Itinerary Difficulty Ratings
Crews should choose an itinerary that matches their degree of physical fitness. Mileage, ruggedness of terrain, and the number of layovers are considered, and each itinerary is assigned one of four difficulty ratings.
A “Challenging” itinerary will allow the crew more time for program. It also allows time to do some interesting side hikes, visit backcountry trading posts, take showers, and just enjoy the solitude of the backcountry trail camps.
A “Rugged” itinerary, although offering more physical challenge, is very enjoyable for a crew that has trained. It also offers a variety of exciting program.
A “Strenuous” itinerary is just as it sounds. A great experience for a crew of physically fit, older Scouts Venturers, and capable adults. More time is devoted to hiking; however, a well prepared crew can still experience several programs. Many seasoned crews who have hiked together several years choose a strenuous itinerary.
A “Super Strenuous” is, by far, the most difficult and, for a small but dedicated group of Philmont crews, the most rewarding! These few itineraries are highlighted by climbing some of Philmont’s highest peaks and hiking long days of many miles. These itineraries should only be attempted by older more experienced crews where every person is in exceptional physical condition.
Most crews choose either a “challenging” or “rugged” itinerary. Hiking with a heavy pack in elevations from 6,000 to nearly 12,500 feet is a major physical challenge. Altitude sickness affects all of us differently. People can often feel the effects of altitude as low as 6,000 feet above sea level. Drinking plenty of water, eating well and spending 24 – 48 hours at your new elevation can help your body adjust to your new elevation.