Roving Outdoor Conservation School

Register by individual Fee
Season Summer Length 21 days and nights
Age 16 by date attending and not yet 21
Crew Size Provisional Crew will be organized by Philmont
Leadership 2 adult leaders provided by Philmont
Registration Anytime


Can’t get enough Philmont? Our 21-day ROCS program will show you the whole ranch. A wide variety of hands-on activities, special programs, conservation projects, and visits from natural resource professionals give you a behind-the-scenes look at the science driving modern land management. Your mind and body will be put to the test as you explore 240,000 acres of Philmont and neighboring lands. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time built in for some of Philmont’s other world-class programs, too.


The Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS) is an exciting program for Scouts and Venturers who have an interest in conservation and natural resource management. Participants will enjoy a 21-day trek throughout Philmont's 140,171 acres of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of northeast New Mexico.

As the crew hikes the ranch, the participants will camp in many of the different forest types and participate in activities in some of the following areas: forestry, fire ecology, fisheries management, wildlife management, geology, watershed management, and range management. A crew will spend six days building new trails and rebuilding some existing trails.

The program is not limited to working on various conservation projects and hiking. ROCS is ultimately a journey that challenges Scouts and Venturers in education, service, and adventure.

Who May Participate?

To be able to participate in the ROCS program, participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Be at least 16 years old by the date the program begins and not yet 21 by the date it ends.
  • Be in excellent physical condition, able to hike 10 or more miles with a 40- to 50-pound backpack and able to lift and handle materials up to 50 pounds. (Philmont height and weight guidelines will be strictly enforced.)
  • Have mastered the skills of Leave No Trace camping and backpacking; previous Philmont experience is not mandatory but is strongly recommended.
  • Have a letter of recommendation: From an adult Scouter detailing the participant's backcountry experience.
  • Complete a physical examination.

What Activities Does the Program Include?

ROCS will offer each participant in-depth experience in conservation and environmental science. As the crew hikes the ranch, they will camp in many of the different forest types and participate in activities in the following areas: forestry, fire ecology, insects, fisheries management, wildlife management, geology, plant identification and dendrology, watershed management and range management. In addition, part of the trek will practice Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly techniques.

During the ROCS trek, each crew will spend six days building new trails and rebuilding some of the existing trails. The crew will also practice recreation management by improving trail and staff camps in the backcountry. The experience of trail construction and campsite improvement will provide some great skills that will be useful in projects at local council camps or recreation areas throughout the United States when the participants return home.


A $50 nonrefundable deposit is required with your application. The balance of the fee is due at the time of acceptance into the program.

Those applicants not accepted as youth participants in the program will have their deposit returned. Participants canceling acceptance may be eligible for a refund if notification is received at Philmont by May 1. No-shows are not eligible for a refund.

What Equipment Will I Need?

ROCS participants should bring clothing and personal effects for a 21-day excursion. All crew equipment such as tents, cooking gear, and tools will be provided by Philmont, and all participants will be covered by campers' insurance.

How Do I Apply?

Each participant must complete an application form (approved by a parent or guardian, a unit leader, and the local council Scout executive) and provide a letter of recommendation that attest to the participant's backcountry experience and ability to live under remote and primitive conditions.

Session Dates

Session # Dates
1 June 16 - July 7
2 June 23 - July 14
3 June 30 - July 21 (Female Session)
4 July 7 - 28
5 July 14 - Aug 4

Shuttle Information

Here participants may find registration information for shuttle services to Philmont Scout Ranch from Denver, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque airports.


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.