Have you ever wanted to learn how we know so much about the lives and rituals of past cultures? Do you have a passion for history’s mysteries? Do you visit museums and wonder where they learn about how artifacts were used?
A tour of Range Creek Canyon in the Carbon Corridor is a chance to visit active archaeological sites, see the signs of past cultures etched into the landscape and learn how archaeologists read the landscape from experienced guides. Range Creek Canyon is truly unique as it was preserved by a local farmer who protected the land before selling it to the state in 2003. As a result, the valley is undeveloped and its archaeological sites are untouched by the public. The University of Utah runs an ongoing archaeological field camp in the valley, surveying the hills and excavating sites to learn more about the enigmatic Fremont people that lived there one thousand years ago.
Tours are booked through the Carbon County Recreation and Events Center, one of only three tour groups permitted to drive into the canyon, and they book up fast, so if you are interested give us a call and book your spot. However, if the trips are full, you can arrange for a private tour for up to 21 people.
On the tour, guides will point out the remnants of pit houses and granaries and take you to see the rock art that pepper the canyon walls. The tour is a great chance to learn what we know and what researchers are hoping to learn from studying the sites throughout the canyon. See for yourself how the Fremont people chose to live, high above water sources, perched atop rocky outcrops. Why did they make their houses high up the canyon walls? Why did they build granaries into sheer cliff walls, making access to their harvest so challenging?
Why did they choose to live in such a precarious and dangerous environment?
The tour is a full day of exploring the canyon that leaves from Price, Utah at dawn, driving you into the scenic canyon just as the sun is rising. Once at the gates, you will be greeted with breathtaking views of the canyon from the mountain’s peak (don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars, you are going to want them).
As your journey descends into the canyon you will see rock art, granaries, and a number of pithouse villages as the tour makes multiple stops. Deep in the canyon, you will explore the Wilcox Family Ranch House, home to the family that cared for this land for many generations. A “lunch and learn” will break up the day, with the meal provided by a local restaurant and a discussion led by an employee from the Utah Natural History Museum on the canyon’s ecology, history, and prehistory. The afternoon offers further opportunity to explore even more archaeological sites throughout the canyon. It is a full day of exploration and learning that ends back in Price, just in time to enjoy dinner at one of the Corridor’s many fine dining establishments.
A Range Creek tour is one of the best ways to learn and see the prehistory of Utah. Stay awhile in the Corridor and continue your rock art exploring trip in 9 Mile Canyon, commonly referred to as the world’s largest outdoor art gallery, as well as the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum.
Looking to plan a trip? Visit www.carboncorridor.com and learn more about all that the area has to offer.
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