Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America's premier high-adventure base with more than 200 square miles of rugged wilderness located near the historic town of Cimarron in northern New Mexico.  Philmont offers a series of challenging backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs. The land rises from the eastern plains to the awe-inspiring Southern Rockies. These beautiful high peaks, the Sangre de Cristo range, are called the Magic Mountains.

Programs have evolved over the years with a summer backpacking experience being the most popular. Scouts spend twelve days in this beautiful and rugged land being challenged by the high peaks of the Magic Mountains, breathing the ponderosa pine, lying down in the high mountain meadows, meeting the mountain men and women of long ago, learning the ways of the native peoples, and standing in awe of the courage of out American and Mexican pioneers. During their hike, Scouts experience rock climbing, shooting sports, gold panning and horse rides, just to name a few activities. They also learn conservation of the land through Leave No Trace camping and a project that improves Philmont.


The area is rich in history. Philmont was the site of the first pioneer settlements in northeastern New Mexico. In 1841 Charles Beaubien, a French Canadian, and his partner Guadalupe Miranda, a Mexican citizen, were granted the deed to more than one million acres of Northern Mexico by the government of Mexico. In 1842 famous mountain man and US Army Scout Lucien Maxwell married Luz Beaubien, daughter of Guadalupe and led the first settlers to the grant in 1848. By 1857 Maxwell had either inherited or purchased the entire Beaubien-Miranda Land Grant, by then part of New Mexico in the growing United States. The native people, Jicarilla Apache, Ute and Comanche, were soon joined by Mexicans moving north and Americans moving west looking to trade in Santa Fe and to mine for gold. Maxwell and his partner, Kit Carson, facilitated the trade and mining operations by founding the historic Sante Fe Trail settlements of Rayado and Cimarron.

In 1870, Maxwell sold his ranch to an English land company known as the Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company, whose attempts to remove squatters led a bloody struggle which came to be called the Colefax County War. The land grant was subsequently acquired by Dutch interests and eventually was sold in tracts for farms and ranches.


Waite Philips  

"The only things we keep are those we give away"

- Waite Phillips

Waite Phillips donated most of the land that is now Philmont Scout Ranch to the Boy Scouts of America

In the early 1920s oil man Waite Phillips purchased 350,000 acres of the famous land grant, including Rayado and the homes of Lucien Maxwell and Kit Carson. He closed the Magic Mountains to commercial operations and developed the now world-famous Philmont Ranch. Between 1938 and 1941 he donated one third of the property, including the Maxwell and Carson National Historic Sites, to the Boy Scouts of America. In 1963 another generous donation of land from Norton Clapp, vice-president of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, added over 10,000 acres of land to the Scout Ranch. Currently, the size of the ranch is 137,493 acres. As one passes under the ranch gateway a sign reads these properties are:

"Dedicated to the purpose of perpetuating Faith, Self-reliance, Integrity, and the Freedom Principles used to build this great country so that these Scouts, by the inspiration of nature, will diligently maintain the high ideals of the pioneer and the pathway to our destiny......... Waite Phillips, December 31, 1941

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