Eastern Book Cliffs Deep History

A rare opportunity to explore the rich archeology and history of the Book Cliffs!

Explore this unique landscape featuring a vast record of human and natural history crucial to understanding the Colorado Plateau. Guest Expert and guides will facilitate a comprehensive introduction to the geologic history, cultural history, and current issues facing the Eastern Book Cliffs region near Moab, Utah.  This academic program engages participants in discussions the preservation of cultural resources, lifeways and economies.

Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of unplugged exploration. While our experts engage you with the history of the area, the CFI guides will set up a comfortable base camp, cook hot meals, and facilitate a relaxing experience. No prior camping experience is necessary!

An educational getaway

The Eastern Book Cliffs seminar starts with a tour of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River Utah. From there, ditch your cars, and load into our 4-wheel drive vehicles to head into the wilderness. Expert archeologists will guide the group to lesser-known archeology sites providing information about Ancient American tools, architecture, and lifestyles. Guides will set up base camp, cook meals, and make sure you are well rested for the next day’s adventure!

Guided all inclusive adventure

You are here to experience the ancient past! Come ready to immerse yourself within the breathtaking scenery, and let us worry about the details. Your CFI guides are responsible for cooking hearty meals throughout the weekend, driving the rugged roads to our hidden destinations, and providing any necessary first aid and safety gear.

Eastern Book Cliffs
May 13, 2022 through May 15, 2022
Drop Off/Pick Up:
Green River, UT
3 days and 2 nights
Group Size:
Minimum: 6, Maximum: 8
$980, Member Price: $931

This is how we rate the challenges you might face on a CFI trip.

Level 1 - Easy

  • Low level of physical activity, minimal movement required
  • 0 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking or walking 0-2 miles per day

Level 2 - Moderate

  • Medium level of physical activity, some movement required
  • 1-4 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 4 miles per day
  • Flatwater or mild whitewater rapids

Level 3 - Active

  • Medium or high level of physical activity
  • 1-5 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 5 miles per day
  • Class I - III whitewater rapids

Level 4 - Challenging

  • High level of physical activity
  • 1-6 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking 5 or more miles per day
  • Class IV whitewater rapids
CFI's Essential Eligibility Criteria outlines specific challenges that you may face on CFI trips. Please consult the EEC for information on responsibilities of participants.
  • A $300 deposit is required to reserve your spot.
  • Fee includes a $50 donation to youth programs.

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Guest Faculty

Dr. Steven R. Simms is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Utah State University, Logan, Utah where he taught starting in 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), and currently in preparation, Looking for Houses: Making Whole the Lithic Scatter of the American Desert West.

Steve is a captivating teacher and has led educational trips for many organizations including Canyonlands Field Institute and Crow Canyon Archaeology Center. Steve currently lives in Story, Wyoming near the Bighorn Mountains.

Trip Narrative

Day 1

Our trip meets at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, Utah on the first morning. After exploring the museum and getting a historical overview of the area, we will load in to CFI’s 4wd vehicles and head toward the Book Cliffs. As we move further from civilization, we will start to dive into the area’s unique geology and history. We will learn about the Book Cliffs, the Roan Cliffs, and Thomson Bench and other features. Your guides will set up a comfortable camp, and you can feel free to take a walk around the area or read from the trip library.

Day 2

We will spend time exploring little known historical sites around the region. Your CFI guides and Guest Experts will lead you to areas ranging from prehistoric archeological sites to more modern homesteading and 19th century historical locations. Feel free to bring your binoculars or crack open your guidebooks to discuss the areas flora and fauna with guides and other participants.

Day 3

We will spend the morning rounding out the experience by telling stories of range wars, cowboys, and prehistoric cultures before returning to the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River to say our goodbyes. You’ll drive away from the desert feeling rejuvenated and connected on this historical adventure.

Need to Know

  • CFI staff are trained educators and guides with first aid and CPR certifications. Back-country trips carry satellite communications devices.  
  • All cook and dishware, meals, snacks, and river gear are provided by CFI.


Some people say food is the most important part of the adventure. On all our overnight trips, CFI will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a morning and afternoon snack, and an appetizer before dinner. If you have a dietary restriction or food allergy, note it on your medical form so we can best prepare.

Depends on the trip. As a general rule, CFI provides all group gear related to fully outfitting your trip. Specialized gear like PFDs, wetsuits, dry bags, educational materials are all provided by CFI. Additionally, we take care of all kitchen and dishware needs. 

Find out more about trip specific packing.

Most importantly, a willingness to slow down, connect to your surroundings, and experience the moment. Additionally, participants are required to bring a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, personal clothing, medication, and other essential personal items. Many gear items are available for rent. Reach out to us if you are interested in seeing a trip specific packing list, or learn more about trip specific packing here.

CFI provides options to rent gear:

  • Two person tent: $30 / trip
  • Sleeping bag: $20 / trip
  • Kid sleeping pad: $7 / trip
  • Adult sleeping pad (paco pad): $15 / trip
  • Package deal: Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and one tent per two people: $40 / trip

For any CFI summer camp, gear rentals are free!

Every CFI guide has either a Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification. Your trip leader will have a Wilderness First Responder certification. Anyone working with youth has passed a background check, and shuttle drivers are insured with clean driving records. Backcountry trips carry In-Reach satellite communication devices for emergencies. All guides have been evaluated by Canyonlands Field Institute as possessing the judgement, skills, and disposition required for mitigating risk in the field. 

As technology grows more and more invasive by the day, CFI promotes connection to what matters. To achieve this, all school and youth programs are unplugged and students are not permitted to bring electronic devices. Not only is there rarely cell service, devices are a distraction to our ability to connect to the present moment. On Private Group Trips or Adult Seminars, the use of devices is permitted but discouraged.

CFI works hard to ensure a positive experience for all guides and participants. Because of the unpredictable nature of outfitting, we have created a series of policies so maintain our ability to manage risk in the outdoors.

For critical information regarding cancellations, deposits, and other participant responsibilities, please view our trip policies page or contact us with any questions.

CFI is a non-profit organization and fees are not taxed. By choosing CFI, you are supporting our efforts to provide lifechanging outdoor experiences for hundreds of children per year.  Scholarships are available on an as needed basis.