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Interesting Facts About Wheeler County
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Wheeler County is located in sunny North Central Oregon; it is the least populated and one of the most beautiful counties in the state. Wheeler County is as rugged as any in Oregon, with the terrain varying widely from deep river canyons edged in rimrock to high timbered mountains covered in pine and fir. Portions of the Ochoco and Umatilla National Forests lie within its boundaries, covering nearly one third of the county.
Fossil digging, fishing, rafting, hiking, camping, photography and star gazing are among the many fun and educational activities that abound here. Designated as a Wild and Scenic River, the John Day River, is known worldwide for its native salmon runs and exceptional bass fishing.
Located just three hours from Portland, Wheeler County is a magnificent place to escape for a weekend adventure. Wheeler County has been called a "Geologic Wonderland" and as the place "Where the Sidewalk Ends and the Old West Begins." Come and make your own adventure of time travel and discovery across this mysterious landscape.
There are two John Day Fossil Beds National Monument areas located in Wheeler County, the Clarno Unit and the Painted Hills Unit. The Sheep Rock Unit borders the County on the east. There are petrified mudslides and lava flows, unique geologic formations and one of the most outstanding depositories of prehistoric plant and animal fossils in the world.
The county is also a hunter's paradise for big game and world-class bass fishing along the John Day River. Our communities of Fossil, Mitchell and Spray offer exceptional home cooking at local cafes as well as accommodations ranging from motels to quaint bed & breakfasts to working cattle retreat ranches. You will find friendly people and communities eager to welcome you.
Please come and enjoy what our county has to offer.
A NOTE TO VISITORS REGARDING COVID-19: Please consider postponing your trip to Wheeler County. We appreciate your desire to visit our beautiful county, and we look forward to hosting you as soon as the current public health emergency has passed. In the meantime, we ask that you limit any travel to Wheeler County to essential needs only. By doing so, you can help us protect our most vulnerable residents and conserve limited local resources.