Kit Carson Museum at Rayado

Rayado was founded by Lucien Maxwell in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War as the first plains settlement in New Mexico east of the mountain valleys of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The area was far from secure due to marauding Apaches and Comanche, so Maxwell persuaded his friend Kit Carson to help provide security in 1849. A detachment of US Army Dragoons was based at Rayado the following year. After a few years at Rayado, Kit Carson returned to Taos.

Founder Lucien Maxwell left Rayado to found Cimarron in 1857, and his brother-in-law Jesus Abreu and his family took over operations of Rayado Rancho.

In 1950, the Boy Scouts of America built an adobe museum at Rayado to serve as an interpretive area to portray its history and recount the exploits of Maxwell and Carson. It was named in honor of Kit Carson.
Staff at the Kit Carson Museum dress in period clothing and demonstrate frontier skills and crafts like blacksmithing, cooking, shooting, and farming. Each room in the museum is outfitted with reproduction furniture and objects typical of New Mexico in the 1850s. The Rayado Trading Company, located at the museum, sells books, maps, reproduction tools and equipment, moccasins, and blankets.

The Kit Carson Museum is seven miles south of Philmont Camping Headquarters on NM Highway 21. 



  • 21 days and nights
  • Fee: $1235 in 2023

  • Register: By individual
  • Season: Summer
  • Age: 15 years old by the start date and not yet 21 by the end date
  • Crew Size: Provisional Crew will be organized by Philmont
  • Leadership: 2 adult leaders provided by Philmont
  • Registration: Anytime


Are you ready to test your limits? On Rayado, you will join Scouts and Venturers from across the country to build the advanced outdoor skills and confidence you need to lead groups in the backcountry. Get ready for three weeks of rugged trails, intense teamwork, and unknown challenges. Led by two Philmont Rangers, participants will hike many miles, summit mountains, and overcome mental barriers by facing and adapting to unexpected conditions. You never know what adventure is waiting over the next mountain.

Who May Participate?

The Rayado Trek program is open to both males and females. Participants must meet the following requirements

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Be 15 years of age before participation but not yet 21.
  • Be in excellent physical condition and able to hike 10 or more miles with a 40- to 50-pound backpack. (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.)
  • Complete a BSA Annual Health and Medical Record.

What Activities Does the Program Include?

Rayado is designed to challenge participants’ physical and mental abilities. The program is known for developing outdoor leadership, problem solving, and advanced outdoor skills, including:

  • Wilderness backpacking skills
  • Navigation techniques
  • Communication and group dynamics
  • Advanced backcountry cooking skills
  • Wilderness stewardship (including Leave No Trace skills and ethics)
  • Backcountry first aid and emergency procedures

Rayado participants will explore many areas of the Ranch and enjoy activities unique to the program. To maintain the elements of surprise and discovery, specific details about trek activities are not disclosed in advance.

Session Dates

There are two sessions of Rayado, each of which includes multiple treks for both male crews and female crews. Sessions dates are the same every year. 

Session #1: June 20 – July 10 (Session #1 Information Packet)

Session #2: July 20 – August 9 (Session #2 Information Packet)

You can apply using the online portal (the online application for Rayado Men is here and for Rayado Women here) or using the fillable application here.

For more information regarding the program: 2023 RAYADO Information.

Shuttle Information