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Welcome to the Oregon Paleo Lands Institute (OPLI) Center

Find Time! Explore Oregon’s Natural and Cultural Heritage With Us.

Oregon Paleo Lands Institute mission: The Oregon Paleo Lands Center builds social and economic vitality within the gateway communities of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument through efforts to:


   • Conserve, interpret and promote the region's natural and cultural history.

   • Develop, with partners, the region's visitor and recreational services, natural and cultural education.

   • Welcome visitors, schools, area residents and businesses at the Oregon Paleo Lands Center.

The Oregon Paleo Lands Center will help you discover Oregon's past and explore its present landscapes. With the John Day Basin as our "home base," we provide information on trips, classes and adventures throughout the region. You can fine-tune your skills in photography and art, collect fossils or take a cycling trip and learn about our vast ecosystem.

Start Your John Day Basin Visit Today with these Video tours:

A River Flows Free (10,000 Years, John Day Basin History) Blue Basin (Our Fossil Heritage) 

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Let us help you plan a trip through the John Day Basin

Serving the gateway communities of the John Day Fossil Beds

The Oregon Paleo Lands Center stands ready to assist you on your visit to the John Day and the gateway communities to the John Day Fossil Beds; including Antelope, Condon, Dayville, Fossil, Kimberly, Mitchell, Monument, Service Creek and Spray. Call us today to find out more about great events and activities.


Day Hikes

Oregon Paleo Lands Center can help you plan a day hike or cycling trip throughout the region. You can hike through the famous Painted Hills, visit an ancient 33 million year old lakeshore or touch a 44 million year old tree.


Below are two of our most popular hikes and cycling trips. For more information please call (541) 763-4480.


   Clarno Unit, John Day Fossil Beds        

     National Monument.


   Painted Hills.

School Visits

The Oregon Paleo Lands Center is now displaying the Mitchell Plesiosaur, the "Tiger of Cretaceous Seas" as its current exhibit. Call today to schedule a trip to the Oregon Paleo Lands Center & Gallery. (541) 763-4480



Help us connect people with Oregon’s extraordinary geologic history, the lessons of past climate change and the Northwest’s changing ecosystems. Oregon Paleo Lands Institute Center is the only learning center in Oregon dedicated to the geologic landscape. With your support, we can make outdoor exploration and learning a family activity.


For a print and mail Donation Form, click here.


To donate through PayPal, click the button below.


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FIND TIME is your complete visitor guide to the mid John Day Basin.


FIND TIME covers the natural and scenic features, natural history, local museums, hiking, cycling, river rafting, services, camping, and lodging.

Bring FIND TIME along on your next expedition in Oregon’s spectacular Paleo Lands.


Download FIND TIME here.   


Click the .pdf icon to view our John Day Basin Joint Interpretive Strategy

Visitor Center Hosts Wanted

We are a 501c3 educational, non-profit, based in Fossil, Oregon.



(C) 2013 Oregon Paleo Lands Center. All rights reserved.

Created by Gregory Smith & Company, LLC.

Oregon Paleo Lands  
Institute Center

2024 Summer Hours

Thursday - Sunday 


*we will be closed

one hour for lunch

Want to Volunteer?

The Paleo Lands Center invites you, to meet the public and school groups at our educational hub of the John Day Basin. Volunteers can serve as Board Members, Advisors, Center helpers and docents and help share exciting natural history exhibits, brochures, and books with visitors and schools.
Please Contact the Center at

541-763-4480 or for details


Road and Weather Conditions


*Please call or email if you would like to schedule your school group for a visit during the week. Thank you!


Contact Information

333 West Fourth Street

Post Office Box 104

Fossil, OR 97830
Phone: (541) 763-4480




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