Painted Hills is one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located in Wheeler County, Oregon. The Painted Hills are listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. Painted Hills is named after the colorful layers of its hills corresponding to various geological eras, formed when the area was an ancient river floodplain. The black soil is lignite that was vegetative matter that grew along the floodplain. The grey coloring is mudstone, siltstone, and shale. The red coloring is laterite soil that formed by floodplain deposits when the area was warm and humid. An abundance of fossil remains of early horses, camels, and rhinoceroses in the Painted Hills unit makes the area particularly important to vertebrate paleontologists. Nine miles north-west of Mitchell off Hwy 26 a country road winds through rugged landscapes passing agricultural fields of grass and clover and leads into a geological wonderland – the Painted Hills of Eastern Oregon. Like on a painters palette, the colors shift and change with the difference of light, weather and the seasons. Every rainstorm intensifies the bands of red and orange, the generous splashes of yellow and gold, and the random streaks of black and grey leaving you speechless and awe struck. When you travel to the Painted Hills, you can see millions of years of history revealed in the layers of mountains of earth, one color at a time. The hills get their name from the delicately colored stratifications in the soil and the yellows, gold, blacks, and reds of the Painted Hills are best seen in the late afternoon.