From Biggs Junction on I-84 Freeway, follow signs for the Ghost Town of Shaniko, turn left at the far end off Hwy 395 to follow the signs pointing the way to Clarno and Fossil. Total time from Portland driving is nearly 4 hours. On the tours I lead this is the first stop, then off to the Painted Hills, and then the Sheep Rock Unit of the three John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.
Early morning to late afternoon is best, sunrises and sunsets, as well as star trail images over the Pallisades for photography.
The Clarno Pallisades were formed by lahars as storms swept the high peaks of volcanoes and washed out the mud and ash where is now formed all the hills on both sides of the roadway here. within the mass of rock, mud, and plant life within these palisades, can be seen tree limbs jutting out of what is now rock.