Eastern Book Cliffs Deep History

Guest historian John Weisheit guides you through the ancient and recent sites

Your Guides

John Weisheit

John Weisheit  is the Conservation Director with Living Rivers based in Moab, Utah.
John is an author, accomplished guide, and educator with a long history of advocacy for rivers in the Southwest. John has served on the boards of  Colorado Plateau River Guides, Headwaters Institute and Canyonlands Field Institute among others.  He has authored numerous articles on regional geology and history and with two co-authors, has written a book called Cataract Canyon: A Human and Environmental History of the Rivers in Canyonlands. Frequently quoted by the press, he currently monitors watershed and energy issues such as proposed tar sands project for the Book Cliffs.

Karla Vander Zanden

Karla Vander Zanden helped to co-found CFI in 1984 and serves as current Executive Director. She holds a masters degree in Natural Resources from Utah State University. She first came to the area to work as a ranger with the BLM at Westwater Ranger Station and has been re-connecting with the Cisco desert and Bookcliffs through private exploration and research.

The Itinerary

This is a comprehensive introduction to the geologic history, and  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 the historic inscription of Antoine Robidoux and Denis Julien. Located just north of I-70 and close to the Colorado-Utah state line, it is located at the convergence of three canyons. 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.


This trip will include three nights of vehicle assisted camping.

  • by ACTIVE Network
  • Where: Eastern Book Cliffs – Cottonwood, Hay Canyon/Westwater Creek
  • When: October 01, 2016 through October 04, 2016
  • Number of Days/Nights: 4 days 3 nights
  • Group Size: 6 min, 8 max
  • Age Group: Adults and youth 16+
  • Deadline for Signup: September 25, 2016
  • Cost per Person: $725 - includes outfitting and meals
  • Deposit: $300 nonrefundable, applies to total fee
  • Notes:
    • Rare opportunity to explore the lesser visited area of the Eastern Bookcliffs near the Colorado border and to see incredible native rock art spanning 8000 years, historic trapper inscriptions, learn about ranching families, cattle and sheep “wars”, about geologic formations and current and proposed energy development in this region. Option to meet CFI/travel together from Moab, UT or to meet just off Interstate 70 at the location.
    • With guest expert historian John Wieshiet, CFI’s co-founder, Director Karla VanderZanden and guest archaeologist presentation.
    • Includes tour transport, three nights camping with truck support, delicious meals by CFI.
    • Click here to read our cancellation policy.