Registration for summer high-adventure crews at Philmont Scout Ranch starts in late October — a full 18 months before the trek actually occurs. And even then, when it comes to the 12- or seven-day treks, demand often outweighs supply, which is why crews register for the lottery, which happens in November.
However, there are occasionally some openings that pop up relatively late, due to crews dropping out for any variety of reasons.
Looking for something fun to do this summer? Here’s how to sign up now for an adventure at one of Scouting’s most significant and fun locales.
(Note that these open slots can get snapped up quickly. By the time you read this, some might already be gone. Act now to reserve yours!)
Know Before You Go
There’s lots of stuff to do at Philmont, located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a subrange of the Rocky Mountains, near Cimarron, New Mexico.
The Winter Adventure program offers the chance to experience the beauty of the area in winter while camping, traveling and thriving in the snow, and Autumn Adventure gives trekkers the chance to experience warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights.
STEM Treks are programs for Scouts and Venturers that focus on science, technology, engineering and math. And Family Adventure Camp, one of the newest Philmont innovations, offers the chance to experience Philmont with the entire family.
When we talk about openings for summer 2021, we’re talking about seven-, nine- and 12-day summer expeditions. These are the backpacking treks that many consider to be the pinnacle of Scouting. They aren’t easy, which is part of what makes them so great.
One reason most crews sign up 18 months early is because it can take almost that long to Be Prepared for Philmont. For those who don’t have rugged backpacking experience, most crews will start practice hikes at least that far in advance.
So, obviously, if you would like to hit the trail this summer, you’ll be operating on an accelerated schedule. Start getting in shape now!
Keeping in mind that this could change, there are currently multiple openings for 12-day treks in June and July 2021. In August, things open up a little more, including some available nine- and seven-day outings.
Over the coming weeks and months, your options will continue to shrink. If you really want to go in 2021 but don’t find a date that works for you, there’s a link on the Available Slots page to join the 2021 waitlist.
If none of this sounds right for you, there’s one more 2021 option that could work. Individual Treks are opportunities for Scouts and Venturers from across the country to experience Philmont independent of their home council or troop. Philmont offers eight different opportunities for individuals, spanning from 12 days (STEM Trek) to 21 days (Rayado).
Age requirements vary depending on the program, so pay close attention to the requirements for each trek.
And, yes, there are open individual openings for 2021, so sign up now!
Photos by W. Garth Dowling