Adult & Family Experiences

This year we’ve expanded our offerings to include:

Weekend IntensivesTraveling Expeditions, and our unique Family Series!

Come explore all that the Southwest has to offer. 

Weekend Intensive Series

These inspirational weekend intensives will allow you to both unplug and rejuvenate while gaining unique insight and knowledge into the Science, Nature, Art and Culture of the American Southwest.  These are held at our Base Camp in Thoreau, NM unless otherwise noted.

Small Metals Workshop

April 27-29, 2018   $250 (+ materials fee)  Ages 16+
Learn the building blocks of metalsmithing and create your own metal masterpieces with an expert metalsmith. Learn basic surface and texture manipulation, soldering techniques, stone setting and finishing work.  Come prepared for a unique unplugged experience in a beautiful rustic studio. In addition to pieces, participants will be able to take home a basic set of tools at the end of the weekend.  (Tentative plans for inclusion of a Hopi overlay workshop are in the works - stay tuned).

Handbuilding Basics in Clay

September 1-3, 2018   $250 (+ materials fee)  Ages 16+
Get your hands muddy and learn basic skills on this Labor Day weekend.  Learn basic handbuilding techniques including pinch, coil, slab, burnishing, use of underglaze and stains, and local pitfire techniques.  Limited kick-wheel time is also an option.  In addition to pottery pieces, participants will be able to take home a basic set of tools at the end of the weekend.

Fiber Arts Weekend

May 11-13, 2018   $250 (+ materials fee) Ages 16+
Treat yourself to a enriching Mother's Day weekend workshop and enter the enchanting world of weaving and fiber arts with local Navajo weavers. We will start the weekend attending the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction.  You will learn basic wool cleaning, carding, thigh spinning, warping, traditional weaving techniques & patterns, taking off, and more.  Participants will be able to take home a basic set of tools at the end of the weekend.

En Plein Air

October 7-9, 2018  $250 (+ materials fee) Ages 16+
Let the landscape and colors of the desert direct your paintbrush, guided by local painters.  This Plein Air painting workshop immerses you in the outdoors while giving you poetic inspiration to put on your canvas.  You will learn composition tips and tricks, basic paint handling, and color application.  In addition to your paintings, participants will be able to take home a basic set of tools at the end of the weekend.

Geology of Western New Mexico Weekend

August 24-26, 2018  $250  Ages 21+
Explore the wealth of archaeology and geology found in the Southwest with local and knowledgeable experts.  Western New Mexico offers unique opportunities to walk through Geologic Time and explore the question of how the Geology of an area affects the Biology of the region.  Learn about the relationship between the Ancestral Puebloans and this land.  Explore vast vistas that tell the natural history of a region defined by volcanoes and ancient oceans while walking the same areas as the dinosaurs.  Enjoy full moon evenings, campfire chats and night hikes as well.  This weekend workshop will be both at base camp and "on the road."

Wellness Retreat

May 25-28, 2018  $250 (+ materials fee)  Ages 21+
This Memorial Day Weekend, treat yourself to a weekend of relaxation with trained Naturalists and an experienced Southwest Herbalist. Learn about native and medicinal plants, hike the land and build your plant identification skills, learn how to be sustainable in wild-crafting, using found plants create body care products, attend an open air yoga class and/or take a guided mountain bike ride into the Zuni Mountains.  Spend time rejuvenating and reflecting in a beautiful atmosphere surrounded by nature.  Enjoy evenings around a campfire enjoying new found friends or take a walk in the nearly full moon.

Women Writing and Riding

Sept 28-30, 2018  $250 (+ materials fee & bike rental if needed)  Ages 21+

Spend a reflective weekend putting pen to paper and tire-tread to dirt in this woman-focused mountain bike/journaling workshop.  This is a perfect opportunity to learn the basics of Mountain Bike Riding and quick maintenance alternating with opportunities for quiet reflection in the forest or riparian areas of our base camp.  Find yourself within a community of supportive and adventurous women and discover a new passion or cultivate a forgotten pastime.  Spend your evenings catching up on sleep or joining the campfire for hot tea, laughs and great stories.


Weekend of Stewardship

October 12-14, 2018  $150  Ages 21+
Spend a weekend in support of public lands and enjoy the crisp weather of autumn in the Southwest.  We are partnering with land managers to steward this special area of New Mexico.  Spend time with like-minded Gulch folks working collaboratively to care for these threatened areas.  Take a break from the work to enjoy the vast scenery and poeticism of the Southwest.  This is an opportunity to give back to these inspirational places, while making new friends, reconnecting with the outdoors and enjoying some hard work and fresh air.  Spend your nights either early to bed in your tent or around a campfire with a hot beverage in your hand sharing stories and good times.  This weekend will be camping "on the road" and not at our base camp.

8 + 8 =

Adult Traveling Expeditions

Flocks and Rocks Trek

May 19-27, 2018   $1395  Ages 21+  (meeting at Tucson airport)
Geologist John Bloch and ornithologist Arch McCallum know the Southwest like the backs of their hands. Join them for a fusion of their disciplines as we explore South Eastern Arizona from Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to Chiricahua. With world-class ornithology as the organizing principle and a 7,000-foot gradient of bird habitat that should be good for over 100 species with fascinating geology all along the way, there is something for every naturalist on this expedition. Expect lots of good stories, laughter and great food, too! Read more…

Archaeo-Astronomy Trek

August 4-12, 2018  $1250 Ages 21+
Gaze at the same stars as the people of centuries ago, in the lands and places many of them lived.  The itinerary is in the develop phase with our group leaders, archaeologist and astronomer busily designing and curating the experience.  Stay tuned for the final itinerary…

Spring Equinox with New Mexico WILD

March 17-20, 2018  Ages 21+

Explore the reaches of New Mexico’s historical places, traveling between Aztec Ruins, Mesa Verde and beyond in the company of an esteemed Southwestern Archaeologist. Participants will become a member of New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and learn about the public land as we visit it.

Autumn Equinox with New Mexico WILD

September 21-24, 2018 Ages 21+

Enjoy the Autumn Equinox in Chaco Canyon, and experience a dark sky park on their astronomy weekend. We will spend some time exploring the local Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area as well as exploring the many niches of Chaco.

Family Series

Intro to Mountain Biking

May 4-6, 2018  $200 first adult; $75 first child ($100/$50 each thereafter)  Ages 8+
Excited to grab the kids and hit the trails, but a little tentative about the “how”?  Join our seasoned instructors and learn to ride the beautiful desert and forest trails; open to all ages!  You will learn basic bike fitting, skills in trail assessment, cornering, braking, climbing, shifting, descending, pressure control, roll downs, the ready position and basic navigation.  An overview of basic field bike repair and considerations regarding injury and first aid will be discussed.  We will ride trails appropriate to the participants and camp out together in the evening.  A pre-planning meeting will be scheduled prior to the trip.  Participants can bring their own bikes or we can assist with a rental option.

Camping 101

May 18-20, 2018  $200 first adult; $75 first child ($100/$50 each thereafter)  All Ages
Interested in getting your family outdoors but not sure where to start or how to plan it?  Let our seasoned staff show you the ropes in getting your family outside this summer!  You will learn about camp craft, camp cooking, gear selection and repair, fun games, tips and tricks for living outdoors with kids, campfire activities, etc.  We will also give you tips on dispersed sites in the national forest where you can camp with fewer people (and for free), awesome developed sites throughout the Southwest that will ignite the senses, and ways to still have fun when the weather becomes less hospitable. A pre-planning meeting will be scheduled prior to the trip


Family Trek

June 23 – July 1, 2018  $1250/adult  $800/kid  All Ages
Unplug and explore the Southwest with your family for a fun-filled week this summer!  The Family Trek is an unparalleled opportunity to travel, experience, and live in the great American Southwest while sharing the experience with your loved ones. This Trek is designed for Alumni to revisit the Gulch, or for new families interested in getting outside and learning the skills necessary to experience the four corners with confidence. Experienced educators will accompany you and your family as you hike, rock climb, visit local artists, experience native pueblos, create art in our arts workshop, and visit historic ruins. With Family Trek, you get to spend your time as you wish, and we’ll offer plenty of fun, outdoors-oriented options. This is a chance to explore New Mexico while using the natural world to create a stronger family bond.


Basics of Backpacking

August 30- September 3, 2018  $200 first adult; $75 first child ($100/$50 each thereafter)  Ages 8+
Interested in getting deeper into the outdoors and exploring backcountry remote destinations with your kids but want a little help to get started?  Master the essentials and build your skills during this intro to introductory backpacking weekend.  Join our seasoned team for a long Labor Weekend as they take your outdoor skills to the next level.  Topics that will be introduced are backpacking fitting and loading, how to food plan for a trip, campsite location in the backcountry, cooking tips, basic first aid considerations, prevention and preparedness, basic navigating and orienteering, and what to do if you think you are lost.  Come prepared to have a great time, challenge yourself your kid’s comfort zone and make new outdoor friendships.  We will help you as you introduce backpacking to your kids (and maybe yourself) in a supportive, gradual approach.  A pre-planning meeting will be scheduled prior to the trip.

What is your cancellation policy?

A nonrefundable deposit of 20% of the full tuition will hold your place in the group and is due with the initial application. The remaining balance is due two months prior to the beginning of the trek. If you sign up within 2 months, the full tuition is required in order to reserve a place.

If you need to cancel your enrollment, the 20% deposit is nonrefundable at any time. If you cancel prior to two months before the trek, the remaining 80% of your tuition is fully refundable. Within two months, no paid tuition is refundable. A full refund will only be made if an application is not accepted or if the expedition must be canceled. All adult and family treks have a minimum number of participants. If the minimum number of participants has not been met two months prior to the trek, we will cancel the trek and issue refunds. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause with travel plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for answers to our most frequently asked questions about adult and family treks!

What You’ll Explore

The Gulch experience embodies these core activities:

Wilderness Immersion

Backpacking, hiking, rock climbing excursions.

Art & Culture

Art, music, and Native American culture.

Science & Nature

Ecology, biology, paleontology, and much more.

Community & Service

Give back to this land and its people.