Geology Tour with Pat Dickerson, PhD

February 12-23, 2017

12 Days and 11 Nights beginning and ending in El Paso, TX.

Explore 3 National Parks, 3 State Parks, a National Monument, and a National Historic Site with renowned Geologist Patricia Dickerson, PhD.

In far West Texas and SE New Mexico, the record of six great North American geologic events is preserved.  Explore the ancient Midcontinent Rift, the southwestern Appalachian chain, the southern Rocky Mountains, the Tertiary volcanic complex of western North America, the Basin and Range province, and the ongoing Rio Grande Rift.

Thousands years of human history have played out on this starkly beautiful stage, from post Pleistocene hunter gatherers, to nomadic groups adapting to desert conditions,  Spanish exploration, native American exploitation of the horse, westward expansion of the United States, the Mexican Revolution, World Wars l and ll.

Pat Dickerson’s  understanding of the regional manifestations off continental and global tectonic events will interest everyone from serious geologists to curious amateurs seeking an engaging and educational aspect to their vacation. Veteran guide and interpretive exhibit producer Mike Davidson will be along to share insights about the fascinating human history of the Big Bend. Important Note: There will not be a test.

The group will stay in  comfortable hotels and enjoy great meals. In addition to learning about the geology of our continent, we will have fun, time to relax, and make new friends all the while surrounded by amazing natural beauty.

12 Days and 11 Nights


This tour will explore the geology of 3 National Parks, 3 State Parks, a National Monument, and a National Historic Site.

  • Feb 12, 2017


    Arrive El Paso, overnight El Paso

  • Feb 13

    El Paso Geology

    Organ Mountains National Monument and Franklin Mountains State Park

  • Feb 14

    Guadalupe Mountains

    Hueco Tanks State Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, overnight Carlsbad, New Mexico

  • Feb 15

    Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, overnight Van Horn, Texas

  • Feb 16

    Van Horn

    Geology near Van Horn, drive through Paisano Caldera, Overnight Alpine, Texas

  • Feb 17

    Drive to Big Bend

    Drive to Big Bend National Park with stops along the way. Overnight Big Bend National Park

  • Feb 18

    Big Bend National Park

    Touring in Big Bend National Park, overnight Big Bend National Park

  • Feb 19


    Touring in Big Bend National Park, overnight Terlingua

  • Feb 20

    Big Bend State Park

    Touring in Big Bend Ranch State Park, overnight Terlingua

  • Feb 21

    Davis Mountains

    Fort Davis National Historic Site, Davis Mountains State Park, McDonald Observatory. Overnight Fort Davis

  • Feb 22

    Back to El Paso

    Return to El Paso via Davis Mountains Scenic Loop. Overnight El Paso

  • Feb 23


    Shuttle to departing flights

Years of Experience and Knowledge



dickerson-photoPat Dickerson is a geologist and visiting research fellow with the Jackson School of Geosciences – University of Texas at Austin and the American Geosciences Institute. Her field research focuses on rifts of the world: the Rio Grande rift, Iceland, Oslo rift, as well as on mountain-building:  the North American Cordillera and Rocky Mts., Argentine Andes, Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico, Norwegian and Scottish Caledonides, the southwestern Appalachian chain, and Southern Alps of New Zealand. Long intrigued by the interplay of geologic processes and human activities, she was schooled in geology and classical archaeology (B.A.), then geology/tectonics (Ph.D.) at UT-Austin. She draws from those experiences in leading geological and natural history field seminars for Smithsonian groups, for students and for professional scientists. Pat has served on task forces to develop scientific strategies for exploring the Moon and Mars, and she collaborates with NASA on field training to prepare astronauts for such missions.


mike-headshotMike was an early tourism pioneer in Big Bend, moving to Terlingua in 1977 to co-found Far Flung Adventures, the first full time professional river rafting outfitter in Big Bend. During a 25 year career as a river outfitter, Mike organized and guided trips in Texas, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Colorado and several locations in Mexico. After entering the river rat recovery program, he directed the marketing efforts for Brewster County Tourism, and has planned and operated over 25 press tours for journalists from all over the world. Mike was project director for a road side interpretive exhibit project that narrates the Big Bend story from the oldest visible rocks to the founding of Big Bend National Park in 1944. His forte is connecting local history to global political and social movements. He has maintained a certification in emergency medicine since 1978 and also helps with the luggage.

Standard: $2650

Price is for double occupancy. $1,325 deposit due now, remaining balance charged in 30 days.

Single: $3300

Price is for single occupancy. $1,650 deposit due now, remaining balance charged in 30 days.