Backcountry Archaeology: The Bears Ears

  • The Bears Ears with wildflowers
    The Bears Ears with wildflowers

    Photo: Tim Peterson

May 7–13, 2018

Sold out! To be placed on the waiting list, call 800.422.8975, ext. 457.  Experience the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah, including the extraordinary landscapes of Comb Ridge, Cedar Mesa, and Elk Ridge. Hike through the backcountry, explore the area’s diverse archaeology, and gain perspectives from present-day native cultures with regard to preservation of cultural resources.

"This trip will rank as the best archaeology expedition I have been on—from start to finish—absolutely perfect . . . . my idea of the perfect archaeological learning adventure is to explore sites with the experts in the area who are not normally accessible to the general public, and that is what you provided."
— Jaye, 2017 Hiking the Bears Ears program participant


  • Travel with a nationally recognized spokesperson for the establishment and preservation of the Bears Ears National Monument and an archaeologist whose research in the area is leading to a new understanding of ancestral Pueblo culture and communities.
  • Enjoy backcountry hikes to spectacular archaeological sites in Utah’s canyon country.
  • See ancient artifacts up close on a behind-the-scenes curation tour.

About this Program

  1. Scholar
  2. Accommodations
  3. What to Expect
  4. Details

Lyle BalenquahLyle Balenquah (Hopi) is a member of the Greasewood clan from the village of Bacavi. He has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from Northern Arizona University. For more than 15 years, he has worked throughout the American Southwest as an archaeologist documenting ancestral Hopi settlements and lifeways. Currently he works as an independent consultant; his work experience includes time with the National Park Service, the Hopi Tribe, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. He also works as a part-time hiking and river guide, combining his professional knowledge and training with personal insights about his ancestral history to provide a unique forum for public education. Lyle discusses Hopi rock art and Crow Canyon programs in this video:


Ben BelloradoBen Bellorado is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona. He has been living and working as an archaeologist in the Four Corners area for almost 20 years. Ben’s dissertation investigates how ancestral Pueblo people used wall murals and textiles as a powerful means of signaling their socioreligious identities among communities in the Mesa Verde region during the 13th century. Many of Ben’s research sites lie within the Bears Ears area.

All nights are spent in comfortable hotels and motels. Shared accommodations based on double occupancy; single accommodations are available for an additional fee of $360.

While in the Bears Ears National Monument exploring the area’s diverse archaeological history, physical exertion may be required. Please read below to learn more:

This program has elements of intensive hiking. You may be required to hike up to three miles a day on uneven, rocky and un-established trails. Some trails may be impeded by boulders and low-angle bedrock so you should be comfortable using your hands to steady yourself and be able to take steps higher than a standard staircase step. During the trip, you may be visiting remote locations with limited amenities. There is the possibility of stopping at gas stations for bathroom stops. The elevation during the whole trip will range from 5000 and 8000 ft. We recommend ramping up your exercise regime prior to arrival or arriving a day or two in advance to acclimate, especially if coming from sea level. If you are concerned about your ability to do any of these activities, please consult your physician.

Tuition is per person and based on shared accommodations. Tuition includes scholar honorarium, accommodations, meals listed, entry fees and permits, most gratuities, and transportation from arrival in Cortez, Colorado, on May 7, 2018, until departure from Cortez on May 13, 2018. Transportation to and from Cortez is your responsibility.

All cancellation requests must be made in writing to Crow Canyon Sales and Enrollment Specialist, 23390 Road K, Cortez, CO 81321-9408, or e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Cancellations become effective on the date received. The following penalty schedule applies: On or before March 7, 2018, $200 handling fee; after March 7, 2018, forfeiture of all payments.

Terms, Conditions, and Cancellation Policy

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's programs and admission practices are open to applicants of any race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation.

Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California CST 2059347-50

Tuition & Reservation

$2,495 (member*)
$2,620 (nonmember)
*Minimum $100 level (see Membership)

Deposit: $400
Balance due: March 7, 2018

Cancellation policy:
Cancellation on or before March 7, 2018, $200 handling fee; after March 7, 2018, forfeiture of all payments. See details tab for more information.

Bring a friend and save!

  800.422.8975, ext. 457
     M–F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mountain Time)

  [email protected]

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