Hanksville Utah Digs

Annually, Burpee Museum heads up research trips looking for clues to our Earth’s past. YOU can join these trips through our Dinosaur Expedition programs to Hanksville, Utah, in May & June.


A daily rhythm is soon established in Hanksville as participants settle into the field lifestyle of a paleontology dig site.

Wake up at your hotel.

Lodging is secured by individual volunteers at one of several Hanksville hotels.  Most guests stay at the Whispering Sands in Hanksville.

8:30 am Gather in Trucks and leave for the field

Burpee paleontologists meet you at the welcome center with multiple off-road ready pick-up trucks and provide transportation to the site for the whole team.  If you choose to rent your own car and drive to the quarry, you want to be sure it can handle the off-road nature of the long road to the quarry.  The team packs the trucks full of supplies for the day, including water jugs and tools.  You will ride with the team in these trucks for about 20 min to arrive at the location for the day.

9:15 am Begin fieldwork

Most volunteers are assigned a spot in the dinosaur quarry to work during their time on site.  Don’t be surprised if you find a second bone while working on your first, as this quarry is packed with dino remains!  Depending on the daily goals, the team might also prospect for more fossils by hiking around known areas, stopping to collect petrified wood (you can bring a small amount home), or even oysters and agate.

Break for water

It gets hot out in the desert! Teams are encouraged to have water in their backpacks and take several breaks to reapply sunscreen, drink water, and rest between working. Water coolers are also provided at the site for bottle refills.

12:00 pm Lunch

While you bring your own lunch, Burpee provides a large shaded seating area to gather for lunch and a break from the sun.

5:00 pm Leave the Field

Returning in the Burpee trucks, you will have a relaxing and well-deserved escort back to town to relax, shower, or clean up for dinner.

6:00 pm Dinner on your own

While dinner is on your own each night except Friday, where the team gathers for a closing get-together, volunteers and staff often meet up for dinner together at the local restaurants in Hanksville.

working on fossils utah
Volunteers work on different dinosaur bones
Hippy Utah Fossil (1)
A partly uncovered pelvis with volunteer tools
Utah Hiking (1)
Hiking in the field
Mapping Bones
Gathering Data on Fossil Location

The Hanksville Burpee Dinosaur Quarry is located in the Morrison Formation.  This rock unit is from the Late Jurassic (155 million years ago-148 million years ago).

Although the Morrison was deposited in a wide variety of environments, this quarry was part of a high-energy river system with varying speeds of water.  The site is a great spot for finding animals that were washed downstream and deposited, leaving a jackstraw of various dinosaur bones from the longneck sauropod dinosaurs Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Barosaurus, and Camarasaurus.  Burpee has also found Allosaurus, Mymorapelta, and more.

Burpee teams will bring you to locations with a high probability of finding fossils or sites with a fossil bone partly exposed.  You will learn how to remove the tough rock (matrix) around the bone and prepare it to be brought back to the museum for further preparation and study.