About Cottonwood Gulch

Experience The Gulch

Come trek across a desert full of life.

To experience the Gulch is to explore. In the process, you will discover the wilderness, science, and culture of the Southwest.

The experience will challenge you physically. A chilly frost wakes you from your sleeping bag early in the morning but by noon it’s hot and dry enough you don’t even feel your sweat. Hiking into a remote wilderness, whether though a winding canyon or over a mountain pass, is only the beginning. Once you are there, your group sets up their tents and goes about preparing dinner — and a thunderstorm threatens overhead. Climbing a canyon face is far more difficult than a climbing wall in the gym.

The Southwest can be as demanding as it is enchanting. This is a land of extremes: the wind is strong, the sun is hot, and the rain is cold. Living every day in this wilderness is a thrilling challenge by itself. It is no wonder that daily life on an expedition toughens most group members. You face these challenges with the help of your fellow trekkers, who are beside you at all times. Anyone of average physical health can take part in these expeditions; it just takes the will to do it. And the physical demands turn out to be incredibly rewarding.

The experience will challenge you mentally as well. Environmental science, wilderness ethics, cultural history, and community living are key components of all expeditions. You will learn to ask questions about yourself, your community and your surroundings.

Water in the Southwest is precious–how do you decide where it goes? What impact do we have on the environment we love so much? How have the land and the people changed over the past 1,000 years? The past 10,000 years? Who’s cooking dinner, and where did that food come from? The learning is often serendipitous and lasting.

Our summer expeditions are long, and there is good reason for that. With time to pursue your own interest, you will return home with new confidence and skills to hike, climb, draw, craft, investigate, write, sing, or build more than you ever though possible.

Every Trek at the Gulch will spend a portion of their time at our Base Camp and a portion “on the road.” To read more about what to expect, here are some useful links:

Summer Treks   |   Treks for Schools   |   The Gulch Base Camp   |   Where We Explore