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High Adventure Camps

Anyone who has been involved in scouting for more than a year or so has almost certainly heard about Philmont. What, you haven't heard about Philmont?

Philmont Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America oldest and premier high adventure camp. But it is most assuredly not the only such camp. In fact, while at present, the BSA has four national high adventure camps (Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier, and the Summit), there used to me more and many of those former national camps are now regional or council run and still open for business. The aim of this page is to collect some of the information on those camps so Troop 13 leaders can pick through their options for summer adventure.

Note that the focus will be on what I will, with some prejudice, call "real" high adventure camps as opposed to a council wannabe program where scouts are never more than a few hundred feet from a road. Yeah, that's biased, but I have a hard time calling it high adventure when your camp site suffers from traffic noise. A future editor may decide to change the picks you're looking at today and that's fine. But here are some links to get the ball started. Note that high adventure does not mean 50-miler award and some treks are much shorter. Also note that the focus is on existing programs that do not require Troop 13 to provide guides or expertise. There are arguments for both sending boys with or without adults from the troop on such adventures, I recognize that it will not always be possible to send our own leaders even we want to.

  • Floodwood Mountain Scout Reservation, run by the Northern New Jersey Council, this site is located in the Adirondacks. Most treks are a combination of canoe and backpack and do involve portages. They offer 6 treks only one of which is a full 50 miles, but a couple are close and might be adjusted to meet the 50-miler requirement. But none of these are true beginner treks except in the sense that the shorter ones (3-days for the MacIntyre Range Traverse) might be simple endured for 3 days. But I would only recommend these for older scouts who are up for something more challenging with beautiful scenary in the Adirondacks.
  • Maine High Adventure Base, run by the Katahdin Area Council, was a national high adventure base until 1991. According to their web site, canoeing is the most popular option, but backpacking remains popular in spite of this being home of the "100-mile wilderness," the final 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail which ends with the ascent up Mount Katahdin.