Skip to Main Content

Five-week field methods courses are offered for undergraduate (GLG 411) and graduate (GLG 511) students. These 6-credit courses emphasize field description and documentation of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks; tectonic evolution of the western Cordillera; interpretation of regional- and outcrop-scale structures; and traditional geologic mapping updated with remote sensing, GPS, and GIS techniques.

Time will be spent working within the spectacular scenery and varied geology of the Jackson Hole Valley, Snake River Plain, Yellowstone region, the Wind River Range and Washakie Mountains, and the Montana fold & thrust belt.  Course logistics include two weeks of camping and three weeks of lodging at our field station on the Timberline Ranch along the northeast flank of the Wind River Range. 

Suggested prerequisites for the course include lecture/lab courses in Physical Geology, Mineralogy, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Structural Geology and Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology (strongly recommended) should be completed prior to enrolling.  However, applicants with a junior-year undergraduate standing and who have completed Physical Geology and at least nine additional credit hours in advanced geology courses, are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications for each course are reviewed beginning in late 2022, with acceptance decisions made in January.  Applications will be accepted and reviewed until all available spots are filled.

General Information and Instructions

  1. The course begins on Wednesday, June 7. If flying, your arrival point is the Jackson Hole, WY airport. We will make a pick-ups at the Jackson airport (adjacent to the baggage claim) beginning on Wednesday morning with a final pick-up in the afternoon at about 3 PM. If you are flying, you must arrive in Jackson prior to 3 PM on Wednesday, June 7.

    Participants planning to drive personal vehicles should arrive at Timberline Ranch before 3:00 PM on Wednesday, June 7. If driving, you will park your vehicles at Timberline for the entirety of the traveling portion of the course.
  2. Students will use their own camping gear during the first 10 days of the course and will cook their own breakfasts and dinners during that time. Lightweight camping equipment is strongly suggested, as luggage space is limited.  Sharing is encouraged where possible.  At the field station in Dubois (Timberline Ranch), you will be quartered in cabins.  Tents are not used at the field station.  Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining hall at the ranch and lunches are carried and eaten in the field.
  3. Beds and bunks with mattresses are provided at the ranch. Temperatures at night sometimes drop below 32°F, even in July. Since you will have a sleeping bag for the camping portion of the course, plan to use this as bedding at the ranch.
  4. Clothing and Personal items: Field clothes are worn on most occasions.  Temperatures may be high during the day and quite low in the evening.  A difference of 40°F in a period of 24 hours is not unusual.  Be prepared for high wind, bright sun, rain/snow, night temperatures between 25°- 45°F, and day temperatures between 55° - 95°F (see page 2).
  5. Note on packing: Pack lightweight gear in duffel bags or soft, collapsible suitcases. Large, rigid suitcases, footlockers, and trunks are prohibited. You are limited to a maximum of two luggage items (soft-sided only) plus a carry-on (day pack) for the traveling portion of the course.
  6. An up-to-date tetanus vaccination is recommended.
  7. You must carry domestic health care insurance.
  8. Your address while at the field station will be:
    Geology Field Station

    c/o Timberline Ranch
    4127 US Highway 26
    Dubois, WY  82513
    Any gear, supplies, etc. that you will not need during the two traveling weeks may be forwarded to the above address. Be sure to have all necessary gear and supplies with you when we rendezvous at Timberline on Wednesday, June 7.
  9. The Geology Field Station (Timberline Ranch) is located northeast of Jackson, Wyoming, southeast of Yellowstone National Park, and northwest of Riverton and Lander. A more exact description of the location is 15 miles northwest of Dubois, Wyoming, on U.S. Route 26/287.  The phone number at the Ranch is: 307-455-2513.  Leave this number and the above address with your family.
  10. Air transportation is available to Jackson, WY. Make reservations as soon as possible if you plan to fly.  Plan to arrive BEFORE 3:00 PM on Wednesday, June 7 and depart on Tuesday, July 11.  No lodging will be provided for early arrivals (prior to June 30) or late departures.
  11. There is no public transportation available from Jackson to Dubois.


  • Safety glasses (required, if not wearing glasses) and sunglasses.
  • Field hat with brim and field (work) gloves.
  • Rain Gear – Summer in the mountains is a relative concept so a good outer layer is necessary.
  • Both light and heavy socks (two pairs per day).
  • Above-the-ankle field or hiking boots are required equipment.  Hiking shoes provide insufficient foot support for the terrain we will be working in and are unacceptable (See Page 3).   If you buy a new pair of boots, they should be "broken in" before the class begins.
  • Hiking/running shoes (for when we are not mapping in the field), sandals.
  • Warm clothes including warm gloves and a warm hat or fleece/hooded sweatshirt (Think layers!).
  • Long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts.  Long pants with pockets (ie cargo pants or military fatigues are recommended). Leggings and shorts are not recommended as your legs will be prone to scratches, scrapes, and insect bites.
  • There is no need for dressy clothing. In the West, the dress is casual, even in the better saloons. 
  • You will have the opportunity to do laundry at least once per week.

Personal Items

  • Driver’s license and Health Insurance cards.
  • Mobile phone, pocket money, ATM/credit card.
  • Small first-aid kit, chapstick, sunscreen, insect repellent, foot powder, or baby powder, for example.
  • Personal toiletries and medicines for headache, allergy, heartburn, athlete's foot, etc., as may be needed.
  • Towel and washcloth.
  • Flashlight and pocket knife.
  • A good warm sleeping bag and a pillow – a bag rated to at least 20°F is an excellent choice.  Rectangular bags are more comfortable than mummy bags and warmer as they compress less against your body and thus provide better insulation
  • Soft backpack for day-hikes (~2000 cu in.; No frame packs).
  • Small binoculars (not mandatory, but useful).
  • Personal water containers for the field (plan to carry at least 3 liters at all times).

Bring your gear in duffel bags or soft, collapsible suitcases.  Large rigid suitcases and trunks are prohibited. Please pack lightweight equipment, if possible. Students do not need computers during the traveling portion of the course; internet access points are limited and no special arrangements are made for such access. There is wireless internet access at the ranch.

Required Course Supplies

Rock hammer (not a sledge), a hammer holster, and a dedicated belt to hold it. A hand lens (10x is required) is also required. Assorted pencils, colored pencils, pens, a white rubber eraser, protractor, and a calculator.

Field notebooks, notebook holders, Brunton compasses, auto and hand-held GPS receivers, portable two-way radios, a large first-aid kit, bear spray, and food storage containers are standard field equipment supplied by the course. Limited internet access is available in Dubois and at the ranch.

Camping Equipment and Supplies

The gear listed below is necessary for the traveling portion of the course.

  • A good 3- or 4-season tent (borrow and/or share if possible) with a waterproof ground cloth. Large (4+ person), vertical-sided tents are PROHIBITED as they are highly SUSCEPTIBLE to wind damage (see Page 4).
  • A good warm sleeping bag and pillow, and a mattress pad to put under your sleeping bag.
  • A small, simple cooking pot; hot/cold drinking cup; and knife, fork, and spoon set. Large pots for boiling water and large serving utensils are provided. Two-burner camp stoves and propane for student use will be provided.
  • Zip-loc plastic bags for storage of toiletries, food, or other aromatic items (we will be in bear country).
  • Money to buy the food you like to eat during the traveling portion of the course (about $15/day). Think cheap, simple, fast, and group cooking.  There are frequent opportunities to purchase food during the traveling weeks.

Travel Information


We will assemble at the Timberline Ranch near Dubois Wyoming at 3:00 PM, Wednesday, June 7. All participants must be present by this time.

Ground Travel – Private Vehicles

Participants planning to drive personal vehicles should arrive at Timberline Ranch (~15 miles northwest of Dubois, WY along U.S. 26/287) between Noon and 3:00 PM, Wednesday, June 7. You will park your vehicle at the ranch. No personal vehicles will be used during the traveling portion of the course, and use will be limited during our stay at the ranch. If you plan to have someone drop you off at Timberline, please contact us for additional information.  The course ends at 7:00 AM, Tuesday, July 11, but you could leave as early as the evening of July 10 if you are driving or want to have someone pick you up.

Ground Travel – Miami University Vans

Multiple vehicles will depart from Shideler Hall (250 Patterson Ave, Oxford, OH) loading zone off of Bishop Circle, at 8:00 AM, Monday, June 5. The trip will involve three days and two nights of travel, arriving at Timberline Ranch and Jackson on Wednesday, June 7. The vehicles will return to Oxford late in the evening on Wednesday, July 12.

More information will be provided later, but there likely will be room for approximately 14-20 passengers from Miami and other institutions, at least 6 of whom must be approved as Miami University van drivers (having completed the on-line university safety program), with two slots taken by instructors.  If you want a spot in the University vans, please contact Dr. Currie as soon as possible.

Air Travel

Your arrival point is the Jackson, WY airport. Participants planning to fly should arrange a flight as soon as possible to ensure direct connections and to obtain the best possible fares. Please pack as if you are going backpacking, luggage space will be limited! You must arrive at the airport no later than 3:00 PM Wednesday, June 7.

We will make pick-ups at the Jackson airport (at curb adjacent to baggage claim) at about 3 PM. If you are flying, you must arrive in Jackson prior to 3 PM on Wednesday, June 7!  Plan to depart on Tuesday, July 11.  No lodging will be provided for early arrivals (prior to June 9) or late departures (after July 11).

Make reservations as soon as possible if you plan to fly.


Part I:  Camping and Lodging:  Various Locations in Idaho and Wyoming


Wed., June 7

Course Begins in Dubois, WY @ 3 PM … Welcome! 

Lodging at Timberline Ranch, 4127 US 26, Dubois, WY 82513, (307) 455-2513

Thurs., June 8

Dubois, WY to Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID
Teton National Park, Regional Tectonics, Eastern Snake River Plain Volcanism

Camping: Craters of the Moon Campground, Craters of the Moon National Monument,  P.O. Box 29, Arco, ID 83213, (208) 527-3257

Fri., June 9

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID
Craters mapping project; Survey of CMNM volcanic geology

Sat., June 10

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID to Quake Lake, MT
Eastern Snake River Plain-Island Park Caldera

Camping: Beaver Creek Campground, Hebgen Lake Rd, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, (406) 823-6961

Sun., June 11

Quake Lake, MT - Yellowstone National Park, MT/WY
Quaternary Neotectonics and Earthquake Hazards; Quake Lake, Hebgen Fault Mapping Project

Mon., June 12

Quake Lake, MT - Yellowstone National Park, MT/WY
Yellowstone Plateau Volcanics, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Absaroka Volcanics, Yellowstone Hydrothermal Systems

Part II:  Lodging and meals at Timberline Ranch, 4127 US 26, Dubois, WY 82513, 307-455-2513


Tue., June 13

Quake Lake, MT to Dubois, WY via Yellowstone National Park
Firehole Canyon; Old Faithful; Pitchstone Plateau; Teton Fault

Wed., June 14

Timberline Quaternary Project

Thurs., June 15

Torrey Canyon West Mapping Project (Precambrian and Paleozoic units and Quaternary deposits)

Fri., June 16 Torrey Canyon West Mapping Project (continued)
Sat., June 17 Torrey Canyon East Mapping Project (Paleozoic formations and Quaternary deposits)
Afternoon Independent Mapping Exercise
Sun., June 18 Day Off
Mon., June 19 Torrey Canyon East Mapping Project (continued)
Tues., June 20 South Pass Mapping Project (mapping of Precambrian igneous and metamorphic units)
Wed., June 21

Spring Mountain Little Hill Mapping Project (Precambrian crystalline units and Paleozoic formations)

Thurs., June 22 Spring Mountain Little Hill Mapping Project (continued)
Fri., June 23 Spring Mountain Little Hill Map Day
Sat., June 24 Spring Mountain Independent Exercise
Sun., June 25 Day Off
Mon., June 26 Spring Mountain Big Hill Mapping Project (Precambrian crystalline units and Paleozoic formations)
Tues., June 27 Spring Mountain Big Hill Mapping Project (continued)
Wed., June 28 Spring Mountain Big Hill Project Map Day
Thurs., June 29 Little Horse Creek Mapping Project (Mesozoic formations and Quaternary deposits)
Fri.,June 30 Little Horse Creek Mapping Project (continued)
Sat., July 1 Little Horse Creek Mapping Project (continued)
Sun., July 2 Day Off
Mon., July 3 Lander Area Independent Exercise
Tues., July 4 Little Horse Creek Map Day
Part III:  Camping Sun Canyon Lodge, PO Box 327, August, MT  59410, 406-562-3654


Wed., July 5 Dubois, WY to Sun Canyon, MT Regional Tectonics of the Northern Rocky Mountains
Thurs., July 6 Sun Canyon Final Mapping Project: West Canyon
Fri., July 7 Sun Canyon Final Mapping Project: East Canyon and Wagner Basin
Sat., July 8 Sawtooth Range Independent Exercise/Sun River Canyon Final Mapping Project (Continued)
Sun., July 9 Sun Canyon Map Day
Mon., July 10 Sun River Canyon, MT to Jackson, WYLodging at Timberline Ranch, 4127 US 26, Dubois, WY 82513, (307) 455-2513
Tues., July 11 Course ends in Dubois, WY @ 7AM

Workshop Director Contact:  Brian Currie,; 513-602-5589.


2023 Costs
Fee GLG 411 (In-state Undergraduate) GLG 511 (In-State Graduate)
Tuition and Administration Fee:  $3,600* $3,500*
 Program Fee (including $250 deposit):  $2,000.00 $2,000.00
GLG 411 (Out-of-state Undergraduate) GLG 511 (Out-of-state Graduate)
Tuition and Administration Fee: $6,100* $8,000*
Program Fee (including $250 deposit): $2,000.00 $2,000.00

*Plus individual food costs for travel/camping days (approximately $200) and travel to and from Wyoming (no cost van transportation from Ohio available).  Final Tuition/Fees are subject to change.


Boot Options

Best boot

Best: 8" high ankle support, all leather construction, yellow tag Vibram sole. This is what I wear. I usually get 3-4 years out of a pair such as these before the soles to (but you can get them re-soled!)

Better boot

Better: 8" high ankle support will give you lots of support and keep most stuff out of the boot. However, while non leather materials make the boot lighter, they are also highly susceptible to abrasion. Non-yellow tag Vibram soles will also get word down in short order. You will likely get only 1-2 years of wear if you continue to do field geology (that is why the military only does 1 year tours!)

OK boot

OK: 6" high ankle support will give you some support and keep a lot of stuff out of the boot. Consider this a minimally acceptable style.

Marginally OK boot

Marginally OK: But the lack of higher
ankle support will make you feel unstable on steep slopes. You will also spend a lot of time pulling out debris that will get into your boots.

Inadequate boot

Inadequate: You need ankle support to do the things we are going to do. These will not cut it!

Tent Options

Best tent

Best: Low profile, small footprint,
with good rain fly coverage

Adequate tent

Adequate, but due to the open fly,
if we get a thunderstorm, you will
be wet and your tent might shred
in the wind.

No tent

NO! Near vertical walls turn into sails in
the wind. Its large footprint also hogs limited
pad space at National Park campsites

Please no tent

Please NO! The infamous "Wyoming
Thunderstorm Tragedy of 2011" occurred
in large part due to this type of tent.

Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science

118 Shideler Hall
250 S. Patterson Ave.
Oxford, OH 45056