Bears Ears: Off the Map

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Set your compass aside and venture into Bears Ears National Monument

October 7–12, 2019

Sold out! To be placed on the waiting list, call 800.422.8975, ext. 457.  What begins with a behind-the-scenes tour of a museum will quickly turn into the adventure of a lifetime. Hike into Bears Ears with extraordinary scholars who will take you off-the-map to show you what the land has to offer. This one-of-a-kind camping adventure will leave you with a new found appreciation for history and culture.


  • Spend three nights camping under the stars in Bears Ears National Monument.
  • Learn about the deep history of the area from Craig Childs and Lyle Balenquah.
  • Visit incredible sites throughout the Bears Ears landscape.

About the Bears Ears Program

  1. Scholars
  2. Accommodations
  3. Is This Trip For You?
  4. FAQs
  5. Terms & Policies

Lyle Balenquah

Lyle Balenquah (Hopi) is a member of the Greasewood clan from the Bacavi village. He holds a Masters of Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. Balenquah has worked in 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 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.


Craig Childs

Craig Childs is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of over a dozen books. Childs writes about the relationship between humans, animals, landscape, and time. He has followed ancient Pueblo passages on foot across the southwest; his stories come from personal experiences ranging from journeys into the deep wildness to conversations with illicit artifact dealers. His most recent book, Atlas of a Lost World, was released March 2018.

All accommodation reservations are made by Crow Canyon Archaeological Canyon as part of your program. Here is a sneak peek into where you will be staying throughout the trip:

Best Western Durango Inn & Suites - Located on 56 scenic acres in Durango, this hotel is the perfect anchor for this trip. It's close to historic downtown, the train depot, restaurants, and shopping.

Camping in Bears Ears -The majority of the trip will be spent camping in Bears Ears National Monument. We will have a base camp in the park from which we will set out each day. Set up your tent and relax beneath the stars as each night wraps up with stories around the campfire. If you are curious about the facilities and logistics of camping, please check out the “Is This Trip Right For You?” tab.


This program includes intensive hiking across rugged and remote canyon lands. You may be required to hike up to four or five miles a day on uneven, rocky, and un-established trails. Some routes may be impeded by boulders and low-angle bedrock. While staff members are available for assistance, you should be comfortable using your hands to steady yourself and be able to take steps higher than a standard staircase step to navigate around the boulders and bedrock.


The elevation levels for this trip will range from 4,000 to 9,000 feet. We recommend ramping up your exercise regime prior to arrival or arriving a day or two early to acclimate, especially if coming from sea level. If you have any questions, please contact your physician.

Remote Facilities?

This program includes three nights of camping in a remote landscape where urban comforts and running water are not available. While we take advantage of facilities along our travels, many are not available at trail-heads or throughout our hikes. We will offer a simple “hiker’s toiletry kit” if you wish. We always practice “Leave No Trace” ethics. In base camp we will have a camp style bucket/shelter set up for use. Elements of this trip involve backcountry travel in vans. Expect travel on winding, dirt roads.

Cultural Sensitivity?

We will traverse a sacred landscape – the ancestral homeland of descendent communities. It is a violation of the Society of American Archaeology code of ethics for program participants to keep any artifacts or other cultural or paleontological remains from any archaeological site. It is against the law for participants to keep any such materials collected from state or federal land. It is our hope that you become site stewards and help us preserve our national heritage for future generations.

Should I get travel insurance?

Yes, we highly recommend that all of our program participants purchase some type of travel insurance to help you protect your purchase against any unforeseen circumstances. When you don’t purchase travel insurance, you risk losing your full deposit and any other payments that you have made toward the trip. Crow Canyon does not endorse any particular travel insurance agency, but we recommend visiting InsureMyTrip.com (link) as a starting point. At the least, Crow Canyon recommends purchasing cancellation, evacuation, and/or baggage insurance.

If I cancel, will I get my deposit back?

If you cancel before 90 days prior to the start of the program, you can get a refund equal to 50% of your deposit. Instead of a refund, you could transfer your deposit to another program through 2020 or turn your deposit into a tax-deductible donation. If you cancel after 90 days prior to the program, you forfeit all payments and your deposit.

Do I bring my own camping gear?

You are welcome and encouraged to bring your own camping gear with you on this trip. While it's not a long distance, please keep in mind when packing that you will have to carry your own gear to the campsite and back out of the park at the end of the trip. If you do not have your own camping gear, Crow Canyon offers camping gear rentals. If you need to rent gear, let our Enrollment Specialists know when you register for this program.

Who should I reach out to with questions?

Crow Canyon’s Cultural Explorations team works hard all year planning these incredible trips. If you have questions regarding the itinerary, accommodations, travel, etc. please reach out to David Boyle by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 970-564-4360.

If you have questions about payments or invoices, please contact our Enrollment Specialists by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 800-422-8975, ext. 457.

For further information on the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s Terms, Conditions, and Cancellation Policies please click here. You will find details on tuition, cancellations, travel insurance, accommodations, medical information, and more.

Tuition & Reservation

Single Tuition
  Member*: $3,765
  Non-member: $3,890

Shared Tuition
  Member*: $3,595
  Non-member: $3,720

Registration Deadline: August 8, 2019

Deposit (due at time of registration): $1,000
*If you are interested in becoming a Crow Canyon member, please contact our Enrollment Specialists.

To Register:
Call: 800-422-8975, ext. 457
E-mail: [email protected]

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