Paleontology Trek

Summer Trek




Overview of Paleontology Trek

Paleontology Trek connects students with a professional Paleontologist and his colleagues in some of New Mexico’s most exciting dig sites. Trekkers will travel to multiple active excavation sites to unearth dinosaur bones and prospect for future discoveries. Trekkers work alongside researchers on an active dig and will learn techniques for processing artifacts for local museum displays. There will also be an opportunity for a behind the scenes tour of Albuquerque’s Natural History Museum and the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum. This trek is a perfect fit for a student interested in paleontology–there’s no need to know the difference between an Ornithischia and a Saurischian; only a need to be willing and eager.

While the majority of this program is focused on paleontology, students will get a chance to visit the Cottonwood Gulch Basecamp and will have the opportunity to learn new skills like metalsmithing, animal tracking, plant identification, mountain biking, farming, cooking, music, and rock climbing. The exact specialties of our staff vary from year to year, but we always have an incredibly talented and knowledgeable team that is excited to introduce trekkers to new skills as well as offer deeper exploration for those already familiar with a topic. 

Students on Paleo Trek will be camping for the duration of the program. While working on dig sites, they will sleep in tents and once the dig portion of the course is complete, they will head to our Basecamp and sleep in cabins. Trekkers will sleep under the stars, learn about paleontology, and experience some of the most majestic places the Southwest has to offer. See below for a sample itinerary.  

Age Range: 14 - 18

Gender: All welcome, Male, Female, Non-binary

Min Group Size: 8

Max Group Size: 18

Instructors: 3

Elevation: 5,000 to 11,000 feet

17 Days on Trek

number of days on the trek

Cost: $3,850 - college credit included*

Scholarships Available - Click Here

*4 credit hours from Mesalands Community College

June 18 - July 4

Enroll Now

Registration Deadline: June 17, 2022

COVID-19 Considerations:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe outdoor education is more essential than ever. While we don’t know exactly what the pandemic will look like for Summer 2022, we are hopeful that we can run small group treks in outdoor spaces. Some experiences noted in this document, such as caving, may not be possible.

Skills Outcomes

Grow and strengthen these skills


Camp Craft

Outdoor Living


Community Living

Leave No Trace Awareness

Resources for Parents

Sample Itinerary

The trek itineraries vary year to year, depending on permits and staff expertise

Day 1

Arrive and get to know everyone

Day 2-9

Excavation, prospecting, fossil preparation

Day 10

Mesalands Dinosaur Museum visit

Day 11

Behind the scenes tour of Natural History Museum

Day 12-14

Basecamp Loop (Cottonwoods)

Day 15


Day 16

Trek wrap up, final banquet

Day 17

Head home

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