Destinations North America oregon

Painted Hills, Oregon

Just a quick hour and a half drive from Bend through the Ochoco National Forest leads you to one of the “7 Wonders of Oregon,” the Painted Hills in/near Mitchell, Oregon. It’s more a wonder why I didn’t make this trip a priority before, but I am so glad I finally did. The result was a near human-less Tuesday evening stroll complete, with a tear inducing sunset.

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Due to the heat we decided to make an evening trip, arriving around 6 pm. It was still 94 degrees, but a strong warm wind made it quite pleasant out. The colors of the hills are best seen in the hours leading up to sunset, and there are a few different “hikes” you can go on in different areas, but all in close proximity. The hikes are more like .25 loops easily accomplished in flip flops, so don’t go expecting a workout. Along each trail are signs describing why the hills are colored the way they are, although they all kind of said the same thing. For this reason we didn’t explore every trail, but I appreciated the educational tidbits nonetheless.

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My favorite sight was the often-instagramed (for good reason!) Painted Cove Trail which leads you through vibrant red and lavender colored rock on a raised boardwalk.

It was the perfect picnic opportunity while we waited for the sun to set before heading back up to the Carroll Rim Trail, which provided the best view.

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This trip opened my eyes to the beauty of Eastern Oregon, so the next “wonder of Oregon” I’d like to check off the list is the Wallowas, maybe this Fall.  I think to get the most out of the trip I could go North first, and stop in Hood River/The Dalles, and then come home a different way to hit Joseph and Baker city. Any insight on which route to take from Bend (for the best stops along the way) would be appreciated.

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