Cedar Mesa / Comb Ridge Utah Archaeology

Explore Cedar Mesa by van and short hikes with guest faculty Winston Hurst.


Discover Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge in this unique opportunity to learn from experts!

Join CFI with guest archaeologist, Winston Hurst, learn about the Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge area and its fascinating history that spans thousands of years. Explore the natural beauty of the landscape and side canyons, and learn about geology, desert ecology, and more during three days and three nights of guided tours. Winston grew up in S.E Utah, and upon completing university work, returned to devote his professional career to his beloved home territory.

Our seminar starts with an evening session,  followed by three days of field outings, mostly by van, with stops for hikes (from 1/2 mile up to about 4 miles round trip). The exact trip itinerary varies somewhat each year, featuring guest faculty “choice” days plus several standard stops.   Locations will include familiar and lesser known historical and archaeological sites in Butler and Comb Washes, Cedar Mesa side canyons, a spectacular drive along the Comb itself, and walking a portion of Posey’s Trail. In true CFI naturalist style, guides overview geography, observe plants, discuss native uses, and note anything else of interest! On the longer hike day, participants may wish to go part way and return early with a CFI guide to our vehicle and a comfy lawn chair with our trip library at hand.

Our trip group is kept small, with a minimum of 5 and maximum of 8 participants.

Trip fee includes lodging (double occupancy) and meals beginning with breakfast day 1  through lunch last day, plus permit fees and transportation. If you wish to reserve a single room, please do so in advance with a $60 per night single supplement. A part of your fee helps to underwrite our educational school programs.

Archaeologist, Winston Hurst. Photo courtesy of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Archaeologist, Winston Hurst. Photo courtesy of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Archaeologist Winston Hurst is a San Juan County native and professional archaeologist and activist for archaeological preservation. He has been engaged in archaeological research and interpretation in the Colorado Plateau since the early 1970’s. He served as the Field Director of the Comb Ridge Heritage Initiative Project, a multi-year cooperative archaeological project by the BLM and the University of Colorado. Winston has led educational field seminars for Crow Canyon, White Mesa Institute and others and is often cited in articles about the region.

To learn more about Cedar Mesa issues and various conservation proposals, please visit the Friends of Cedar Mesa website.

“Winston Hurst was most capable and informative. I really appreciated his insights (both academic and personal) as well as his willingness to answer the littlest questions and engage in discussion. I learned a lot and was able to see the ancient world through new lenses: I have greater appreciation and new point of view.” – Pam Hackley, Moab, UT Participant, 2016


Activity Level


Up to three miles on uneven trails – with occasional scrambling – with up to 750 feet of elevation gain per day.

  • by ACTIVE Network
  • Where: Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge areas in Southeastern Utah.
  • When: October 19, 2017 through October 22, 2017
  • Number of Days/Nights: 3 Nights 3 Days
  • Time: Check in at Recapture Lodge in Bluff by 5:00pm, through afternoon last day, ending in Bluff
  • Group Size: Minimum 6, maximum 8
  • Age Group: Adults and Youth 16+
  • Deadline for Signup: 1 week prior
  • Cost per Person: $750 plus $10 BLM Special Area Fees
  • Deposit: $300 (non-refundable)
  • Notes: