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Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Crow Canyon?
Crow Canyon is located 4 miles northwest of the town of Cortez (off Hwy 491) in spectacular southwestern Colorado. We are about 40 miles northeast of Four Corners Monument, where the four states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. Located amidst majestic mountains, mesas, and canyons, our campus is just 15 miles west of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park. See map with driving directions to Crow Canyon.
How do I get there by car?
Although Crow Canyon is located in rural Colorado, major highways link it to cities in all directions. We are approximately 50 miles west of Durango, Colorado (via Highway 160); 400 miles southwest of Denver, Colorado; 250 miles northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico; 400 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona; and 350 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah. See map with driving directions to Crow Canyon.
What if I want to travel by airplane?
The Cortez Municipal Airport receives multiple flights daily from Denver. You may rent a car at the airport, or we will arrange for a Crow Canyon staff member to pick you up.
Alternatively, you may fly into one of the following cities and rent a car:
What are the accommodations for an on-campus program?
We provide shared accommodations in Navajo-style log cabins (called hogans) or in dormitory-style rooms in the lodge. Each hogan houses up to four people in a single room; shower and bathroom facilities are in a separate building readily accessible to all hogans. In the lodge, showers and bathrooms are located down the hall from the dormitory-style rooms. All facilities are fully heated, and the classrooms are air-conditioned, but the sleeping quarters are not (we generally enjoy relatively cool nights in this area).
Crow Canyon does not provide private rooms or private baths. Couples need to be aware that they might not be housed together, and they should pack accordingly. Room assignments are made approximately two weeks prior to the program and are based on the number of programs and people on campus. Requests will be honored if possible, but special arrangements cannot be guaranteed. Families are housed together during Family Archaeology Week.
You must bring your own bedding and linens. Basically, you will need a light sleeping bag (or sheets and blankets), a pillow, a towel, and a washcloth. If you would like, you may ship these items to us via UPS. We are a UPS station, so return-shipping arrangements can be made while you are on campus. See What to Bring.
Can I stay in a local motel and still participate in an on-campus program?
Yes. If you prefer to stay in town at a motel, information on local accommodations can be sent to you, or you can go to the visitor information section of the Cortez Chamber of Commerce Web site for a list of area lodgings. If you choose to stay off campus, the price of your program will be reduced. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided on campus.
If I sign up for consecutive campus programs, may I stay on campus over the weekend?
You may stay over on a Saturday night for an additional fee. Saturday lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday breakfast and lunch, will be on your own.
What does the campus look like?
The campus is nestled in a sage- and juniper-covered canyon (see the Photo Gallery). There is a beautiful meadow with a tree-shaded pond in front of the lodge, where, if you're lucky, you'll see deer in the early morning or late evening. The lodge and hogans are situated on a hillside with a view of majestic mountain peaks, and a short nature trail winds through the woods. You can enjoy your meals on the lodge deck and spend a quiet evening viewing our Southwestern sunsets. It's a very peaceful environment in which to spend a few days or a few weeks. Here's an aerial view of the campus. Click on the image to enlarge.
What kind of clothes and personal supplies should I bring?
When you register for a program, a suggested gear and clothing list will be sent to you. In general, you will want to bring clothing and shoes appropriate for outdoor activities. The dress is very casual! There are no laundry facilities on campus, so bring enough clothes to last the duration of your stay. Long pants, shorts, and T-shirts are appropriate for most activities (tank tops and halter tops are not recommended). You'll need a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirts to protect yourself from the sun, rain gear (just in case), and gloves for digging. Water bottles and sunglasses are a must, and don't forget the sunscreen! For a handy checklist, see What to Bring.
Can I buy things on campus?
Crow Canyon has a small gift shop, located in the Gates Archaeology Laboratory (see the campus map). For participants enrolled in on-campus programs, gift shop hours are Monday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, books, and some gift items are available, as well as some basic personal-care items.
What are the meals like?
Three delicious meals are served cafeteria-style each day in the lodge dining hall. The food is not your standard camp foodour chef, Jim Martin, and his staff provide exceptional fare. Vegetarian options are available at most meals. Coffee, lemonade, iced tea, and fresh fruit are available on campus all day. Soft drinks are available from a vending machine behind the lodge. We will do our best to accommodate your special dietary needsplease call ahead.
What about emergency medical care?
Our staff has first aid and CPR training, but we do not have physicians, nurses, or emergency medical technicians present on campus or with groups during off-campus activities. A local physician is on-call, and it is only about 10 minutes from the campus to a full-care regional hospital (off-campus activities may be considerably farther from hospital facilities).
Do you have a library?
There are two areas on campus for reading and quiet relaxation: the lounge in the lodge and the reception area in the Gates Archaeology Laboratory (an adults-only area). Both are furnished with comfortable seating. Books and games for children are available in the lounge in the lodge. There are books and magazines for adults in the lodge and in the lobby of the Gates building.
Will I be able to watch television?
A VCR/DVD, monitor, and educational videos are available, but we do not have television reception.
Is there Internet access? Will I be able to use my laptop computer?
Students in school group programs are "unplugged" during their Crow Canyon experience; computers are not available for student use. Four computers in the lobby of the Gates Archaeology Laboratory are available for adult use only. We ask that users limit their time on the computer to 15 minutes. The Cortez Public Library also has computers with Internet access. If you wish to use your personal lap-top computer via a wireless network, you will need to discuss protocols with our director of information services before your arrival.
Will I be able to get to town to shop or do laundry?
In case of a medical emergency, Crow Canyon will transport you to town. In most other cases (for example, to shop or do laundry), you must arrange for your own transportation. Participants with cars may volunteer to do some local transporting. There is one local cab company.
What if I'm a smoker?
Smoking is permitted outside in the designated smoking area behind the lodge, but not inside any of the buildings.
May I bring a pet?
Although we, too, are animal lovers, pets are not allowed on campus. If you would like information on local boarding facilities for your animal, please give us a call.
Do you have any adult-only programs?
Our travel adventures are designed for adults. Our archaeology adventures include some programs that are for adults only, but adults enrolled in these programs may share the campus with other guests, ranging from elementary schoolchildren enrolled in school group programs to teens enrolled in one of our summer camps.
Are there any volunteer opportunities to excavate with Crow Canyon?
There are NO cost-free volunteer opportunities on our dig sites. If you want to excavate, we invite you to register for our Archaeology Research Program for adults. Your tuition, which includes room and board, supports our research and education programs. If you are interested in non-dig volunteer opportunities with Crow Canyon, please call the vice president of campus services at 800.422.8975, ext.149.
The Four Corners Region
What's the weather like in the area?
The climate is very dry with lots of sunny days. The sun is strong in the summer months, and precautions should be taken against heat and sunburn. Keep in mind that you will also need to drink lots of water to keep hydrated while working outside in the heat. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in late July and August. The evenings are often cool, even in the summer months, so a light jacket is important any time of the year. In winter, we sometimes have heavy snow; however, temperate weather with lots of sunshine is our specialty year-round!
The elevation of Cortez is 6200 ft. Ultraviolet exposure increases approximately 4 percent for every 1000 feet above sea level. It's important that you protect your skin with sunscreen and appropriate clothing when you are outdoors.
What about bugs and wildlife?
Depending on the weather and the season, we have the normal high-desert annoying critters: mosquitoes, gnats, etc. You may want to bring insect repellent. Larger animal life includes deer, rabbits, birds (including hawks, eagles, and pheasants), snakes, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, and an occasional mountain lion.
What recreational facilities are available?
Lots! For a detailed list of area attractions, including recreational facilities and opportunities, see Area Attractions. Participants must arrange for their own transportation to town.