Eastern Book Cliffs Deep History

Dr. Steve Simms will guide you through both ancient and recent sites.

Explore this unique landscape holding a vast record of human and natural history crucial to understanding the Colorado Plateau. As you explore gain a comprehensive introduction to the geologic history, prehistoric and historic occupation, and current issues facing the Eastern Book Cliffs and Cisco desert region.

We will see Archaic Barrier Canyon style, Fremont, and Ute rock art plus a lesser-known inscription of French trapper, Denis Julien. This area was an important place for prehistoric and historic people to travel through and leave paintings and engravings on the cliff faces. Participate in discussions on rock art conservation and management for panels affected by natural causes. Threats from water, dust, salts, and vandalism will be addressed. Lifeways and economies over time will be discussed including native, and more recent ranching, railroad and energy exploration.


Our trip meets in Moab on the first morning and we travel to Thompson Springs, Sego then across the benchlands to Cottonwood Canyon and Diamond Creek. We make a comfortable base camp and following days explore Westwater, Hay Canyons and on top of the BookCliffs along the Divide Road which brings us to our second camp amidst ponderosa pines and with a spectacular view of the canyon country below. The last day brings us to more rock art sites and interesting ranch history in East Canyon, along Westwater Creek and on the Cisco desert. We end back in Moab the afternoon of the third day.


This trip will include two nights of truck supported camping including delicious meals, camp chairs, and sheltered kitchen. Participants bring their own tents and sleeping gear or rentals are available from CFI.

Guest Expert

Dr. Steven R. Simms is a Professor of Anthropology at Utah State University, Logan, Utah where he has taught since 1988. He has done archaeological fieldwork across the United States and in the Middle East for 45 years. His areas of specialty are the prehistory of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau, human behavioral ecology, and archaeological method and theory.

Simms has authored over 100 scientific publications, technical reports, and monographs. His books include Ancient Peoples of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau (2008), and Traces of Fremont: Society and Rock Art in Ancient Utah (2010).

Activity Level


Up to one-mile hikes on relatively flat trails with up to 250 feet of elevation gain per day.


  • Where: Eastern Book Cliffs – Cottonwood, Hay Canyon/Westwater Creek
  • When: May 10, 2019 through May 12, 2019
  • Number of Days/Nights: Three days, two nights
  • Group Size: 5 min, 8 max
  • Age Group: Adults and youth 16+
  • Deadline for Signup: May 6, 2019
  • Cost per Person: $680/person or $646/CFI member
  • Deposit: $300 (non-refundable)
  • Notes:
    • CFI Members receive a 5% discount
    • Trip begins and ends in Moab, UT
    • Click here to read our cancellation policy
    • Includes tour transport, two nights camping with truck support, delicious meals by CFI