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Frequently Asked Questions

Miami University Geology Field Station

Frequently Asked Questions

How long has the Miami University Geology Field Station been in operation?

Summer 2023 is our 77th consecutive year of operation.

Will I need a Passport?

No. However if you are a foreign national you should have your passport and accompanying visa information.

What are prerequisites for the Field Courses?

Courses in Physical Geology, Mineralogy, Sedimentology/Stratigraphy, Structural Geology, and Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology should be completed prior to the start of the course. Applicants with a current Junior-year undergraduate standing and who have completed Physical Geology and at least nine additional credit hours in advanced geology courses may be admitted with permission of the Director.

Where is the Field Station located?

Fifteen miles NW of Dubois, Wyoming, on U.S. 26/287. A large wooden sign on the south side of the highway marks the field station. The mailing address is Timberline Ranch, 4127 US Highway 26, Dubois, Wyoming 82513 (307-455-2513). UPS makes deliveries directly to the ranch.

Is there phone and internet access at the Field Station?

While some cell phone networks provide weak reception at specific locations around the property, there is no guaranteed service. There is wireless internet access at the ranch and cell service in Dubois where we make stops at the end of most field days.

When should I plan to arrive at and depart from the Field Station?

If traveling by air you should plan to arrive at the Jackson Airport no later than 3:00 PM, Wednesday, June 7. Miami vans will pick up all those flying to Jackson at 3:00 PM, Wednesday, June 7. If delayed, we will make contingencies to pick you up when you arrive.  

The course ends at 7:00 AM, Wednesday, July 13. For students departing from Jackson Hole, WY, it is best to schedule your flights no earlier than 8 AM on Wednesday, July 13. However, there may be the possibility of leaving on a flight if it is leaving Jackson later than ~7 PM on the evening of Tuesday, July 12. Check with Dr. Çurrie if you want to explore this option. If driving your own vehicle, you can depart as early as the evening of Tuesday, July 12.

Can I arrange to fly to an airport other than Jackson, Wyoming?


What do we need to bring for the camping trip during the first/last week?

Borrow, share, and/or rent equipment. It does not have to be fancy or brand new, but it must work. And, it must work in damp and cold weather, which must be anticipated for June/July in the Rocky Mountains. Try out and learn about your equipment before you begin the course. A list of suggested equipment is provided separately. The field course will provide stoves.

Do I need sturdy field boots?

Absolutely!! You MUST bring a pair of broken in, sturdy, ankle height (or above) hiking/work boots. Low cut hiking/trail shoes and sandals do not provide sufficient support, traction, or protection for the off-trail walking and hiking that will be required for mapping projects.

What are a typical day’s activities while stationed at Timberline Ranch?

Vans depart for the field at 8:00 AM. Lunches are eaten in the field. Vans return to camp at about 5:00 PM. Dinner is at about 6:00 PM. Evening lectures/discussions go from about 7:30 - 9:00 PM, after which time you will be required to work on projects/maps. In the field, emphasis is on observation and interpretation. Faculty and teaching assistants are present to point out features and to answer questions. There will be numerous individual assignments and projects rather than a long final report.

Do I have to be in unusually good physical condition to take this course?

You must be in good normal health. Students with high blood pressure, heart problems, sun allergies, asthma, or obesity may find the field course difficult, if not impossible. No student is expected to attempt anything beyond his or her normal physical limits, but you must have a good sense of what you can do prior to the course. Most important is real enthusiasm for geology and for outdoor activities. Do not sign up for the course if you are not eager and able to work outside. You must be willing to tolerate the uncertainties and inconveniences of travel and field work.

How much walking/hiking will we do?

Students walk/hike on the average of about five miles a day. It will seem like much farther because of the altitude and because of the up and down nature of the terrain, and the fact we do not usually do field work along cut trails. A five-mile hike at 9,000 feet elevation is approximately the same as a ten-mile hike at 1,000 feet elevation.

Will students be expected to do any dangerous climbing?

No technical or dangerous hikes or climbs are a part of the course, but strenuous activities are. You must be in good physical condition!

Is the study area usually hot or cold?

Since we work at a variety of locations over the course of the 5-week program and late spring/early summer is an unpredictable time of the year weather wise in the Rocky Mountains, you must plan on anything from cold and wet to hot and dry. For example a day may start out warm and sunny but you must be prepared for sleet, rain, sudden thundershowers or a rapid change in temperature.

Are there doctors and hospitals near the Field Station?

The nearest hospitals are ~70 miles away. Dubois, Wyoming, 15 miles distance, has a well-trained life-squad and health clinic with direct communication with the staff of the nearest hospitals. Medical insurance is essential. If you take routine medication, bring a copy of your prescription and an extra supply of medicine to carry you through the duration of the course. There is no pharmacy in Dubois.

Will we be able to purchase drug store and similar items at the Field Station?

We will be making regular stops in Dubois during the entire time we are housed at the ranch. You will be able to purchase all kinds of sundry items, but Dubois does NOT have a drug store/pharmacy.

Is there dangerous wildlife in the field areas?

There are a few poisonous reptiles, particularly in the Snake River Plain region and in NW Montana. Bear and moose are common in the national parks, and bear are present throughout the northern U.S. Rocky Mountains. Be careful and do not hike alone or at night. More general and specific safety details will be provided and discussed at the beginning of the course and as appropriate.

What is the food like at Timberline Ranch?

A normal day’s menu is cereal, pancakes or eggs for breakfast, lunch meat/cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, casserole, pasta, or basic meat/potato/vegetable entree for dinner. Food is simple, but nutritious and filling. Special diets are not easily accommodated, although basic vegetarian requirements can be accommodated. Please contact/inform us well in advance if you have special dietary needs.

What are the accommodations like at Timberline Ranch?

Students sleep in rooms or cabins with single or bunk beds. Each student furnishes his or her own bedding (sleeping bags recommended). The accommodations have an attached bathroom with toilet, sink and shower.

Where can we do laundry?

While housed at Timberline Ranch you will have access to a Laundromat in Dubois, Wyoming. Vans will travel to town at least once per week for laundry and other activities. During the first and last travel weeks of the course, no specific time is set aside for doing laundry and facilities are not readily available.

Once the course is done, how do I receive my grade?

You can check your grade on the course listing on the MyMiami website approximately 1 week after the end of the course. You will need your Miami unique ID (issued to you when you registered for the course) to access the site. If you need a formal transcript you can order one through the Miami University Registrar's Office: