Range Creek Archaeology

A special chance to base camp in this remote canyon and learn about human history, geology and wildlife.

A Unique Archaeological Experience

Hidden deep within the Western Bookcliffs of southeastern Utah, Range Creek Canyon offers an unparalleled resource of relatively undisturbed archaeological sites. Until recently, this private land was inaccessible to exploration.  Range Creek Canyon is now managed by the University of Utah Museum of Natural History (UMNH.) With one of the only operating permits available, CFI offers an indepth guided trip into this beautiful, remote area that lies just north of Highway 6 & 50.  This trip now starts in Price, Utah and includes an introductory session and behind the scenes tour with the Curator of the USU Prehistoric Museum.

Learn, Relax, Explore

Our combination of naturalist guides, guest experts, and truck supported camping offers the perfect combination of amenities and education. From a comfortable base camp, we drive and walk to various sections of the canyon featuring prehistoric and historic sites. CFI guides will give an overview of the canyon geologic and economic history, as well as local fauna and flora. CFI provides advance suggested readings and online content; during the trip guides handle logistics, camp support and prepare hearty, fresh meals. Our evenings are spent on short walks from camp and discussing the day’s findings. CFI’s combination of guest experts, local connections and experienced leadership ensures that your time spent exploring Range Creek Canyon will be informative and memorable.

Read the trip narrative and learn more about our guest faculty, Jamie Hollingsworth, below!

Dr. Kevin Jones

Visitors from far away can look at pictures online or in a book of Utah’s rock art, and they do, but the allure goes beyond that: seeing the creations in their true environment is the preferred and optimal way to appreciate them. And it is the preferred and optimal way to appreciate Utah as well.

 – Dr. Kevin Jones.

 

Location:
Western Book Cliffs near Price, Utah
Dates:
August 23, 2023 through August 25, 2022
Group Size:
Minimum: 7, Maximum: 9
Age Range:
Adult and youth16 yrs of age and older
Cost:
$900 person; $855 CFI members
Accommodations:
Vehicle Supported Base Camp, Tent camping, Latrine
Challenge:
Level-

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.
Notes:
  • A $300 deposit is required to reserve your spot.
  • Fee includes all meals starting from dinner day 1 through lunch day 3.
  • Fee includes a $100 donation to youth programs.
  • Bring your own sleeping gear or rent quality sleeping bags, thick pads, cot, tent from CFI

See other trips in these categories:

All participants on our adult seminars and on our private trips are required to be fully vaccinated.

Guest Faculty

Attendees on this seminar will be led by archaeologist and educator, Ms. Jamie Hollingsworth. Jamie has sixteen years of experience in cultural resource practices on the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin. Her graduate studies and later work at the University of Utah included assisting with research and field school in Range Creek.  Jamie has worked for the consulting firm, PaeloWest as an archaeology Project Manager and served as Program Archaeologist for Project Discovery for a number of years. Project Discovery is an outreach program serving high school students and an annual large-scale inter-agency public event, Stewardship Day in Nine Mile Canyon, Western Book Cliffs. Ms. Hollingsworth is a registered member of the Navajo Nation and of Dine’, Irish, English and Norwegian descent.

Corrinne Springer, M.S. Anthropology and Range Creek Field Station Manager, has lived seasonally at the old Wilcox Ranch headquarters for many years. Corrinne will meet with our group to share settler and ranching history as well as to describe how Range Creek came to public attention in recent years, launched ongoing research and annual summer field schools.

 

“Karla and her wonderful staff helped make our dream come true. We have wanted to see Range Creek for a long time, and it finally happened! Jamie was an incredible guide/ archeologist! Anna and Brandi took such good care of us. They truly care about their clients and go above and beyond to make sure we are happy.” Max and Melanie from Oregon, participants on the 2022 seminar.

 

 

Trip Narrative

A major tributary to the Green River, Range Creek Canyon cuts through the West Tavaputs Plateau in the Book Cliffs north of Highway 6/I 70 and has limited access due to rough and seasonally open roads and locked gates.  It came to public attention with the sale of private land by the late Waldo Wilcox to the State of Utah and the disclosure of extensive prehistoric Fremont Culture sites.  Range Creek is now protected and visitation is by permit; it is primarily managed for research  by the Utah Museum of Natural History and field schools by University of Utah

Day 1

NEW! We will meet in Price, Utah at the Prehistoric Museum at 1:30 pm the first day for a short orientation and to see material culture from Range Creek curated there.   After exploring the museum, we will load into CFI vehicles to drive the steep, rugged road up Horse Canyon and over a 8500′ foot pass into Little Horse Canyon and Range Creek.

Outside the North Gate that limits public access, we set up a comfortable base camp. This will be our home for the next few days as we venture into the wilderness. We will take some time to orient ourselves to the new place through reflection, storytelling, and reading from our rich trip library.

Days 2 and 3

Over the next few days, we will visit several rock art panels and a Fremont pit house village close up.  We will view other structures and panels at some distance with binoculars and spotting scopes. We will also visit the Wilcox Ranch homestead which now serves as caretaker quarters and graduate archaeological field school base camp sponsored by the University of Utah. There Our exact itinerary may vary due to current conditions and group interest. We will be in and out of vehicles often, with most sites located near the dirt road. Walking is mostly on level ground with several sites requiring walking up a short primitive hillside trail. There may be one optional hike up to a mile one way that would takes us through a brushy area and requires a shallow (inches) creek crossing. On our walks take an easy pace (about 45 min/mile) to accommodate all abilities and take note of things along the way.

On the last morning, we will visit sites in the upper canyon, offering an optional 1 mile round trip hike, and recap major themes.   We will pack up our camp and depart from Range Creek after lunch and plan on arriving in Price around 4:oo P.m. If traveling with the CFI crew, you will return to Moab around 6:00 p.m.

With a small group size, this trip is ideal for creating a strong sense of place in a historic area.

Participants bring their own tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads or cots or may rent from CFI (CFI has quality two door dome style tents, sleeping bags with sheets or liners, cots and and thick “Paco” pads that help you get a good night’s sleep.) CFI will set up a comfortable camp kitchen, provide camp chairs and provide dining shelter if needed. UMNH provides latrines at the campsite and several locations along our driving route.

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.

FAQ

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.

Thanks for asking...We know this can be an awkward subject. The fact is, our guides work extremely hard and appreciate getting tipped! 

On school trips, tips are not expected, but they are greatly appreciated. 

On an adult or private trip, an industry standard is for each customer to tip $25 per day.

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.