High-Adventure Week: Summit Bechtel Reserve for 2022-2023

If you want high adventure, you can find it at the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base and the James C. Justice National Scout Camp in West Virginia.

At James C. Justice National Scout Camp, Scouts can enjoy climbing, aquatics, fishing, cycling, skateboarding and working on almost 50 merit badges. The weeklong resident camp provides challenging advancement opportunities and Scouting traditions. This program is intended to build upon and supplement unit and local resident camp experiences and includes merit badge/ranger elective classes, open activity time, training courses and campwide events.

The Summit offers “High-Adventure Experiences,” during which Scouts can go whitewater rafting, mountain biking, navigate backcountry trails on an ATV and more. Last year, the Summit launched three more experiences: the Marksman, Pack N’ Paddle and the Orion Project, to add to New River, Summit, Bikepacking and Polaris ATV. Most of the spots for the 2022 experiences are full, but you can check for availability.

With the success of the Pack N’ Paddle Experience launch in 2021, the Summit has added 400 available slots so Scouts can get a chance to explore in America’s newest national park.

You can find registration information at either the high-adventure base or Scout camp here or through the BSA’s Find Your Adventure info portal. To Be Prepared for the best possible experience on registration day, make sure your My.Scouting account is up to date.

Find your adventure

The Paul R. Christen National High Adventure experiences are:

  • New River Experience: This is a 50-mile paddle trek on the New River. Scouts will navigate the upper portion of the river in inflatable kayaks through Class I to III rapids. The final whitewater day in the Lower Canyon is a rafting experience and includes Class III to IV rapids. Crews camp along the river through the New River Gorge.
  • Polaris ATV Experience: This is 60-plus miles with five days of travel on ATVs. Stops along the way include epic vistas, exciting side programs and natural STEM education moments. Everyone will especially love the mudhole training.
  • Bike-packing Experience: This is 50-plus miles of backpacking style travel on bikes, “bikepacking.” Trails will include a mixture of single-track, double-track and a small amount of gravel or paved road. Vertical climbs are mostly 600 feet or less with two challenging climbs of around 1,000 vertical feet. Stops along the way, such as the town of Thurmond, provide an opportunity to delve into the history of the New River Gorge.
  • Summit Experience: Not sure which activity best suits you? Try them all with the Summit Experience program. It lets you try all the Summit’s high-adventure activities: BMX, skateboarding, mountain biking, zip lines, canopy tours, challenge courses, climbing and more in one setting.
  • Orion Project Experience: This is an enhanced version of the Summit Experience. Scouts can enjoy everything the Summit has to offer, plus there will be a private mountaintop concert.
  • Pack ‘N Paddle Experience: This new experience is built around exploring both the backcountry of the Summit Bechtel Reserve along with the surrounding New River Gorge National River. Combine 40 miles of backpacking and rafting the New River, and you have an exciting trip. Crews will explore small mining communities and forgotten rail beds as they travel on foot and on the water.

Prepare for the Jamboree

The National Jamboree is slated for July 19-28, 2023, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Stay tuned for updates.

For more on registration at other high-adventure bases, check the BSA’s Find Your Adventure portal. You can read about the upcoming seasons at Northern Tier and Sea Base here. The lottery for Philmont closed in December.

About Michael Freeman 391 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.