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Philmont Itineraries

All of our Crews were issued Itinerary #1, a 56-mile trek through the beautiful southern portion of Philmont Scout Ranch that returns to camp by hiking over the Tooth of Time and down Tooth Ridge! See the description!

Philmont has many wonderful program opportunities, but arguably, the most important program is “The Hike.”  “The Hike” could be defined as hiking up a valley or over a mountain, facing and overcoming challenges as a crew, working together to succeed, being caught in a thunderstorm, laughing and telling stories during dinner at a trail camp, enjoying moments of complete solitude, deeply thinking about how you might make a difference in the world (or in your crew), and fully seizing each moment you have in these New Mexico mountains.  “The Hike” can be defined in many different ways, many that your crew will discover and redefine during your trek.  Philmont encourages you to think about the program opportunities that your crew would like to participate in while you are here, but also encourages you to always place high emphasis on the importance of “The Hike.”   

Philmont’s backcountry remains pristine largely because of the preplanned itinerary system.  With thirty-five itineraries to choose from, a crew can take advantage of many unique program features and select a hike that meets the physical ability of each crew member.  Following a preplanned itinerary helps Philmont know the locations of each crew for contact should an emergency arise.  This plan is also a vital part of Philmont’s overall conservation and wilderness ethic.

Crews will review the 35 available itineraries and select 5 that they would like to take.  The crew will be assigned one of these five choices in almost every case.  This assignment will be made during the Itinerary Selection process.

The Challenge

Most crews choose either a “challenging” or “rugged” itinerary.  Hiking with a heavy pack in elevations from 6,000 to nearly 12,500 feet is a major physical challenge.  It is not possible to “acclimatize” by spending a few days at elevations one is not accustomed to.  Altitude sickness can usually be avoided by not sleeping above 9,000 feet for the first few days on the trail.  Philmont considers this and many other factors when planning the itineraries.

Youth participants are usually fully capable of mastering the challenge.  Many adults who lead sedentary lifestyles have great difficulty and could potentially be placing themselves in harm’s way.  

Itinerary Rating

The rating or degree of difficulty of each itinerary is determined by many factors such as mileage, elevation changes, number of layover days, days to carry food, distances to water sources, and topography to name a few. 

·         A “Challenging” itinerary will allow the crew more time for program.  It also allows time to do some interesting side hikes, visit backcountry trading posts, take showers, and just enjoy the solitude of the backcountry trail camps.

·         A “Rugged” itinerary, although offering more physical challenge, is very enjoyable for a crew that has trained.  It also offers a variety of exciting program.

·         A “Strenuous” itinerary is just as it sounds.  A great experience for a crew of physically fit, older Scouts Venturers, and capable adults.  More time is devoted to hiking; however, a well prepared crew can still experience several programs.  Many seasoned crews who have hiked together several years choose a strenuous itinerary.

·         A “Super&Strenuous” is, by far, the most difficult and, for a small but dedicated group of Philmont crews, the most rewarding   These few itineraries are highlighted by climbing some of Philmont’s highest peaks and hiking long days of many miles.  These itineraries should only be attempted by older more experienced crews where every person is in exceptional physical condition.  

A PDF file with the descriptions of the 35 treks offered in 2013 are attached below. Changes from year to year are generally minor and these provide a good reference in advance of the 2014 trek summaries which will be released in March 2014.

Itinerary Distances

The description of each itinerary shows a distance in miles.  This distance is calculated from the GIS map shown for the itinerary.  Be aware that this distance is measured from camp to camp and does not include some side hikes (except for Baldy Mt. and the Tooth of Time), going to or from conservation sites, or hiking to program areas.  Because of this, most crews can expect to actually cover 25% to 30% more mileage than what is shown. 

Providing the mileages in this document gives you a consistent, comparable distance between itineraries.   Philmont assigns only two crews each day to the same itinerary.  Often crews from the same troop or contingent would like to spend time in the same camp.  This rendezvous can be planned by choosing itineraries that would be in the same camp on the same day.  

Ref: Philmont 2013 Treks Guide

Robert Brese,
Sep 1, 2013, 11:36 AM
Robert Brese,
Jun 8, 2014, 10:11 AM