Lehigh University Field Camp

Lehigh University Field Camp

Field camp group photo in Wildhorse Valley, Idaho, June 25, 2018.    

We are a selective, comprehensive, intellectually and physically challenging program that uses The Northern Rockies, Bighorn Basin, Tetons, Yellowstone, Montana and Idaho as our natural laboratory. Our camp meets or exceeds educational standards as reported by AGI and meets the requirements of many state professional geologist licensure accreditation, including those for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

We are looking forward to a great summer in 2022!  Hope you can join us!

January 13, 2021

Field Campers,

I am saddened to let you know that Lehigh’s Field Camp will not be held in 2021 due to COVID restrictions. If you have an opportunity to wait a year, we will be back in 2022, in full force and strength. We would be so excited to show you what we think is the best field camp!

One of the largest advantages of our camp is that we visit 15 states as we examine geological settings and ecological gradients from east to west. COVID restrictions work against us, requiring quarantines, or testing, when we cross state lines and attempt to do projects. We simply do not have the time to satisfy quarantine requirements or the access to rapid testing to keep us moving. We had hoped that vaccination would reduce the concern, but alas, our country is not proceeding as fast as we had hoped.

An important value we hold is to be able to follow through on our promises. We would never want to say “yes, we have a camp.” and then have to deliver bad news later. We simply have low to modest confidence that we can guarantee a field camp program this year. We’d prefer to give you the opportunity to find a camp that works for you! The following lists might help you:

On behalf of the Field Camp instructional staff,

Steve Peters
Field Camp Director


Camp begins:  Thursday, May 28, 2020, 4 pm at Lehigh OR Friday May 29, 2020 4pm, DTW airport

Camp ends:  Tuesday,  June 30, 2020  IDA (10AM) and SLC (1PM) airports.

The camp will end in the west, at the Idaho Falls and Salt Lake City airports on Tuesday June 30th.  In recent years, we have found that an increasing number of campers have flown home directly after camp ends.  This saves three very long days of driving back east and the flight cost is reasonable ($214 as of October 2019).  We have held the price of camp steady for the last 5 years, and do everything we can to keep the costs manageable.  The camp fee will not increase this year, but you will need to make arrangements for travel home.  We will have you to the airport in Idaho Falls for 10AM and later flights, and to Salt Lake City for mid-afternoon flights.

For a complete air travel package to and from camp, you can choose to either fly into Newark (EWR) or Philadelphia (PHL) or Allentown (ABE) on Thursday May 28th  in time to make a 4pm meeting at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA, OR we can pick you up at the Detroit (DTW) airport on Friday May 29th, around 4pm.  


Credits: 6
Venue: Combination of traveling and camping.
Cost: $4,500

Course Syllabus and Schedule: Field Camp Syllabus and Schedule 2020

Google Earth Tour:  LUFieldCampTour.kmz

Equipment: General Equipment List - Detailed Equipment Advice

FAQ: Answers to frequently asked questions

Costs and Conditions: Registered campers need to return this form with their deposit.

Eligibility:  Lehigh students and students from other academic institutions who meet the prerequisites given below.  We usually have strong representation from instutitions other than Lehigh.

Lehigh Field Camp is committed to diversity, welcomes and encourages applications from all students, including members of under-represented groups.

The course starts with a few basic exercises, but quickly accelerates so you learn as much as possible in the complex and challenging places we visit.  For this reason, we look to see that you have the following pre-requisite courses, or alternate experiences:

(1) Introduction to Earth and Environmental Sciences, such as Physical Geology, Ecology, or Terrestrial Ecosystems
(2) Earth Materials or Mineralogy or Petrology or Crystallography
(3) Sedimentology-Stratigraphy, possible substitutions include Geomorphology, Surface Processes, Historical Geology, Introduction to Field Mapping
(4) Structural Geology, possible substitutions include Engineering Mechanics, Introduction to Field Mapping, or several lab experiences making field observations.
(5) Geomorphology or hydrogeology, possible substitutions include a second course in Ecology, Environmental Science, Biology, Geology, or Hydrology.

If you do not meet one or more of these prerequisites, please include a short statement in your application that explains how you have the background knowledge needed to complete the course. Junior or Senior standing is typical, though not required.  We generally find that most students come very well prepared to camp.

If you have questions about the prerequisites or the topics we cover, please contact the field camp director.

Lehigh Field Camp (EES 341) is a selective program that offers motivated Earth Scientists an opportunity at intensive field training and discovery in the incredible natural laboratory of the Rocky Mountains. The curriculum is designed to meet the field camp requirements of most undergraduate Geological Science B.S. degrees.  We recognize that the sharpest minds benefit from a well-rounded exposure to related fields of inquiry, such as Environmental Science, Hydrogeology, Terrestrial Ecology, and Sustainability.

Lehigh Field Camp teaches aspiring Geoscientists and Environmental Scientists the following things:

  • It is a big country (world), Earth Systems are complex, interrelated, and have pretty profound impacts on people and societies.
  • Generally useful geologic and environmental taxonomy and vocabulary.
  • Scale and how to estimate it.
  • How to make good and interpretable observations.
  • The Geosciences are central to addressing energy, water, climate, food, and sustainability issues.
  • An important and productive part of science and life is learning to work with other people.

Lehigh Field Camp teaches aspiring Geoscientists and Environmental Scientists the following skills:

  • Sedimentology, stratigraphy, section measuring, basics of sequence stratigraphy.
  • Quaternary Geology and glacial geology.
  • Geomorphology, landforms, soils.
  • Surface processes, process sedimentology.
  • Structural geology and use of field structural data.
  • Map patterns and kinematics of folded, thrust-faulted, and normal-faulted rocks.
  • Metamorphic and igneous petrology; volcanic rocks, crystalline rocks.
  • Geology of North America and Tectonics of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Basic and advanced mapping skills; Electronic mapping with iPad and GIS.
  • Computer-based field data collection and reduction.

Lehigh Field Camp promotes learning based on discovery.  Our travel in the northern Rockies includes visits to several National Parks and is a unique part of our learning experience.  The student discovers their country, matures into a Geologist / Environmental Scientist, lays the foundation for professional employment or graduate school, and makes lasting friendships.


For additional information please contact: 

Dr. Stephen Peters,Field Camp Director
Email: scp2@lehigh.edu | Phone: (610) 758 - 3957

Mrs. Andrea Goff, Department Coordinator
Email: ahg212@lehigh.edu | Phone: (610) 758 - 3660


Mailing address:

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lehigh University
1 W Packer Ave Bethlehem, PA  18015-3001