Educational exploration, from Fossil and Condon.

Oregon’s Desert: Fossil Hunting
Credit: Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy

The vast expanses of the John Day Fossil Beds are best accessed from the towns of Fossil and Condon. The continually studied soil is home to one of the densest concentrations of fossils of animals and plants that date as far back 40 million years. Learn about them at the education center, hike through the park, or stargaze alongside an astronomer.

Thomas Condon Paleontology Center

Peer at fossilized plants and bones on ranger-led walks.

Little Pine Cafe

A reliable greasy spoon.

Wilson Ranches Retreat

The best area bunkhouse is this cattle ranch with tidy guest rooms.

Hotel Condon

Comfy quarters, with flat-screen TVs and Internet access.