Visiting the Painted Hills feels completely unearthly. The national monument, despite being named one of the seven wonders of Oregon, can be eerily quiet and isolated outside of the busy summer months. Cows and livestock from local ranches sometimes wander out onto the roads, grazing from the sparse vegetation in the area. Once one reaches the hills themselves, they are a beautiful aurora of red and yellow bands with black flecks from dead vegetation. The area feels like a trip to a martian landscape, especially due to the sparse desert foliage throughout the area. For a retreat to an otherworldly ambiance, take a side trip to the Painted Hills.