Go the Distance

Award recognizes hikers, bikers, and boaters who rack up the big Five-O.

Most people think nothing of traveling 50 miles by car, bus, or plane. But 50 miles on foot? That’s another story—and just the sort of achievement the 50-Miler Award recognizes. Scouts can earn this colorful award by completing 50-mile, five-day treks by several nonmotorized means.

What is the objective of the 50-Miler Award? The award seeks to stimulate interest in Scouting ideals and promote activities that improve personal fitness, self-reliance, knowledge of the outdoors, and understanding of conservation.

Who is eligible for the 50-Miler Award? Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and Scout leaders.

What constitutes a qualifying trip? A chartered unit or provisional group might organize a trip, usually a high-adventure trek. The unit must make a complete plan for the trip that includes possibilities for advancement. The group must cover a trail (or a canoe or boat route) of not less than 50 consecutive miles and take a minimum of five consecutive days to complete the trip—all without the aid of motors. During the trip, each participant must spend at least 10 hours working on a conservation project such as trail maintenance.

Ten hours of service seems like a lot. Is there an alternative? If it’s not possible to complete the service requirement during the trip, you can do a similar project in your home area. This is how Philmont crews can complete the 50-Miler Award, because they do only three hours of service during their treks and an additional seven hours later.

What means of transportation can we use on our trip?The award covers hiking, bicycling, boating, and canoeing. Pack animals may be used where appropriate, but requirements prohibit the use of motors.

Can a Scout or Scouter earn the 50-Miler Award more than once? Yes.

How do we apply for the 50-Miler Award? Complete the 50-Miler Award application (No. 34408A) and submit it to your local Scout council service center. Find an application at scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34408.pdf.

Who approves the award? The unit leader or provisional group leader signs the application, which is then submitted to the local Scout council service center for final approval.

What recognition items are available? Recognition items include a decal (No. 32261), an embroidered patch (No. 191), a leather patch (No. 241), and a hiking-staff medallion (No. 14131). The leader should order recognition items when submitting the application.

Are the 50-Miler Award patches approved for uniform wear? No, but you may affix the patches to a patch blanket, backpack, or tent. You can also place award decals on canoes, paddles, and plaques.

Top of Page

March - April 2011 - Table of Contents