High-Adventure Week: A look back at Philmont Scout Ranch

HAW-TuesdayPhilmont Scout Ranch has come a long way since its first season in 1939, when it hosted more than 180 Scouts at the base for a $1 per week fee. The land — 35,857 acres donated by Waite Phillips, an Oklahoma oil businessman — was first called the Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp.

In 1941, Phillips added to the land donation with a gift of 91,538 acres. The camp was renamed “Philmont Scout Ranch.” Scouts and Explorers enjoyed backpacking and camping programs second to none.

Attendance continued to grow, especially after the opening of the Philmont Training Center in the 1950s. Since then, Philmont has grown as one of the largest BSA national high-adventure bases, welcoming its one-millionth visitor earlier this summer.

Take a look back at some snapshots from the Scouting magazine archives, featuring the popular high-adventure base. Plus, we’ve included some images from this past summer to help give you a glimpse at the excitement to come in future trips.


An area map of Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp. (Scouting magazine, February 1940)


A description of Waite Phillip’s land donation in 1941 and the renaming of the base to “Philmont Scout Ranch.” (Scouting magazine, January 1942)


Photo snapshots from family camping experiences at the Philmont Training Center. (Scouting magazine, January-February 1976)


Burro treks continue to gain popularity with Scouts at Philmont in 1986. (Scouting magazine, January 1986)


Hikers pass the Apache Springs camp in Philmont’s backcountry during the 2014 summer. “Like” Philmont’s Facebook page for more images like this one.


Scouts hike Little Costilla Peak in June 2014, courtesy of Philmont Scout Ranch on Instagram. Follow @philmontscoutranch to view even more images.


Sunrise viewed from the Tooth of Time, courtesy of the Philmont photo collection. View more images in the new online gallery.


Fading light at Philmont, captured at the 2014 BSA Visual Storytelling Workshop. Find more images from the workshop at Facebook.com/BSAvisualstorytelling.

— By Gretchen Sparling