Discover You!

Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions offers unique expeditions rooted in the culture and landscape of the American Southwest! 

Our programs offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in the majestic land and cultural heritage of the American Southwest. At the Gulch, we’ll inspire you with all of the places we explore.  We will take you on world-class backpacking and hiking into pristine wilderness areas.  We’ll connect you with hands-on science and nature.  We’ll engage you in the art and culture that is the backdrop of this poetic place we call “The Southwest.” 

Take the first step and find yourself…     on the journey of your lifetime!

Geology

Geology

Come explore some places off the beaten path and learn about the incredible geology and paleontology of the Southwest. There are amazing experiences for those who are brand new as well as those who would consider themselves experts. 

Native Arts

Native Arts

Learn a new skill in our rustic, open air studio from a skilled teacher. 

Cultures Past and Present

Cultures Past and Present

Step into a rich world of cultural history and explore the connections between those who have come before us and the people who live here today. 

Birding

Birding

Whether you’re an experienced birder or just bird curious, we have an option for you! 

Bird Trek Arizona

Bird Trek Arizona

Date: May 4th-12th, 2019
Ages 21+
6-12 members
Cost: $1425

Join geologist John Bloch and ornithologist Arch McCallum for a fusion of their disciplines as we explore the incomparable Mesozoic and Cenozoic geology of southwestern Utah. We focus on flocks (birds) and rocks (geology) as an entry point to the entire ecosystem. In the process our two leaders (with PhDs in biology and geology) introduce us to geomorphology, geochemistry, biogeography, and ecology, all at comfortable level of detail. There is something for every naturalist on this expedition. Expect lots of good stories, laughter and great food, too!
Adventure

Adventure

Join us for rock climbing, canyoneering, mountain biking, and more! 

Archaeo-Astronomy

Archaeo-Astronomy

Dates: August 3-11, 2019
21 +
10-20 members
Cost: $1395

Gaze at the same stars as the people of centuries ago, in the lands and places many of them lived. Spend time taking in the sites and sounds of ancient (and current) desert life in Canyon de Chelly. Spend your evenings under star-filled skies gazing into telescopes and learning more about the relationship of the night skies and the early people of this area. Against the poetic backdrop of the red rock mesas, mountain vistas and pinon deserts of American Southwest, you will find yourself immersed in ancient culture, relaxed by days of living and sleeping outdoors, and inspired by the resilience and intellect of a people who have called this rugged landscape, “home”.Expect lots of good stories, laughter and great food, too!
Zuni Mountain YCC (Employment for Ages 16-18)

Zuni Mountain YCC (Employment for Ages 16-18)

Session 1: June 9-July 8, 2018
Session 2: July 12-August 9, 2018
Co-ed: Ages 16-18
10 crew members/session
Application open until positions are filled – Interviews begin May 8th, 2018

Work opportunity for 16-18 year olds looking for professional development opportunities in the outdoor industry.
Prairie Trek (boys 14-16)

Prairie Trek (boys 14-16)

Date: June 24-July 29, 2019
Boys: Ages 14-16
15-20 members
Cost: $4700

Two backpacking excursions; live and work on a Navajo farm; learn to rock climb or master your technique; explore ancient Puebloan ruins; in-depth exploration of the science, art, archaeology, and food of the Southwest.
Turquoise Trail (girls 14-16)

Turquoise Trail (girls 14-16)

Date: June 24-July 29, 2019
Girls: Ages 14-16
15-20 members
Cost: $4700

Two backpacking excursions in Utah and New Mexico; live and work on a Navajo farm; explore ancient Puebloan ruins; in-depth exploration of the science, art, archaeology, and food of the Southwest.
Mountain Desert Trek (AGES 16-18)

Mountain Desert Trek (AGES 16-18)

Date: June 24 – Aug. 8, 2019
Ages 16-18
All genders
15-20 members
Cost: $5700

Three backpacks in the mountains and desert of the American Southwest. Live and work on a Navajo Farm; develop your own projects in art, science, archaeology, food. Longest and most challenging of our expeditions.
Paleontology Trek (ages 14-18)

Paleontology Trek (ages 14-18)

Date: June 22nd-July 8th, 2019
Ages 14-18
All Genders
10-15 members
$3000 (College Credit Included)

Find and excavate real dinosaur bones with professional paleontologists; earn four college credits for your work; learn to live and camp in the exotic badlands of New Mexico; “behind the scenes” tour of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.
Outfit Expedition (ages 10-12)

Outfit Expedition (ages 10-12)

Session 1: June 22-July 8, 2019
Session 2: July 13-July 29, 2019
Co-ed: Ages 10-12
15-20 members
Cost: $2600

Introduction to outdoor living for younger and first-time campers. 10 Days at the Cottonwood Gulch Base Camp, summit Mount Taylor to watch the sunrise, Explore mushroom rocks, lava tubes, one-day river trip on the San Juan River.
Wild Country Trek (ages 13-15)

Wild Country Trek (ages 13-15)

Session 1: June 22 – July 13, 2019
Session 2: July 8 – July 29, 2019
Session 3: July 18 – August 8, 2019
Ages 13-15
(12 by instructor approval)
All Genders
10-20 members
Cost: $3250

Introduction to backpacking and rock climbing. 4-day backpack, explore the volcanoes of New Mexico, wander through Chaco Canyon, restore a New Mexico wetland, 7 days at the Cottonwood Gulch Base Camp.
Adventure Conservation Trek (ages 15-18)

Adventure Conservation Trek (ages 15-18)

Dates: June 22 – July 13, 2019
Ages 15-18
10-15 members
All Genders
Cost: $3150

Explore incredible climbing areas in the four corners region, meet local characters and adventure enthusiasts, and help save our planet at the same time! This trek will focus around conservation, rock climbing, mountain biking and general adventure in the Southwest.
Art & Music Trek (ages 15-18)

Art & Music Trek (ages 15-18)

Date: July 18 – Aug. 8, 2019
Co-ed: Ages 15-18
10-15 members
Cost: $3150

Let the wilderness inspire your art and music; work with professional artists throughout the Southwest; create pottery, rugs, and painting with Native American Artisans; spend two weeks as an artist-in-residence at our Cottonwood Gulch Base Camp, and one week traveling through New Mexico’s wilderness to inspire your creative side.
Get Outdoors (G.O.) Trek

Get Outdoors (G.O.) Trek

Session 1: June 23-June 29, 2019
Session 2: July 14-July 20, 2019
All Genders: Ages 12-14
15-20 members
Cost: $700

Join us for 7 fun-filled days of adventure, art and STEM programming. Located at our base camp in the Zuni Mountains of Western New Mexico, we will rock climb, hike, mountain bike and go caving. We will also learn how to work with pottery and silversmithing tools in our Arts Workshop.

Flocks and Rocks

Flocks and Rocks

Date: June 1st-June 9th, 2019
Ages 21+
10-16 members
Cost: $1395

Join geologist John Bloch and ornithologist Arch McCallum for a fusion of their disciplines as we explore the incomparable Mesozoic and Cenozoic geology of southwestern Utah. We focus on flocks (birds) and rocks (geology) as an entry point to the entire ecosystem. In the process our two leaders (with PhDs in biology and geology) introduce us to geomorphology, geochemistry, biogeography, and ecology, all at comfortable level of detail. There is something for every naturalist on this expedition. Expect lots of good stories, laughter and great food, too!
Family Trek

Family Trek

Date: June 22-June 30, 2019
Ages: All Ages
Cost: $1250 ($800 for kids)

Unplug for a while, and explore the stunning Southwest with your family. Suitable for all ages regardless of camping experience.

Science & Nature

Hands-on southwest outdoor education in ecology, biology, paleontology, and more
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Wilderness Immersion

Backpacking, hiking, and backcountry adventure in the American Southwest

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Arts & Culture

Innovative programs in pottery, silversmithing, songwriting, and Southwest culture
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Team Building & Adventure

Fostering life-long friendships, challenging yourself and rising to new challenges
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Community Involvement &
Service Learning

Giving back through meaningful projects and volunteer work
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Risk Management

Informed outdoor education practices and highly trained staff
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