Pinacate Field Trip

The Pinacate shield volcano from MacDougal Crater, photo by Michael Patton

¡The Desert Laboratory is going to the Pinacate! In conjunction with the Fall 2018 Lecture series, Campos de Fuego, and in collaboration with the Mexican Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), we are organizing a long-weekend (two-night, three-day) excursion to the remote MacDougal Crater area of the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, 26–28 October, 2018. Led by many of the experts of the Pinacate (Dan Lynch, Alberto Burqúez, Bill Broyles, Richard Laugharn, Ben Wilder, y más!) we will spend our time exploring the scientific, cultural, and natural history of this amazing region – literally following in the footsteps of the early Desert Lab scientists (for whom Sykes and MacDougal craters are named for, which we will see). This trip will take you to a special region of the Sonoran Desert and change how you see the landscape.

Price $250 plus a $50 donation to the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve

Registration Process

We have a limited number of places for the field trip. We expect interest in going to exceed the number of places we have available. Therefore, we will use a lottery to select the participants. We will have places set aside for 1 group of four people, ca. 5 pairs of people, and the remainder for individual travelers.

If you want to go on the field trip, please contact or call (520) 629-9455 to add your name to the lottery pool. Include in your email or message whether you would be travelling as part of a group of four, a pair, or a single traveler. If more than one, please provide the names of people you would be travelling with.

On Wednesday, October 10, we will have a randomized drawing from each of the pools of names of people who have applied (groups of four, two, and individual travelers). On this same day we will notify you by email as to whether we are able to offer you a spot or not. We will provide the link to the UofA RegOnline account where you will register and pay for the trip. We will also provide you with the University of Arizona Assumption of Risk and Release Form, which you will be asked to sign prior to departure.

We will be travelling in University of Arizona Chevrolet Suburbans, each with a U of A certified HOV driver. You will be covered by your own personal health and liability insurance while on the field trip. You will need to have a valid U.S. passport, but will not need to purchase a visa for Mexico.


This will be a car-camping trip. Please pack in a single small duffel bag and have a day pack. The Desert Laboratory will provide water, ice, shade tarps, and kitchen material (stove, cooking and eating utensils, tables, etc). You will need to bring your own camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, water bottles, packs, etc.) and your own food. We will provide coolers in which to store your food.