Philmont Scout Ranch is a large, rugged, mountainous ranch located near the town of Cimarron in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico. The ranch, formerly the property of oil baron Waite Phillips and now that of the Boy Scouts of America, is currently in use as a National High Adventure Base in which crews of Scouts and Venturers take part in backpacking expeditions and other outdoor activities. It is the largest youth camp in the world by size and number of participants.
Philmont is also home to the Philmont Training Center, which is the main center for BSA's national-level training for volunteers and professionals. In addition to its extensive BSA programs, Philmont continues to operate as a ranch, maintaining a relatively small stock of cattle, horses, and bison.
Trek: The standard and most popular Philmont program is the trek. A typical Philmont trek lasts 10 days and covers anywhere from 50 to 120 miles (80 to 190 km) of trail. In 2008 there are 35 different trek itineraries, ranging from easy to super strenuous. Each trek is unique, covering distinct regions, peaks, and camps. A group of Scouts on a trek is called a crew; most crews are assembled by troops, Venturing crews, or local councils. A crew consists of eight to twelve people, with two to four adult leaders, a chaplain's aide, and a crew leader. A contingent consists of one or more crews from the same council (see Boy Scouts of America: Organization), traveling together. Sister crews are crews that follow the same itinerary and are usually from different troops. Around 360 trekkers arrive at base camp every day of the season.
A typical crew's experience is as follows:
The crew arrives in Base Camp, checks in at the Welcome Center, and meets its ranger, a trained staff member from the Ranger Department. He or she assists them in the various registration ("processing") procedures, which consist of verifying their itinerary with Logistics and checking out gear, such as a dining fly, bear ropes, bear bags, and water purification tablets, from the Services building.
A crew also receives several days' worth of Philmont trail food, packaged in bags which feed two people each; the exact quantity depends on the crew's itinerary and the day on which it is scheduled to reach the next commissary (see below). Philmont also provides optional cooking supplies.
The crew spends its first night in Trailbound Tent City where the trekkers sleep in canvas tents. The next morning, they eat breakfast at the dining hall and board a bus to one of the ranch's several trailheads, called "turnarounds" because they consist of a loop in the road for the bus to turn around.
The ranger verifies the trekkers' general backpacking knowledge, and teaches them specific Philmont procedures, such as bear procedure and latrine usage. Rangers stay with their crews for two days, and depart on the morning of the third day. In the next eight days the crew will hike through the Philmont wilderness, staying at various staffed camps and unstaffed "trail camps" scattered about the Ranch. On the final day, the crew returns to Base Camp, sometimes by bus from a turnaround or by climbing over the Tooth of Time and hiking directly into Base Camp. During the final day at Base Camp, the crew cleans up, returns various Philmont-issued supplies, and attends the closing campfire.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.