Ranch Hands

  • 16 days and nights
  • Fee: $450 in 2022

  • Register: By individual
  • Season: Summer
  • Age: 16 years old by the start date and not yet 21 by the end date
  • Leadership: 2 adult leaders provided by Philmont
  • Registration: Anytime
  • Dates: July 7 – 23


Ranch Hands is a program for Scouts and Venturers who have knowledge of horsemanship and horse care and want to expand their skills and experience. The Ranch Hand crew will work with the horse department staff, taking care of Philmont’s 300 horses and 80 burros, hauling hay, saddling, and performing other horse program tasks.

Devon Piret practices twirling a rope at Beaubien while on a Cavalcade on Sunday, June 20, 2021.

Who May Participate?

To be able to participate in the Ranch Hands 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 time it ends.
  • Be physically fit, able to lift and handle materials up to 65 pounds.
  • As with all Philmont horse programs, participants must not weigh more than 200 pounds.
  • Be able to work and live under the leadership of one of Philmont’s horsemen at one of the horse camps or at headquarters.
  • Complete a BSA Annual Health and Medical Record.

Previous Philmont experience is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended. In order for Philmont to comply with New Mexico work law, no exceptions can be made to these requirements.

What Activities Does the Program Include?

After an eight-day work session, the Ranch Hands crew embarks on an eight-day Cavalcade under the leadership of a horseman and wrangler. Participants ride trails through some of the most beautiful country in the United States. Each night is spent in a different backcountry camp, where the program may include rock climbing, archaeology, mountain man rendezvous, or homesteading. The final afternoon of the Cavalcade features a horseback gymkhana in the arena at Ponil Camp. 

How Do I Apply?

Each participant must complete a Ranch Hands Application in addition to online registration (approved by a parent or guardian and a unit leader) and provide one letter of recommendation. Mail or email your completed application to:

Philmont Scout Ranch
Attn: Rand Hands
17 Deer Run Road
Cimarron, NM 87714

or philmont.camping@scouting.org

Additional Information

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Shuttle Information

Shuttle service is available to Philmont from Denver, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque airports. Please download a shuttle form below. These shuttles are not available for 12-day, 9-day, 7-day, or cavalcade crews. 

Please note that the shuttle servicing Denver and Colorado Springs cannot transport a Scout with “unaccompanied minor” airline status.

**Shuttle forms/dates/rates are currently under review for 2022 and will be posted when available.