Philmont Scout Ranch - The Complete Guide!
Philmont Name

The Complete Guide to Philmont
Philmont Home Page

Cimarron, New Mexico

Welcome to Troop 764's Philmont Scout Ranch Web Site!

Last revised October 16, 2006.

St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church
Dunwoody, Georgia

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Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away!


In keeping with the policies of the B.S.A., rules for participation are the same for everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, or special needs. Participants must be registered members of the B.S.A. who will be at least age 14 by January 1 of the participating year or have completed the eighth grade prior to attendance. Some special programs allow for individual person registration and participation. A crew must have a majority of its members under age 21. Each participant must be capable of participating in the backpacking or horseback riding trek.

**** Reservation information ****

Click here to go directly to the "Links Section"!


The Valle Vidal is a unit of the Carson National Forest and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It is used by Philmont Scout Ranch and the Boy Scouts of America under a lease arrangement. The Valle adjoins Philmont's northern most boundary.

El Paso Corporation has requested permission to drill for coal bed methane in the Valle, and the Forest Service is holding hearings in this regard.

In addition to Scouts, the Valle Vidal is used by ranchers, hunters, fishermen, and others seeking the solitude and tranquility of the Valle's pristine environment.

Even if drilling is approved at one well per 160 acres (and not the one well per 40 acres as requested), the impact on the environment and wildlife will be irreversible. Imagine the Valle with drills running 24 hours a day, pipelines and roads crisscrossing throughout, heavy trucks and equipment, and drinking water forever contaminated with chemicals, mineral salts and petroleum products. That is the legacy of natural gas drilling throughout the Soutwest and is the basis for the growing upswell of opposition in communities throughout Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.


Read what Mark Anderson, Program Director for Philmont, had to say at a hearing on February 10, 2005:

Anderson discussed how thousands of Boy Scouts use the Valle Vidal. Every summer, 22,000 visitors, 5,000 participants in Boy Scout training facilities and 1,016 seasonal staff descend upon Philmont. Anderson said this summer, Philmont expects about 2,000 Boy Scouts will visit the Valle Vidal.

The Valle Vidal provides Scouts with unique training and educational opportunities. "We practice ‘Leave No Trace’ principles," Anderson said, "What a great place to learn that practice."

Additionally, every Scout who uses the Valle Vidal must volunteer at least 3 hours on conservation projects in the unit. To date, Anderson estimated Scouts have dedicated 69,000 volunteer hours to projects including fire rehabilitation efforts, streambed and watershed improvements and erosion barriers.

Scouts who visit the Valle Vidal have the opportunity to participate in educational programs at three staffed camps in the unit, including mountain biking, astronomy, environmental awareness, and search and rescue.

As reported by the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle. Full story


Please take just a few minutes to voice your opinion by clicking on the following link and casting your vote (this site will send communications to key leaders on your behalf): Voice your opinion here!

Also, please sign this petition: Sign up here!

Thanks for your support!

Preserve Philmont so that those who visit 50 years from now will have the same experience as those who hiked in 1955 or 2005.

The Valle in the news (excerpts):

Thursday, June 23, 2005
Drilling shifts political fault lines in U.S. West
By Timothy Egan - The New York Times - Full story

The 32,000 acres, or 13,000 hectares, of public land that Blancett and her husband, Linn, use for grazing cattle is now riddled with gas wells and pipelines. Petroleum byproducts have poisoned the water, she said, killing animals and causing the fertility rate to fall.

The fight has drawn in what is called the world's biggest Boy Scout ranch, the Philmont in northeast New Mexico. It has involved ranchers from the Front Range in Montana and the high desert in Wyoming. And there are retirees, who moved to the West during a real estate boom only to find gas derricks blocking their mountain views.

Thursday, March 3, 2005
Guest View: Pristine Valle Vidal in Danger
By Jeff Young - Mountain View Telegraph - Full story

What will it look like? Take a look at a West Texas or Southeast New Mexico landscape and add a few trees. Miles and miles of roads will dot the previously untouched forests and meadows. Heavy truck traffic will provide the background noise, where it was previously only the wind and the lonesome call of an elk bugling on the hillside.

Wildlife management experts know the impacts to wildlife are real. Campers and hikers coming to the Valle for solitude will find it no longer exists, and hunters and fishermen will see that the impact on the quality of their experience is significant. Three thousand Boy Scouts each year will be denied an opportunity that for some has been called a "life-changing experience." How much more can we take sitting down?

Thursday, July 15, 2004
Redford leads attack on Bush's environmental record
Albuquerque Journal | by Tania Soussan, Journal Staff Writer | Full story

Gov. Richardson criticized the Bush administration for its plans to increase oil and gas drilling on southern New Mexico's Otero Mesa and for coal-bed methane development being considered in the Valle Vidal in the Carson National Forest.

"Here's the position of the government in New Mexico on drilling in the Valle Vidal: We're against it," Richardson said, announcing his stand on the issue for the first time.

He said the state would make it tough for oil and gas drilling to go forward there.

"We spent years protecting the Valle Vidal," Richardson said. "There are plenty of other areas to drill in that part of the state."
Read more about what's happening:

Boy Scouts Occupy Valle Vidal to Block Drilling (April 28, 2005). Read about the siege of the Valle.

Excellent summary of the issues by David M. Kahler.

Philmont Staff Association Comments

Coalition for the Valle Vidal

See what impact the drilling might have on the Valle (photos and map).

A map showing the number of projected wells.

American Rivers Endangered Rivers Website

Fight for the Valle - The Taos News (.pdf file) (includes a photo of the effects on the landscape).

Drilling Study (.pdf file)

-- 2005, 2004 & 2003 Trek Updates --

In 2003 and 2004 mosquitoes and bugs - practically unknown at Philmont - have been reported as a big problem throughout the ranch, but particularly in the South, and not just when near burros and horses. Philmont had a wetter than normal winter which may have contributed to this problem. If you left your bug repellant home on previous treks you will need to rethink that this year.

Here's a quote from Wayne White, Troop 222, in Moulton, AL:
" The mosquitoes are or were out in full force. The only camps we were not tortured by mosquitoes were Rayado river, Clark's Fork and Tooth Ridge but they were not as bad at Hunting Lodge as else where. Anytime we stopped for a break on the trail between these camps we were swarmed over with mosquitoes. There were more mosquitoes than I've ever seen anywhere, even worse than on the AT. They were even on top of Mt. Phillips. As someone else mentioned, we had to wear rain gear at meals to help ward them off. Our ranger had advised us (a crew of 8) to leave all but one 2 ounce bottle of repellent behind and we ran out early in the trek."

And more from Bill Penniston, Pony Express Council:
" BUGS -- we had a southern route. Had lunch one day at Comanche Camp and, while sun was out bright, we ate in full raingear to try to protect from the mosquitoes. TERRIBLE!!! Same for Comanche Peak and several other southern camps to various extent. Had told our parents prior to trek that bugs were not an issue........ egg on me!!!"

2003 & 2004 Philmont weather was wetter and cooler than normal, so Be Prepared!


From long-time Philmont List contributor Al Thomson:

Many long-time List members are aware that I have prepared a comprehensive summary/comparison of the various Itineraries for the past several years. The level of detail is such that it cannot be done quickly when the new edition of TREKS is issued in March, so it is always the prior year's routes. However, for crews doing their homework reviewing what was available LAST year in preparation for making their selection THIS year, it is helpful, especially when looking at two similar routes to see what the difference is.

Be aware that advance word is that there will be "more than the usual number" of changes to routes in 2005 - the "usual number" is something like two or three completely new routes and extensive changes to three to five routes. Don't send back your selection card until you confirm the 2005 routes are what you want.

Prior year's versions are posted on Selden's pages and in other places, but they are really just history. The 2004 versions are available here:

Microsoft Excel format: Click here! and Adobe .pdf format: Click here! (free Adobe Reader is needed)

The documents are formatted to print on five 11x17 sheets (seven treks per page) plus a sixth page of notes. If you do not have access to a large format printer, it probably would be best to print portions of each page and tape them together.

Included are each night's camp, each day's activities, food pickups, day by day miles (in particular, this is information not readily available anywhere else), peaks, summaries of trek features (like number of trail camps, number of night in the Valle, etc.), etc.

I'd appreciate any feedback on enhancements (or if you spot an error...)

Al Thomson, Troop 236
Schooley's Mountain, NJ
Treks 1999, 2001, 2003
Autumn Adventures 2000, 2002, 2004


1999-2005, including 1976, 1987 & 1994 Trek Comparisons - Excel spreadsheet by Al Thomson
1999-2004 Trek Comparisons - Adobe .pdf file by Al Thomson




Page 56, Itinerary 17 map shows the route for Itinerary 18.
Trek 17 is in the North and Valle, while 18 is Central and South; however, the profile under the map appears to be for Trek 17.


A couple of days ago, someone on the list asked for a comparison of the 2003 
to the 2004 Treks.  I received my Treks book today (3/18) (in Oklahoma City) 
and note the following changes in 2004.  I compared the 2004 book against 
the 2003 treks summary spreadsheet by Al Thomson, available on
Selden's Philmont page 
(  I only 
compared campsites.  I did not compare commissary stops, etc.  The day 
numbers count your arrival day at base camp as the first day (day 2 is your 
first day on the trail).  I think I have everything correct - I went pretty 
fast.  Most minor changes seem to have been moving 1 day out
of a staff camp to a nearby trail camp.  There were 5.5 complete changes.

Allen Jones

Trek    Changes
1        No Change
2        No Change
3        No Change
4        No Change
5        No Change
6        No Change
7        No Change
8        No Change
9        No Change
10       No Change
11       Day 3 - Carson Meadow in lieu of Lookout Meadow
12       No Change
13       Olympia, Zastrow, Carson Meadow, Aqua Fria, Crooked Creek, Clear 
Creek, Cyphers Mine, Cimarroncito, Cimarroncito, Upper Clarks Fork
14       Day 4 - Bear Caves in lieu of Crater Lake
15       Day 9 - Pueblano Ruins in lieu of Pueblano
16       No Change
17       Anasazi, Indian Writings, Old Camp, Seally Canyon, Whiteman Vega 
(2), Ring Place, Iris Park, Rich Cabins, Ponil.
18       No Change
19       Bent, Rich Cabins, Dan Beard, Iris Park, Ring Place, Whiteman Vega 
(2), Seally Canyon, Old Camp, Indian Writings
20       Last Half changed - Lovers Leap, Bear Caves, Zastrow, Lower Bonito 
Fish Camp, (change starts) Crooked Creek (2), Mt. Phillips, Hunting Lodge, 
Clarks Fork
21       Day 3 - Flume Canyon in lieu of Pueblano
22       No Change
23       Day 9 - Upper Sawmill in lieu of Sawmill
24       No Change
25       Day 7 - Comanche Camp in lieu of Clear Creek, Day 8 - Buck Creek 
in lieu of Porcupine
26       Day 10 - Upper Clarks Fork in lieu of Clarks Fork
27       Bent, Rich Cabins, Greenwood Canyon, Iris Park, Ring Place, Seally 
Canyon, Whiteman Vega, Cook Canyon, Dan Beard, Ponil
28       Day 5 - Clarks Fork in lieu of Upper Clarks Fork, Day 6 - Devil's 
Wash Basin in lieu of Ute Springs
29       No Change
30       No Change
31       Day 8 - Baldy Skyline in lieu of Head of Dean
32       Day 11 - Ponderosa in lieu of Clarks Fork
33       No Change
34       Sioux, Elkhorn, Ewells Park (2), Head of Dean, Visto Grande, 
Sawmill, Thunder Ridge, Porcupine, Abreu
35       No Change


All treks except the following NEW ones are basically the same as 2002:
Trek 19 ..... features Sawmill, Mt Phillips crossing, Beaubien
Trek 20 ..... Fish Camp, Black Mountain, Mt Phillips, Clarks Fork
Trek 25 ..... Cimarroncito, Mt Phillips crossing, Beaubien
Trek 31 ..... Cimarroncito, Harlan, Head of Dean, Mt Baldy from Baldy Camp
Trek 34 ..... Cyphers Mine, Mt Phillips crossing, Black Mountain, Fish Camp

Trek 15 has an error regarding the last camp. The table was not updated from 2002. It lists the Western Lore theme when it should be Rock Climbing or Environmental Awareness as available programs. Apparently the switch from Ponil to Dean Cow was missed.

If you see any other changes, please let me know. Thanks!


Itineraries 7 and 19 have been completely revised and no longer include Baldy. The last days of 25 have been changed. Many of the other treks include minor changes, particularly the starting camp. In the South Country, Rimrock and Olympia Camps are two new starting camps, replacing Rayado River Camp. Previously inactive Baldy Skyline Camp is now being used on Trek 20. Mileage has been revised upward on many treks. Most mileage changes are to correct errors from last year's guide.

Click here to learn how to make a Philmont reservation!

--The first 2006 Treks Books (Itinerary Guides) started arriving on Tuesday, March 14.--

--The first 2004 Treks Books (Itinerary Guiides) started arriving on Wednesday, March 17.--

--The first 2003 Treks Books (Itinerary Guiides) arrived at folks homes on March 21
(about a week later than 2002).--

In 2002 our troop received and mailed our trek selection card on Friday, March 15.
We received mail confirmation of our first choice, Trek 29, on Friday, March 22.

New in 2003 is the distribution of the Philmont Interactive Ranger CD to every crew coming to Philmont. It is good for 20 days after first use. To continue using it you need to obtain an activation code from Philmont. Cost is $49.99.

It includes all 35 itineraries covering over 3,000 miles. There are trail profiles for your complete itinerary or just a single day. The topo maps (1:24000) have a new hill-shaded 3D version. There are also aerial photos of the ranch.

Order yours today!

Philmont Interactive Ranger CD
Item# 21577 $49.99 / Shipping $8.00
Address is:
Philmont Scout Ranch
Attn: Tooth of Time Traders
Route 1, Box 35
Cimarron, NM 87714

Phone: (505) 376-2281 Ext. 243 / FAX: (505) 376-2602
Philmont Interactive Ranger CD

The daughter of one of the prominent Philmont List contributors and Philmont advisors, Signe Rogers, is in the right foreground of the great Treks 2003 Book cover page picture. A member of the Ranger staff for six years, Sarah Rogers (now Sarah Rogers Raush), is certainly deserving of this honor. Congratulations Sarah!

5,000 new Tooth of Time Traders catalogs were mailed in September, 2001.
Shelley says this is the "first 'real' catalog that we have ever produced!!!"

Youth or adults -- would you like to work at Philmont?
Click here for more information

Applicants must be physically fit, age 18 by June 1 or older, and available to work from May 30 to August 21. BSA will hire over 900 people to work at Philmont. Starting salary is based on experience and ranges from over $700 to around $1,000 per month. Room and three meals a day are included.

Contact Philmont Scout Ranch Administration or call Philmont at (505) 376-2281.

Get a copy of the Philmont Staff Application
(.pdf format - you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader - Get it here!)

Need a ride to Philmont?
Check out the "Rides Offered / Wanted"
service of the Philmont Staff Association.

How about Philmont in the fall or winter?

Click here for more information

Philmont Waiting List Information
Year # On List # Contacted
2007 1,416 87
a.o. 10/06/06
2006 1,726 302
a.o. 2/28/06
2005 1,457 281
a.o. 1/27/05
2004 1,051 80
a.o. 10/17/03
2003 1,270 168
a.o. 04/04/03
2002 1,475 113
2001 1,206 385
(Jambo year)
2000 ? 57
If you have updated waiting list information,
please e-mail me and I'll post it here.

Troop 764 went to God's country in 1998, 2000,
2002, 2004, and will be returning in 2006!  :)
In 2002 we did Fire Modified Trek 29!

Check out the current Philmont weather
and forecast at The Weather Channel.
Click here for a 30 day rain forecast!

Y2K Patch
Starting in 2001 Philmont will no longer be stocking backcountry trading posts with "junk". We will be stocking them with gorp, trail mixes and other high-energy items. There will be fruit available at all of the commissaries. I believe there will be apples.

Shelley O'Neill
Director - Tooth of Time Traders

**** Food tastes better when the hunger is earned! ****

From the Minutes of the PSA annual meeting:

"In addition, Mark [Anderson] detailed the following statistics for the 2001 season:
19,002 participants on trek, 318 Cavalcade, 10 Ranch Hands, 48 ROCS, 101 Rayado, 109 OA Trailcrew, and 289 Mtn. Treks for a grand total of 19,875 participants in backcountry programs."

A bad day at Philmont is still better than any day in the real world!


Here are links to all the great Philmont web sites:



Reservations are now handled through an online lottery.
Sign-up is in October and November for a trek almost two years out.

Get information here!

This is the old method for those of you not familiar with how the system used to work.

All 2003 treks are full (with a long waiting list)! The call-in date for year 2004 was Saturday, November 9, 10:00am - 1:00pm CST at (800) 962-4000. Be sure to get on the Philmont mailing list for information about the next reservation opportunity.

To get on the list and receive call-in information, write to:

Philmont Scout Ranch
Route 1, Box 35
Cimarron NM 87714

Or call Philmont at (505) 376-2281 ext. 225.

Philmont information packets are typically mailed 4-6 weeks before the call-in date.

Council invitations for 2004 went out in the summer of 2002.

Call-in times are 10am-1pm, Central Standard Time.

The call in phone number is (800) 962-4000 (you are not calling Philmont). You can have 12 to a crew with a minimum of two adults, but your crew must be majority boys. You may also have more than one crew, but be realistic. Have several dates, as your first choice may not be available. You may make reservations for your unit only!

The treks are called 12 day expeditions, but when you include your departure date, the time at Philmont is typically 13 calendar days -- arrival day + 11 trail days (10 nights) + your departure day. The first day of arrivals is June 8 and the last day is August 9.

2004 season "Short Trek" reservations can be made by calling the Philmont Camping Registrar at (505) 376-2281 beginning Tuesday, December 3, 2002, 8:00am MST. Short trek arrival dates are August 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14. These treks last 7-9 days (your arrival and departure days count as one day, so you are at Philmont 8-10 days -- on the trail 6-8 days).

The short trek cost is $42/person/day. $50 per person is due by January 31, 2003. Half of the remaining balance will be due by October 1, 2003, with the remainder due by March 1, 2004.

Short treks usually take a while to fill, so if you are interested in doing one for the upcoming season, there may be openings. Call and check it out!

For all treks be ready with the following information: Unit Type (troop, varsity team, venturing crew, or coed venturing crew), Unit Number, Contact Name, Caller's Name (if different), Address, Council Name, Home & Work Telephone Numbers, Number of Youth & Adults, Number of Crews (e.g., 16 youth + 4 adults = 20/12 = 1.66 = 2 crews).

Maximum crew size is 12. Minimum size is 7. All Scouts must be age 14 by January 1 of the year of attendance or have completed the 8th grade and be at least 13 years of age by time of participation. You may place a reservation for more than one crew, but all reservations must be FOR YOUR REGISTERED UNIT ONLY!

Participants between the ages of 18-20 may count as a youth or an adult, but there must be at least one advisor per crew who is 21 years of age or older. There can be no more than 4 adults per crew!

Once a reservation has been made changes must be made directly with Philmont after November 18.

A non-refundable deposit of $50 per participant is due by January 31.

Units may not transfer reservations to another unit. If you are unable to attend during the time period you selected, you must notify Philmont immediately!



This is for the old method for those of you not familiar with how the system used to work.


  • Get as many people calling as possible. Use speed dialing phones if available. One year my wife was the only person to get through. She used a regular touchtone phone with sticky keys. You never know. It's mostly luck.
  • Be sure every caller has the same trek date information (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.). If you want to arrive on June 14, but it's taken, I would then try June 15, 16, 17, etc., until you reach an unacceptable time period. I think this works better than picking a date in June, one in July, and another in August. Give your callers a complete list of all acceptable trek start dates - be as flexible as possible.
  • Many schools do not let out until the middle of June (or even the 3rd week) so try for a June date as early as possible. Also, many schools now start as early as August 1st, so picking dates late in the season might be a good strategy. The best weather at Philmont is usually in June. The arrival dates in August are usually the last to be filled.
  • Synchronize everyone's watches. Some people are off by 5 minutes or more. Start calling about 2 minutes before the actual start time.
  • Keep calling and calling. It might take an hour or longer, but if any slots are still available, it could be one you want. Don't give up until one of your callers gets through and is told everything is booked. Even then be sure to get on the waiting list. Most crews offered their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice of dates get through in the first 20-30 minutes. After an hour there is little chance of any openings.
  • In addition to the phones being used to call Philmont, be sure everyone has a cell phone (and it's turned on) or a second line by their side. Give everyone a list of these secondary phone numbers. Once a reservation has been made, the person making it should start calling these other phones to let everyone know they can stop calling (give each person a calling tree list). Since folks regular phones will be busy dialing and dialing, there may be no other way to reach them.
  • Check to see if your council has slots reserved for Philmont. If the dates work for you and they have openings, this is the easiest way to get in. Councils are assigned their dates and crew slots well before the general reservation date.

This section includes information about Troop 764's trip to Philmont --
June 19 - July 2, 2000:

This section includes information about Troop 764's trip to Philmont --
June 20 - July 2, 1998:


Philmont Hymn Words and Midi

Click on the image above to hear the Philmont Hymn melody (midi file).

Philmont Grace

For food, for raiment,
For life, for opportunity,
For friendship and fellowship,
We thank thee, O Lord.

No one ever really leaves Philmont.
Your soul becomes one with the trail,
and deep in your heart a piece of Philmont remains forever.

                       -- Earl Owens

Philmont bull

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