Although the conference schedule is demanding, there remains a fair amount of spare time at Philmont, and there is lots to do to fill it. Spouses have a full slate of activities and if you are taking your children, you typically see them only at meals, at night, and on Wednesdays. If you have a teenager on the Mountain Trek, you may not see them at all after check-in. In addition to visiting the Villa and the other museums, you may wish to visit the Camping Headquarters and see that part of the Philmont operation.
There are several approved day hikes you can take during free time. All are fairly easy and give you a small taste of the backcountry. Most families take the Urraca Trail because it is very picturesque; the spouse and children groups take many of the other trails during the week.
Hikers should bring water bottles, day pack, rain gear, and a warm jacket or sweater. Sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, a hat, and a first aid kit are also recommended. Only those in good physical condition should attempt to hike Philmont's trails. Be sure to come by the Program Office for a PTC Hiker's Guide.
For health and safety reasons and in an effort to keep the trails clear and special for the Scouts hiking on the treks, Philmont does not allow hikes in most backcountry areas, including the Tooth of Time. Please observe this policy during your stay at PTC so the backcountry remains open to PTC participants.
There are lots of animals to see at Philmont. Almost every evening deer are in the area, and the buffalo pasture is near the Training Center. Tent city is full of rabbits and "mini bears" (ground squirrels and chipmunks). Elk and antelope can be seen as well in the surrounding areas.
Every evening there are fun activities for you and your family, including opening and closing programs, Western Night, family handicraft evenings, cracker barrels, Family Movie Night, and the New Mexico Story campfire over at Camping Headquarters.
Don't forget your Western clothes and hat for the Tuesday night Buffalo Barbecue and Western Night games and dance.
The Philmont Craft Lodge offers instruction and sells materials for ceramics, wearable art (clothing and accessories decoration), leathercraft, stamp art, and Southwest crafts and home décor.
All fishermen must have a New Mexico fishing license, available for purchase at Philmont or in Cimarron, and a Philmont fishing permit from the PTC Registration Office. The lower Rayado River, the Cimarron River, the Philmont reservoir, and Webster Lake are recommended areas. Bring your own tackle.
Tours and Trips
If you don't want to hike on your day off, or if you want to see more of the ranch and Cimarron, you can pick up a flyer in the PTC office and take a self-guided tour of Cimarron. Cimarron is a quaint community, rich in historical interest. You could spend many hours browsing through the shops and museums. The tour also takes you to the Kit Carson Museum at Rayado and to the foot of the Tooth of Time for photos.
The historic Southwest has many points of interest. Your questions are invited on the choices available for your family, and printed information is available in the Training Center office.
Philmont benefactor Waite Phillips' summer home, the Villa Philmonte, is open each day for tours. Children must be accompanied by parents or group leaders. Most family program groups schedule a Villa tour, and special tours are available for conference members.
The Philmont Museum exhibits focus on the events of Philmont's colorful past. The Seton Library houses the personal library, collections, and artwork of Ernest Thompson Seton, famous naturalist, author, artist, and first Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America. The museum/library, which also features a gift shop, is open each day with group tours scheduled by the program staff.
The Kit Carson Museum in Philmont's southeast corner (seven miles south of the Training Center) at Rayado is a living history museum that houses exhibits and artifacts pertaining to life on the Santa Fe Trail and the lives of mountain men Kit Carson and Lucien Maxwell. The museum staff is on hand each day to show groups or families through the display areas and blacksmith shop.