Cedar Mesa Car Camp

Cedar Mesa Car Camp
May 8-13, 2017
Trip Leader: Don Keller
Cost: $900 members/$1000 non-members
Difficulty: Moderate

Join archaeologist Don Keller for an in-depth exploration of Cedar Mesa and the heart of the Monument Uplift.  The country from Comb Ridge west to Grand Gulch and from the Bears Ears south to the San Juan River contains one of the highest concentrations of outstanding archaeological sites in the nation.  Ancestral Pueblo settlement and pioneering 19th explorations have left a rich legacy on this visually arresting landscape.  We will drive from a central base camp to various parts of the area and day hike to mesa top sites and to prehistoric cliff dwellings, rock art, and natural oases deep in the splendid canyons.  Our days’ discoveries will invite contemplation and stimulate conversation, and we'll have time around our evening campfire to discuss what we’ve seen and reflect on the nature of this rare landscape and the human adaptations to it.

Cost includes transportation from MNA, delicious camp meals, and permits.  Readings, weather information, and equipment recommendations will be provided prior to our trip.

What to Expect: We will be traveling in a 12 passenger van with truck support, our trip beginning and ending in Flagstaff.  Elevations in the Uplift area range from 4000 up to 9000 feet, with most areas around 6500 feet.  Expect drives on dirt roads, some rough but not requiring 4-wheeling.  Participants should be comfortable hiking and walking for much of each day.  You will be asked to provide your health history and information prior to the trip.  Please call (928) 774-5211 x222 with questions or concerns.

Itinerary:                   

Day 1:  Meet at Museum of Northern Arizona Research Center parking lot at 7:00 a.m. for morning drive to southeast Utah.  Arrive on Cedar Mesa for field lunch and field camp set up.  Afternoon walk to nearby prehistoric Basketmaker and Pueblo sites.  Dinner and evening campfire with orientation.

Day 2-5:  Breakfast in camp.  Drive out and hike to a selection of iconic archaeological and natural sites located along Comb Ridge, the crest of Cedar Mesa itself, and within the mesa’s deep canyons.  Potential destinations include, as time and conditions allow, sites such as the Procession Panel and Long Fingers in Comb Ridge, Fortified Mesa and a recently discovered Chacoan-era great house on Cedar Mesa, and Moon House, Road Canyon, and the Government Trail to Polly’s Island in middle Grand Gulch.  We will carry our field lunches and return to camp each night for dinner and to enjoy our company and evening campfire.

Day 6:  Breakfast in camp.  Pack up and depart camp, with stop and short hike to notable prehistoric mesa-top site.  Field lunch en route.  Return to Flagstaff estimated around 5:00 p.m.


Cancellations must be received in writing by mail, fax, or email. If notice of cancellation is received before 30 days prior to departure, trip fees will be refunded less a $200.00 administrative fee. For one day trips, the administrative fee is $50.00. If cancellation notice is received after 30 days prior to departure, no refunds will be issued. If the Museum cancels a trip due to inclement weather or insufficient enrollment, a full refund including the deposit will be issued. MNA is not responsible for airline cancellation penalties in the event of cancellation for any reason. This policy is followed per person without exception. We highly recommend purchasing trip cancellation insurance.

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