Range Creek – A Wonder of Preservation
Join us for a rare opportunity to visit Range Creek archaeology sites and prehistoric Fremont rock art in this two-day / two-night vehicle trip with interpretive hikes, overnight camping, allows plenty of time to explore and enjoy the canyon. Modifications are being made this year to meet our Covid 19 outfitting protocols. Located in the Book Cliffs between Green River and Price, Utah, Range Creek canyon has been recently opened to research and restricted vehicle access after careful protection by local ranching family for many years. Our guest scholar and CFI Naturalist Guides narrate the story of this unique landscape, the people who lived here, how they lived, and why they eventually departed. The trip includes a visit to the ranch homestead, stories about early-day settlers as well as information about canyon geology, flora, and fauna. We almost always see a big mammal of some sort on our trips!
Our CFI trip format includes comfortable vehicle supported camp, outside the locked entrance gate. This trip is mostly by vehicle with very short hikes out and back at a number of stops along a dirt road that runs through the canyon. Our longer trip format (we spend two days rather than one as the other outfitters do) allows quality time for enjoying the camp setting, a slower and more in-depth experience.
This seminar will be led by Dr. Kevin Jones, currently the owner and Principal Investigator for Ancient Places Consulting, an archaeological and environmental consulting firm based in Pleasant View, Colorado. Kevin has served as a research coordinator and Adjunct Associate Professor for the University of Utah. From 1994-2011, Kevin served as the Utah State Archaeologist for the Utah Division of State History. During his tenure, the privately owned Wilcox Ranch in Range Creek canyon “came to public attention” and was eventually transferred to state ownership. Now gated with restricted access, ongoing research and management is under the direction of the Utah Museum of Natural History. The author of several books, Kevin Jones and photographer Layne Miller recently published Standing on the Walls of Time.
Kevin will be joined by archaeologist and educator, Ms. Jamie Hollingsworth. Jamie has fourteen 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. She has served as Program Archaeologist for Project Discovery, an outreach program serving high school students and annually coordinated a large-scale inter-agency public event, Stewardship Day in the Book Cliffs, Nine Mile Canyon. Jamie currently works as a Project Manager for PaleoWest.
” 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.
We’ll meet in Green River at the John Wesley Powell Museum at 1:30 pm the first day and see a display with artifacts from the region. We travel on to enter the Book Cliffs at Horse Canyon. Once there, we’ll follow a steep rough road for about an hour, stop for a geology overview at an 8,500’ pass, then drop into Little Horse Canyon and continue on until we reach the locked gate protecting the canyon.
Our group size is small (8 plus staff). Usually participants travel from Green River in CFI vehicles. However, modifications for Covid 19 cautions will include adjustments to transportation plans, and adherence to other CDC and outfitting guidelines. Typically, participants transfer to CFI vehicles from our meeting point in Green River. For 2021, we will allow for an option to “caravan” from that point in private vehicles. Please note however, the road from Highway 6 that goes up Horse Canyon is a dirt and very steep road, requiring 4Wdrive with low gear abilities. The private vehicles can go as far as our base camp outside the locked gate. Travel within the canyon along the Ranch road must be in CFI vehicles as per our permit to operate there. Masks will be required while in the vehicle but not outside as long as distancing can be maintained. Participants DO still have the option of traveling entirely in CFI vehicles from start to finish.
Outside the North Gate, we set up a comfortable base camp in a lovely meadow under pine trees. By foot, we’ll visit a rock art site near the camp. After a delicious dinner, we’ll learn more about the area’s preservation issues and geology. Over the next two days, we cover the 14 miles inside the gate to the Wilcox Ranch homestead which now serves as caretaker quarters and graduate field school base camp. The exact stops vary by current conditions and group interest. Our itinerary will visit several rock art panels and a Fremont pit house village up close; other structures and panels are viewed at some distance with binoculars and spotting scope. Our route and stops are as allowed under our contract with Utah Museum of Natural History that manages research and access. We will be in and out of vehicles often, and walk to sites relatively close to the road, with most 100 feet distance. One optional walk would be about 1 mile in length. The last day after lunch, we depart Range Creek about 2:30 pm, arriving back at Green River about 4:30 pm.
” I cannot say enough good things about our guest expert and our camp cook/support guides from CFI. Coordinating, packing, unpacking, delicious meals, superb guiding and driving and in spite of long and early hours. They remained pleasant, humble, always aware of client needs… and shared a wealth of interesting knowledge.”
Susan Zanoli, Montrose, CO
Discover how Range Creek is a field school for the University of Utah’s Department of Anthropology.
Read the Smithsonian Magazine’s article Secrets of the Range Creek Ranch.
Learn about the Range Creek Research Project at the Natural History Museum of Utah website.
Up to one mile round trip hikes on relatively flat trails with up to 250 feet of elevation gain per day. One optional walk involves a shallow creek crossing.