Crow Canyon

Overnight Trips

  • Hands-on Learning in The Lab
    Hands-on Learning in The Lab
  • Hands-on Learning in The Field
    Hands-on Learning in The Field
  • Mesa Verde National Park
    Mesa Verde National Park
  • New Cabins
    New Cabins
  • Experiential Education
    Experiential Education
  • The Crow Canyon Campus
    The Crow Canyon Campus

Learn about archaeology through experiential activities

Crow Canyon’s overnight programs for school groups are designed for students in grades 4 through 12. All programs include the basics of Pueblo history and an introduction to the science of archaeology. Choose a longer program to allow time for additional hands-on activities, evening programs, and tours, such as a daylong guided tour of Mesa Verde National Park—an outdoor classroom unlike any other.

In our flagship 5–day field archaeology program, middle and high school students learn the basics of Pueblo history, then contribute to Crow Canyon's ongoing research by working with our professional archaeologists, analyzing ancient artifacts in the laboratory, and excavating at an archaeological site.

About this Program

  1. Overview
  2. Staff
  3. Housing
  4. Getting Here
  5. Tuition and Fees
  6. Details

Daily Schedule
Breakfast: 7:30–8:15 a.m.
Morning activity: 8:30 a.m.–noon
Lunch: noon–12:45 p.m.
Afternoon activity: 1:30–about 4:30 p.m. The end time varies somewhat, depending on the day’s activities.
Dinner: 5:30–6:15 p.m.
Evening program: 6:15 p.m.

Paul Ermigiotti Paul Ermigiotti (B.A., Anthropology, Penn State University) is an educator at Crow Canyon. He has worked at Crow Canyon since 1990; before that, he worked at Mesa Verde National Park. He specializes in creating replicas of ancestral Pueblo artifacts, including pottery, projectile points, atlatls, and bone tools. He helps lead Crow Canyon’s Pueblo Farming Project, working in collaboration with traditional Pueblo Indian farmers. Paul directs planting and harvesting of the experimental gardens and collects data from them each week. Outside of work, Paul’s interests include music, biking, skiing, and birding.

Rebecca Hammond Rebecca (Becky) Hammond (A.F.A., Fine Arts, Institute of American Indian Arts) joined Crow Canyon as an educator in 1997. In the years since, she has taught participants of all ages in many different kinds of programs, including school programs, teen camps, and adult travel programs. As a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, she brings an American Indian perspective to Crow Canyon’s work. In addition to being a teacher, she is also a bead artist. Taught by her grandmother in traditional beading techniques, she enjoys drawing on both traditional Ute and ancestral Pueblo designs to create her own style of artwork.

Tyson Hughes Tyson Hughes (B.A., Anthropology, Fort Lewis College) is an educator at Crow Canyon. He has been involved with Crow Canyon since he attended programs here as a child. As an archaeologist, he has worked in many areas throughout the country, but his passion lies in the archaeology of southwestern Colorado where he grew up. As an educator, he enjoys sharing his knowledge of this region with students. He is an avid flintknapper and specializes in prehistoric lithic technologies. When he is not at work, he enjoys exploring the mountains, canyons, and rivers of this beautiful Four Corners region with his family and friends.

Students stay in our comfortable cabins, which are new in 2016. The cabins have been designed to be energy efficient and to blend well with the landscape. Students may also be housed in our hogans (Navajo-style log cabins). Both accommodations have bunk beds; students and chaperons must bring their own bedding and towels. Bathrooms (with showers) are located down the hall in each cabin. If your group is staying in the hogans, there is a separate "superhogan" with men's and women's bathrooms with four shower stalls in each. You may want to assign shower times (for example, morning or evening) to alleviate crowding.

Housing is assigned by Crow Canyon on the basis of the number of groups on campus, the numbers of students and chaperons in each group, and the facilities available. We will do our best to honor requests for the cabins or hogans but cannot guarantee specific accommodations. The cabins are coed, but individual rooms are not; your child's roommates will be other students of the same sex. Chaperons stay in separate rooms in the cabins and provide supervision. We cannot guarantee that chaperons will have accommodations to themselves, nor do we provide single‐person accommodations.

Crow Canyon offers a varied and delicious menu, served cafeteria‐style in the lodge. Most special diets can be accommodated. Lemonade, water, iced tea, and fruit are available at all times. Off-campus lunches (for example, at the archaeological site and at Mesa Verde National Park) are served picnic‐style. Soft drinks, water, and juice are available from vending machines located behind the lodge. If you do not want students to use the machines, you must set your own rules and let students know before your arrival. You may choose to bring your own snacks, such as fruit or microwave popcorn. If you allow students to bring their own snacks, you must collect all snacks and store them in the kitchen in a space that will be assigned to you. Food and drinks (other than water) are not permitted in any cabin room or hogan at any time.

Laundry Facilities
There are no laundry facilities on campus. You and your students should pack enough clothing to last the duration of your stay.

Crow Canyon’s 170-acre campus, located just outside the town of Cortez, features a large meadow, pinyon- and juniper-covered hillsides, and spectacular views of Mesa Verde and the La Plata Mountains. A short nature trail winds through the woods. Buildings on campus include the lodge, where students take their meals; the cabins and hogans, where students are housed; and the Gates Archaeology Laboratory, which houses classrooms, offices, and a small gift shop in addition to the lab. Two learning centers—one a life-size replica of a seventh-century pithouse, the other of a twelfth-century pueblo—allow students to “experience” life in the ancient past.

Crow Canyon is located amidst majestic mountains, mesas, and canyons about 4 miles northwest of the town of Cortez in southwestern Colorado. We are 15 miles west of the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park and 40 miles northeast of the Four Corners Monument, where the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.

Driving to Crow Canyon
Major highways link Cortez to cities in all directions. We are 50 miles west of Durango, Colorado; 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.

Traveling by Air
The Cortez Municipal Airport, located about 15 minutes from campus, is served by Boutique Airlines (via Denver and Phoenix). The Durango–La Plata County Airport, located about 80 minutes from campus, is served by United Express (via Denver) and American Airlines (via Phoenix and Dallas-Fort Worth). Crow Canyon will provide shuttle transportation to and from both airports at no extra charge to program participants. Alternatively, you may fly into one of the following cities and rent a vehicle: Farmington, New Mexico (75 miles to Cortez); or Albuquerque, New Mexico (about a 5-hour drive to Cortez).

For information on motorcoach transportation from Durango, you may call Herrera Coaches at 505.242.1108 or USA Bus Charter at 800.979.4498. (Note: Crow Canyon has no formal arrangement with Herrera Coaches or USA Bus Charter.)

Transportation While You Are Here
Crow Canyon provides local transportation to sites, the Anasazi Heritage Center, and Mesa Verde National Park. However, if you drive or come in a motorcoach that will be in Cortez during your stay, you may want to use your own vehicle. Your assistance provides us with greater scheduling flexibility (see page 2 of Program Arrangements Form in “Required Forms for Group Leader”).

The following tuition rates are based on a minimum of 10 students. Groups with fewer than 10 students will be charged for the minimum of 10.

Scholarships are available for local and American Indian schools. For more information, contact a sales and enrollment specialist.

  Cost per student Cost per required chaperon
Five-Day Field Archaeology Program $780 $395
Five-Day Archaeology Program $715 $395
Four-Day Archaeology Program $600 $320
Three-Day Archaeology Program $455 $245
Two-Day Archaeology Program $315 $170
Overnight Archaeology $185 $95
One-Day Field Trip $45 No charge for chaperons

Schools are required to provide their own chaperons, which may include teachers and parents. Please note that Crow Canyon is a licensed child-care camp (license number 46348) governed by State of Colorado regulations. We are required by state law to adhere to the following chaperon-to-student ratios:

  • Children 8–10 years of age (grades 4–5): 1 adult chaperon to every 8 children
  • Children 11–13 years of age (grades 6–7): 1 adult chaperon to every 10 children
  • Children 14–18 years of age (grades 8–12): 1 adult chaperon to every 12 children

Contingent upon available space, schools may bring more than the required number of chaperons. Additional chaperons pay the student rate.

Tuition and fees cover lodging based on shared accommodations, meals as agreed upon in the final contract, entry fees, and permits. Transportation to and from Cortez, Colorado, is the school’s responsibility.

Group Leader Information (includes checklists)

What to Expect

Chaperon Responsibilities

Gear List

Getting to Crow Canyon

Staying in Touch

Archaeological Ethics

Campus Rules

Terms, Conditions, and Cancellation Policy

Safety & Medical Information

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

Contact Us

Programs are on hold due to COVID-19. Please contact us for updates, or join us every Thursday at 4:00 p.m. for the Discover Archaeology webinar series. Check the homepage for upcoming events.

For more information, please contact one of our sales and enrollment specialists:

800.422.8975, ext. 455
M–F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mountain Time)

[email protected]

"The hands-on learning is engaging and informative. The students make discoveries while having a great time."
Alicia Knox, teacher, Colorado Academy, 2015

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Our Campus

View of the Crow Canyon campus and Ute Mountain

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is located on a beautiful 170-acre campus in southwest Colorado, close to Mesa Verde National Park and the town of Cortez. Read more.

Learning Centers

jk 2013 PLC Pithouse

Students "experience" another time and culture in replica Pueblo Indian structures on the Crow Canyon campus.

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Daytime Activities

jk 2012 hannibal lab 04

Students actively participate in the learning process through hands-on activities and group discussion. 

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Evening Programs

rb 2009 David Nighteagle

When your school group stays on campus for at least two nights, one or more evening programs are included with your program.

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