Explore the Outdoors Together

Cottonwood Gulch offers unique expeditions rooted in the culture and landscape of the American Southwest. Kids from ages 8 to 18 will have the opportunity to explore together by participating in one of our available programs.

available programs




Adults Treks




Trekkers in 2021

The Programs at Cottonwood Gulch allow for kids to see a wide expanse of the American Southwest. Our Treks cover areas of the Bisti Badlands Wilderness to the San Juan, and Santa Fe National Forests. 


Cottonwood Gulch staff dedicate their days to creating opportunistic education. We want to inspire trekkers and percipients in a wide range of outdoor, community and personal skills. View our programs page to learn more.

About Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions

At the Gulch, we’ll inspire you with all of the places we explore, we will take you on world-class backpacking and hiking trails, connect you with hands-on science and nature, and engage you in the art and culture of the Southwest. Cottonwood Gulch has been leading expeditions across these incredible lands since 1926. Our staff are seasoned and gifted to ensure that trekkers and participants have a rich time while ensuring their safety in the outdoors. Our primary programs are focused on the summer months and are called, Summer Treks. However, we offer school and medical certification programs through-out the year.

The Gulch experience embodies these core activities:

  • Wilderness Immersion
  • Science & Nature
  • Community Service
  • Arts & Culture

Cottonwood Gulch Programs

Select a program below to be shown available options and/or details about the program.

Summer Treks

Our Summer Treks take kids from ages 8 to 18 all across the American Southwest. Activities such as Hiking, Mountain Biking, Camping, Skills Development and more are just the beginning of what a trek has to offer.


Ready to put classroom learning into action? Classroom expeditions combine elements of self-discovery, group collaboration, personal responsibility as well as our pillars of arts and culture, science and nature, and wilderness immersion.  

Treks for Adults, Young and Old

Treks for Adults, Young and Old are all other programs hosted at Cottonwood Gulch through-out the year. These events range from Semester in the Southwest, Wilderness Medical Certification Courses, YSC, and more.

Outdoor Training Center

The Outdoor Training Center at Cottonwood Gulch focuses on creating opportunities for outdoor leaders to gain certifications in a number of fields, from wilderness medicine to mountain biking instruction.


Featured Program

Summer Treks 2022

Registration Open Now

Registration for Summer Treks in 2022 are now open! We are excited to welcome trekkers to Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions for another season of trekking across the American Southwest.


Trek Log

Our trekkers keep a log while on their trek. Below are some of their experiences.

Weber Salmanson

“We did nothing all day but night was very eventful to say the least. A big storm with lightning and hail
came. That’s it.”

Soren Stevie

“The day started by breakfast. It was sausage and eggs. We did details then Cottonwoods. I choose hiking for fossils. I found a whistle? Train connector. Then we had lunch, details, then siesta, which we used to play Gaga Ball. During Gaga Ball, I got first and took out Leo. We did Cottonwoods again and I finally got to do metal working!! I made one copper ring but then I cut it in half so now I have two. We ate dinner, did details. Then we played games and had a Nalgene fire. Now we are taking ownerships. Currently the sunset looks really nice.”

Sonora Smith

“Today we did a walk of Basecamp even though I’’ve been here before. It was so hot and everyone was walking so slow. After that we went to Cottonwoods. I picked one with Jess to do art. Then we took a shower and played a game. We had an open camp fire in the Cha’oh. Then we hiked to Outfit and decorated our cabin.”

southwest outdoor education