Things to See & Do

The City of Fossil was named by Thomas Benton Hoover for fossil remains he discovered in a clay-like formation near his ranch house on Hoover Creek.

Today, Fossil remains the destination for visitors interested in these archeological treasures; providing easy access to all three units of the world-renowned John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. For a modest fee, budding archeologists can also try their hand at digging fossils behind Wheeler County High School (see below).

Rich with history and a thriving western heritage, the City features a walking tour with many historic buildings, including the 1898 courthouse and fascinating historical museums. A professional rodeo, bull riding and other western events are held each summer during the Wheeler County Fair and Rodeo. Other ongoing events include the Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival and golf tournaments at the nearby PGA-certified, six-hole Kinzua Hills Golf Course.

Wheeler County is among Oregon’s most beautiful counties. The wild and scenic John Day River, known worldwide for its native salmon runs and exceptional bass fishing, snakes its way through the county. Other recreation opportunities include:

  • Swimming & Boating
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Hunting and Fishing
  • Star Gazing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Biking, Motorcycling and Hiking
  • Gold Panning
  • Nature Photography and Birding


Wheeler High School Fossil Beds
Located behind Wheeler High School
404 Main Street
Fossil,OR 97830
Dig for and keep fossils
Entrance Fees:
Individuals $5
Family of four, $15
each additional child, $3
Groups (school, college/university, scouts, church, etc.) of 20 or less, $25
To arrange a group visit contact Wheeler High School at (541) 763-4303.

Kinzua Hills Golf Club
(541) 763-2074
21467 Hoover Creek Lane
Fossil, OR 97830
6-hole golf course

Fossil Museum & Pine Creek Schoolhouse & Shepherd’s Wagon
(541) 763-2113
(541) 763-4440
First Street
Fossil, OR 97830
Open Memorial Day – Labor Day
Mon: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Wed – Sun: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Available by appointment during off season