Where We Explore

Mountains, Mesas, Canyons…and Beyond

New Mexico is just the beginning!

Our home base is Cottonwood Gulch Base Camp located near Thoreau, in western New Mexico (see map on the right). From there, we travel across the Four Corner states as far away as:

  • The Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
  • The Grand Canyon, Arizona
  • Bryce Canyon, Utah
  • Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
  • Monument Valley, Arizona
  • …and so many more

Our younger groups, like The Outfit, spend most of their time at Base Camp and then venture for several days within 60 miles of Base Camp. Our older groups like Mountain Desert Trek will spend as long as three weeks on the road, exploring several ecosystems, mountain ranges, and cultures of the Southwest.

New Year, New Trek

Each year we customize a new trek itinerary for each group, adding new destinations, service learning opportunities, and different hiking routes. Every season we incorporate the best of the Southwest so you can come back year after year for a new and deeper experience.

Why the Southwest?

There are few places in the United States that are still as wild and demanding as the Southwest. Elk, bear, wolves and deer roam wild across the forests. Hawks and eagles populate the skies. The desert is home to coyotes, lizards and snakes. For thousands of years, human cultures have existed, adapted, intermingled and flourished here. Since 1926, our expeditions have explored the wilds, the history, and the society of the Southwest, always discovering there is more to see, more to learn, more to understand.


Where are we going in 2020?

Visit the Summer Treks Page

The Gulch map
The plan is to leave civilization behind and spend the months of July and August in remote and generally unknown regions of the Southwest; to establish temporary camps in sagebrush, pinon, and big timber and at ruin sites, deserted mining towns, and alpine lakes; to investigate the fauna, flora, and geology of each territory; to set a standard of camping which will be a satisfaction to ourselves, and a model to others; to live a physically vigorous life, with a taste of the hardships which the early explorers expected. From this it will be understood that the expedition is not a sightseeing trip nor a deluxe dude ranch.”
Hillis Howie

Cottonwood Gulch Founder, 1938