required


Foree Area is the northernmost section of Sheep Rock Unit, separated by some private lands from the main part of the Unit. The main tourist features of this area, except for the magnificent scenery of course, is a modest picnic area and two hiking trails – the Flood of Fire Trail and the Story in Stone Trail.

Sharing one trailhead, which can easily be found at the parking lot as it contains several information stands presenting some historical background of the place, the trails are running northward (Flood of Fire Trail) and eastward (Story in Stone Trail). If you are facing the trails, the Flood of Fire Trail will be to your left, and to get to the Story in Stone Trail you need to turn right.

The Story in Stone Trail is just a short (only one third of a mile roundtrip) trail, allowing the visitors to immerse themselves into the geology of this amazing National Monument. It is mostly paved, with a really slight ascent, thus providing people in wheel-chairs or with strollers with a possibility of hiking it, enjoying the inspiring views of blue-green rock formations containing so much history in them.

The yellowish colors of “desert” grasses in combination with the bluish-green hues of claystone formations create an exuberant range of colors which pleases the eye and brings joy to the heart. The color palette is particularly beautiful and vivid during the sunny weather.

Unfortunately on this trail you won’t see any fossils or their replicas, but you’ll have a chance to admire the incredible landscape, securely concealing fossilized animals for which this area was a home 25 to 30 million years ago.

Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

Pictures taken: 9/9/15

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