Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.

- Michael Palin


Our Trips and Tours will explore dinosaurs, birds, gems, rock art, ancient ruins, living Native American events, railroad history, agricultural heritage, famous Southwest cultural events, and more.

Please download our 2019 Trip registration-medical form.

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Geology Jeep Tour of Canyonlands National Park

March 11

Photo courtesy of Led by Julia McHugh, Ph.D. Relax and let us do the driving. Canyonlands National Park is famous for its geological wonders and beauty. Experience the red rock landscape on an exciting Jeep caravan up historic Shafer Trail into the heart of the park. Marvel at towering monoliths, plunging canyons, majestic hoodoos, and more. Don’t forget your camera and hat on this scenic trip. This trip is full.

Nine-Mile Canyon Rock Art Tour

March 23

Photo courtesy of Zebulon Miracle Led by John Seebach, Ph.D., Colorado Mesa University Join Colorado Mesa University professor in Archeology John Seebach as he leads us to one of Utah’s best-known rock art sites and often called the “longest art gallery in the world.” Nine-Mile Canyon is a must for any rock art lover! The canyon, one of the most endangered archaeological sites today, has miles of Fremont, Ute, and Historic rock art. This trip…

Dominguez Canyon

Dominguez Canyon Hike: Petroglyphs, Waterfalls, and Desert Big Horn Sheep

April 6

Photo courtesy of Zebulon Miracle Led by Robert Gay and Peter Booth, Ph.D., in cooperation with Colorado Canyons Association Hike into the rugged red rock wilderness of Big Dominguez Canyon to learn about the history and geology of this storied part of Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. Our day long adventure will include visiting some delightful petroglyph panels, exploring a perennial waterfall, and learning about the flora and fauna of the canyons. Moderate seven-mile hike.  $90/Museum…

Slots and Goblins

April 19

Led by Julia McHugh, Ph.D. Discover the seclusion and wonder of sculpted sandstones in Utah’s remote San Rafael Swell. We will explore the Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon in the morning, one of the most accessible slot canyons in Utah, after which we will enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the Valley of Goblins before hiking into Goblin Valley State Park in the afternoon. Bring your camera, boots, poles, and wanderlust as we explore some of…

Spring Farm Tour in the North Fork Valley

April 27

Led by the Colorado West Land Trust The Museums of Western Colorado and Colorado West Land Trust invite you to join us on a journey through the scenic farm land of the spectacular North Fork Valley. We will visit three conserved family farms, including the 4th generation Ela Family Farm. Learn about the agricultural heritage of family farms in Hotchkiss and Paonia. Our journey includes a locally-sourced lunch with wine from area vintners. $95/Museum or…

Birding on the Colorado River

May 3 - May 5

Led by the Colorado Canyons Association Journey down Ruby-Horsethief Canyon on the Colorado River for a 3-day rafting and camping trip and discover the amazing avian diversity along the way. This fully outfitted adventure is a three-day/two-night river trip with an overnight at Colorado Canyons Association’s Catalpa Camp and includes a freshly prepared dinner, local wines, and fireside stories about area. Some hiking and light paddling. $525/Museum or CCA member; $575/Non-member $175/deposit Includes a fully…

Experiencing the Old and New of Native Colorado

May 23 - May 26

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Wade Shockley and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Mesa Verde and the Ute Bear Dance Led by Sally Crum, Colorado Anthropologist   Colorado’s Native American heritage is extremely rich—both old and new. Colorado anthropologist Sally Crum will lead this tour to the sites of the Ancestral Pueblos at Mesa Verde National Park. Next, we will experience the Southern Ute Reservation Bear Dance. As part of this journey, we will be staying…

Canyonlands Jet Boat Tour

June 7

Led by David Bailey, Curator of History The three-hour jet boat trip will travel through 2,200-foot canyon walls on the Colorado River. The group will take a short hike to a petrified forest and a fossilized sea bed. The tour will continue down river and see wonderful views of the arches, petroglyphs, and a unique view of prehistoric granary. The jet boat will travel through the bottom of Dead Horse State Park, Thelma and Louise…

Baxter Pass and the Uintah Railway

June 20

Led by Matt Darling, Cross Orchards Curator and Railroad Historian Discover the rich and unique history of Baxter Pass and the Uintah Railway, the steepest most crooked narrow gauge railway in North America. View the vistas and enjoy lunch on top of the pass. Visit Lake McAndrews and view the ruins of remote Dragon, UT. Marvel at the one of a kind geology of the Black Dragon Mine. Half-mile hike to the mine involved. $85/Museum…

Lazy H Ranch Tour

June 22

Led by the Colorado West Land Trust Ranching is one of the oldest traditions in Western Colorado. Come with the Museums of Western Colorado and Colorado West Land Trust on this tour of the historic and conserved Lazy H Ranch, a working ranch with approximately 4,100 acres. This beautiful ranch has two miles of frontage along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. The owners, Doug and Kerry Harris, are dedicated and very active in…

Paleontology of Ruby and Horsethief Canyons Field Experience

July 11 - July 12

Photo courtesy of Colorado Canyons Association Led by Julia McHugh, Ph.D., MWC Curator of Paleontology, and Rob Gay, CCA, in cooperation with the Colorado Canyons Association Join a crew of expert paleontologists as we search for fossils in the previously unexplored depths of the Colorado River's Ruby and Horsethief Canyons in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. Crews will spend two days hiking side canyons looking for fossils and learning about the geological and paleontological history of…

A Step Back in Time: Experiencing Victorian-Era Train Travel

July 17 - July 19

Led by Matt Darling, Cross Orchards Curator and Railroad Historian, and Peter Booth, Ph.D. Enjoy a total immersion into the past as we ride the rails in luxury. Our journey takes us to Durango where we stay at the historic General Palmer Hotel, built in 1898. Then we will ride the Durango & Silverton Railroad in Presidential Class. Once in Silverton, we will be enjoying the classic elegance of the 1883 Grand Imperial Hotel. Join…

Ghost Town of Independence

July 26

Photo courtesy of Aspen Historical Society Led by Nina Gabianelli, Aspen Historical Society With the help of the Aspen Historical Society, we will explore the ghost town of Independence—the first mining site in the Roaring Fork Valley. In the early 1880s, it was home to 1,500 miners, 40 businesses, three post offices, and a rich gold lode. However, it quickly went bust after its boom. Today, the ghost town is on National Register of Historic Places.…

Gems, Fossils, and Volcanoes of Eastern Idaho

July 29 - August 2

Led by Dr. Julia McHugh, MWC Curator of Paleontology The Gem State is a rock hound’s paradise. We will explore the volcanic Snake River Plain and Craters of the Moon National Monument to see first-hand the fiery origins of so many of the state’s geologic features. We will tour the Museum of Idaho and the Idaho Museum of Natural History, before stopping to collect our own raw opal from the Opal Capital of America –…

Best of the High Plains Chautauqua

August 5 - August 7

Led by Peter Booth, Ph.D. in cooperation with Colorado Humanities This journey provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy the excitement of live theater while discovering history presented in a whole different way. Chautauqua (pronounced “Chuh-TAW-Kwa”) is a unique blend of both. High Plains Chautauqua in Greeley has a national reputation as one of the premier gatherings. The theme in 2019 is “Best of the Past 20 Years” as they bring back some of their favorite…

Red Mountain Ghost Town Tour

August 16

Led by David Bailey, Curator of History Join us as we travel to the Red Mountain mining district with the San Juan Scenic Jeep Tour Company. Our group will visit the ghost towns of Red Mountain City, Congress, Guston, and Ironton. We will arrive in historic Ouray and have lunch on our own at one of the many fine eateries in town. We will then travel to Red Mountain in open air tour jeeps, and…

Santa Fe High Culture

August 16 - August 19

Photo courtesy of TOURISM Santa Fe & SWAIA Led by Peter Booth, Ph.D. and Bill Milius Join the Museums of Western Colorado as we experience the high culture of Santa Fe. Besides visiting museums and other cultural sites, the tour will experience the 98th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market where visitors buy directly from roughly 1,000 artists who represent over 200 tribal groups. We will also attend the Santa Fe Opera’s performance of La Boheme. In addition, we will…

Cimarron Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering

August 22 - August 25

Photo courtesy of Bill Patterson Led by Peter Booth, Ph.D. Cowboy poetry and music embodies a mystery and wildness that is hard to find today. The Museums of Western Colorado will journey to the Cimarron Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering to savor these real Western stories. The live performances by nationally known musicians and poets captures the spirit of the true West in the beautiful environment of northern New Mexico. The journey will also experience…

Corkscrew Pass Jeep Tour

September 13

Led by David Bailey, Curator of History On this high-altitude thriller, the tour will travel along the beautiful and historic jeep trails past Ouray to the Red Mountain area. It follows the Million Dollar Highway and skirts the edge of Red Mountain past the Queen Anne Mine and other remnants of the “San Juan Excitement” mining boom. The jeep tour then traverses Corkscrew Pass to Hurricane Pass at 12,500 ft., for an incredible bird’s eye…

Fall Colors Tour to Plateau Valley

September 17

Led by Max Stites of the Colorado West Land Trust The Colorado West Land Trust has arranged for this guided tour of conserved farmland in the Plateau Valley. We will be immersed in the region’s rich farming and ranching heritage while enjoying the vibrant fall foliage. The tour will stop at various points along the way as guides explain the role that conservation has played in preserving the vision of farmers and landowners in the…

A Journey through Hopi-Navajo Reservations

September 19 - September 23

(c) Amadeustx | Led by Joe Higgins and Peter Booth, Ph.D. The magic and uniqueness of Arizona’s Native Peoples is enchanting and awe inspiring. This journey will take us onto the Hopi and Navajo reservations where we will travel into Canyon de Chelly, view exclusive rock art sites, explore the culture of the Hopi, stop at historic trading posts, and stay at the famed La Posada in Winslow. The tour is led by the former…

Eagle Rock Shelter by Raft

September 28

Photo courtesy of Don Benjamin and the Delta County Independent Led by John Seebach, Ph.D., Colorado Mesa University, in cooperation with the Colorado Canyons Association Find out what life was like for humans nearly 13,000 years ago in the region by exploring Eagle Rock Shelter site with Colorado Mesa University Anthropology Professor Dr. John Seebach. Although accessible by land, this site is best visited by river as you can get a sense of the landscape…

Introduction to Fly Fishing in Gunnison Gorge

October 12

Photo courtesy of Led by Chris Herrman of the Colorado Canyons Association Heard about the amazing fly fishing on the Western Slope but don’t know where to start? Learn how to fly fish or just come to fish a world-famous local’s spot on the Gunnison River in Gold Medal waters. We will spend the day in Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area with local fly-fishing experts learning about river ecology, fly fishing approach, casting, and…

A Colorado Christmas in Georgetown

December 6 - December 8

Photo courtesy of Visit Georgetown Led by Peter Booth, Ph.D. Each December, the sleepy town of Georgetown is transformed into a spectacular Christmas scene reminiscent of holidays long ago. You will be transported to this Victorian-era mining town when it celebrates the 59th Annual Christmas Market, recognized by many as the best Christmas experience in Colorado. The celebration hosts such holiday traditions as roasted chestnuts, festive shopping, horse-drawn rides, wonderful museum experiences, and a unique Christmas…

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