Backcountry Sneak Peak

Backcountry Sneak Peak is a progressive, challenging backpacking expedition that provides the opportunity to experience the Philmont backcountry in preparation and training for a full Philmont Trek experience 

Participation in the Backcountry Sneak Peak program is designed for Scouting units with individuals 13-18 and their advisorsParticipants must be registered in a Boy Scouts of America program to participate. Crews are placed under the supervision of two highly qualified Philmont rangers who plan the Sneak Peak to meet the abilities and experience of the crew.

Your adventure will begin as you are introduced to Philmont’s best practices through tours and hikes into Philmont’s backcountry.  As your week progresses, so will your hikes from easier terrain and length to moderate and more difficult.  The end of the week will mark the end of your skills progression with an overnight experience in Philmont’s backcountry with Philmont rangers. 

Participants will enjoy a hands-on introduction to Philmont’s backcountry and achieve a thorough understanding of the following: 

  • Efficient setting up and breaking down camp 
  • Bear bags and smellable procedures 
  • Dining fly and tent set up 
  • Gas stove care and operation 
  • Philmont’s backcountry cooking method 
  • Choosing gear that is right for you 
  • A Philmont Gear Shakedown 
  • Philmont Base Camp Operations   

The curriculum will also be provided for adult Crew Advisors attending Sneak Peak to learn more about topics like: 

  • How to go on a prep-hike 
  • Your role as a crew advisor 
  • Physical Conditioning 
  • Crew Leadership Positions & Dynamics

Participants will also enjoy other Philmont adventures like touring the National Scouting Museum, visiting Philmont’s high ropes course, participating in backcountry program, and more!

Participants must be 13 years or older (or have completed the 7th grade) and must be accompanied by an adult.  Units are welcome with two deep leadership, and families or parent(s) are welcome with age-eligible children. All participants must meet the height and weight requirements listed in the BSA Medical Form and must have a completed BSA physical (Parts A, B, & C). Hikes will vary in length, but will total in 15 – 20 miles completed over four days.  Participants will return to the PTC on Friday afternoon to check in equipment, clean up, and prepare for the trip home. 

Schedule and Fees

2024 Dates to be determined.


Adult 18+

Youth 14-17

Packing List


  • Day Pack for hikes early in the week*
  • Pack with padded hip belt. Capacity: 60-70 liters (rental with pack cover also available)* 
  • Pack cover (waterproof nylon)*
  • Stuff Sacks or Large Ziploc bags to keep gear organized and dry in your pack* 


  • Sleeping bag in waterproof stuff sack. (Line the inside of stuff sack with a garbage bag to make it waterproof.) Sleeping bag should be rated to 20 degrees F.*
  • Comfortable Sleeping pad
  • Sleep clothes (T-shirt and gym shorts) to be worn only in sleeping bag*
  • Lashing Straps to hold sleeping bag and pad onto pack* 

Avoid bringing cotton items on the trail. 

  • Hiking boots*  
    Boots should be well broken in. High-top boots that provide ankle support are highly recommended   
  • Lightweight tennis shoes to wear around camp* 
  • Two pair heavy hiking socks, wool or synthetic, NO COTTON.* 
  • Two pair liner socks, polypropylene* 
  • Two pair underwear* 
  • Two hiking shirts*  
  • One pair hiking shorts (zip-off pants can double as both shorts and pants)*
  • One pair long pants, Not jeans*
  • One pair insulated underwear (optional, bring if you get cold easy)* 
  • One sweater or jacket, fleece or wool*
  • Hat or cap with brim for protection from the sun* 
  • Stocking cap* 
  • Rain jacket* 
  • Rain pants* 

Personal & Miscellaneous 

  • Small flashlight or headlamp* with new batteries* 
  • Compass*  
  • Bandana*  
  • Lip balm* 
  • Small sunscreen* 
  • Toothbrush and small toothpaste* 
  • Tampons/sanitary napkins* 
  • Sunglasses* 
  • Ditty bag (small stuff sack or Ziplocfor personal smellables in bear bag* 
  • Comb/Brush* 


  • Bowl (plastic)*
  • Spoon (only utensil needed)*
  • Three – quart/liter carrying capacity bottles*


  • Money – in small bills for use at trading post
  • Camera*

All crew gear, tents, and food will be provided. You do not need to bring any extra food unless you have a specific dietary restriction you are concerned about. If you have a good quality backpacking tent you may bring it for consideration.

Do Not Plan to Bring on Trail: radios, iPods, video game devices, hammocks, makeup, or deodorant

*Available at the Tooth of Time Traders 

Sample Schedule**

**Subject to change based on crew needs, crew loads, weather, availability, etc.