*SOLD OUT* Line of Sight: The Bears Ears

Blanding, UT


Trace the “High Road” of Ancestral Puebloans by visiting Great Houses, Tower Sites, and Petroglyph Panels of high places. Begin our journey in the shadow of Mesa Verde, wind through Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and explore the iconic landscapes within Bears Ears National Monument. We explore the ways ancient communities were interconnected through line-of-sight monuments, which linked communities throughout the Mesa Verde and Chaco worlds. 


  • Expand your knowledge of Southwest history as we explore cultural sites with strong ties to Crow Canyon research and Hopi ethnography.
  • Enjoy time at the Stone Lizard Lodge, where we base most of our travel to access nearby destinations within a sacred cultural landscape.
  • Hike to sites that reveal carefully planned architecture and petroglyphs that tell a story of an ever expanding Pueblo world.

What to Expect

Meals, lodging, and transportation provided

Sunday, October 23: Arrive to Crow Canyon

Gather in the evening for an opening celebration and dinner at Crow Canyon.

Overnight at Crow Canyon in our cabin complex.

Monday, October 24: Crow Canyon Research, Great Houses, and Collections

Understand our current research at the Haynie excavation site in the shadow of Mesa Verde. Learn how carefully curated artifacts offer clues to how ancestral communities are related to each other.

Overnight at Crow Canyon in our cabin complex.

Tuesday, October 25: Ancestral Pueblo Design in High Places

Walk through Sand Canyon Pueblo and understand how Great Houses are laid according to an architectural plan and connect to other Pueblos. Transfer to Blanding where we learn about carefully curated ceremonial artifacts at Edge of the Cedars Museum.

Overnight Stone Lizard Lodge

Wednesday, October 26: Integrating Landscape Monuments with Pueblos

Learn how line-of-sight Pueblos are connected to monuments and viewsheds in the landscape as we spend the day outdoors hiking to different Great Houses and Towers in the Comb Ridge area.

Overnight Stone Lizard Lodge

Thursday, October 27: Great Houses High and Low

Explore sites along Cottonwood Wash to connect the dots of how underworld complexes relate to highworld Great Houses.

Overnight Stone Lizard Lodge

Friday, October 28: Hopi Migrations and Rock Art

Visit important rock art panels and a cave site within Comb Ridge. Together we investigate how Comb Ridge defines one of the most important geological features that ties together people settling here from different directions.

Overnight Stone Lizard Lodge

Saturday, October 29: Departures from Blanding

After breakfast we shuttle back to Cortez and Durango for departures. Plan your flight to depart from Cortez or Durango airports any time after noon. 

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

Is this program right for me?

What to Expect

This program involves van travel and hiking to access both frontcountry and backcountry sites. Daily van rides should last no longer than 40-minutes each way. Our longest van ride involves transport from Cortez, CO to Blanding, UT, to last a little over 1-hour each way.

We start our program with short hikes of 10-20 minutes to access sites. As the program progresses, we build on our hiking abilities to take us onto backcountry trails and routes. Expect some hikes to last up 3-hours at a time on uneven, rocky, and sandy trails. One site takes us to the top of Comb Ridge, for an elevation gain 1,000-feet. While at a site we may stand or sit on the ground to participate in discussion with our scholars.


Plan to spend the first two nights in simple cabins on Crow Canyon’s campus. You may have your own room or share, if you prefer. The remaining four nights will be spent at Stone Lizard Lodge (stonelizardlodge.com), a comfortable Guest Lodge from which we base our Bears Ears excursions each day. Stone Lizard Lodge is a staff favorite accommodation as each room is a bit different and has its own personality. Our Inn Keeper, Kathy, is a long-time friend and will prepare meals for us during our stay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How strenuous is the program? This program includes some strenuous hikes where you will carry a pack with water and food for the day.

How long are the hikes on the trip? The first few days involve short hikes of a mile or less. The last couple days involve extended hikes across uneven terrain in backcountry settings. Bring and carry your own daypack with water, food, and other items you may need.

How much elevation gain do the hikes have? Most hikes involve elevation gain of 100- to 200-feet. One hike of concern involves hiking to the top of Comb Ridge, a 1000-foot elevation gain and descent.

What time does the program start on the first day? We will gather in the evening at 5:30 p.m. at Crow Canyon on the first day. Plan to check in to your cabin from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. before we convene.

What time does the program end the last day? We depart from our lodging in Blanding in the morning around 8:00 a.m. on the last day.

Will airport transfers be provided? Crow Canyon provides transport to/from both Durango and Cortez airports.

Can I drive myself during the program? Can I bring an RV to stay in instead? You may drive your own vehicle, though we prefer you ride in the vans with the group. Should you wish to extend your trip in the Bears Ears area, consider relocating your vehicle to Blanding on the day we move our base accommodation. Otherwise, personal vehicles can be parked on the Crow Canyon campus for the duration of our program. RVs are acceptable should you wish to park it on campus; however, we do not have electrical hookups or dump stations.

What if I have a dietary restriction? We will do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions to your satisfaction.

Program Details