Philmont Scout Ranch – Everyone is invited! Part 2

Philmont Scout Ranch – Four Great Museums and an Outdoor Store!

The National Scouting Museum – Philmont Scout Ranch is located four miles south of Cimarron, New Mexico in the heart of Philmont’s basecamp.  Are you hungry for information?  The Museum is home to the Seton Memorial Library and Reading Room, the Museum Gift Shop with dazzling silver jewelry and a thought-provoking selection of western books.

The National Scouting Museum is just one of four museums at Philmont.  The lovely Villa Philmonté, also at basecamp, is a 1920’s mansion filled with lovely European and Western antiques.  Guided tours are available by reservation: 575-376-1136.  (Learn more about the Villa in the old Summer, 2018 issue of “New Legends Magazine” or online here.)


The third museum is the rustic Kit Carson Museum at Rayado where the staff dress in interpretive clothing of the 1850’s and describe frontier life of that era.  Call 575-376-1136 for the autumn schedule.  (Learn more about the Kit Carson Museum in the Summer, 2018 issue of “New Legends Magazine”or online here.)

The fourth museum operated by Philmont is the Chase Ranch House.  Chase Ranch was founded by Manly and Theresa Chase in 1869.  This young couple arrived from Colorado with nothing more than a wagon, Manly’s tools, a couple of trunks of household items, some books, some hidden cash, a couple of saddle horses and a milk cow.  Undaunted by hard work, they built a ranch house and developed gardens, an apple orchard and fields that grew grass and grain for their livestock.

Four generations of the Chase family lived on this ranch until 2012 when the great-granddaughter, Gretchen Sammis, passed away.  Gretchen loved her family ranch and worked hard to make it successful.  She participated in many organizations related to ranching and conservation, sometimes being the first female director or president of those organizations.  She worked with state organizations as well as national ones.  In 2008 she was selected as Cattleman of the Year by “The New Mexico Stockman Magazine” and she was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in 1986.

Before she passed away, Gretchen created the Chase Ranch Foundation.  Its purpose is to preserve the legacy of the Chase Ranch through maintaining its historic structures, running the ranch, caring for the large family heirloom collection and offering educational programs on New Mexico/Southwest history and ranching to young people.  The Chase Ranch Foundation honors this mission.  Philmont Scout Ranch manages the Chase Ranch property for the Foundation.

The Chase Ranch house and the surrounding gardens can be seen on guided tours from early June until mid-October.  Please call 575-376-1136 for exact dates.  The Chase Ranch main house is located on State Highway 204, about 3 miles north of Highway 64.  It is located along the Ponil River.


Need a good sleeping bag or hiking boots?  Visit the Tooth of Time Traders, an award-winning outdoor store in the heart of Philmont.  Not a Scout?  Don’t worry!  The Tooth of Time Traders is open to everyone.

The main building is absolutely full of great clothing and gear.  In the summer time, a tempting snack bar operates out of a brand new building right next door.  In addition to all of that, if you’re a bargain hunter, visit the yurt where a constant supply of sale items is available.  Call 575-376-1144 for the seasonal schedule of all three outlets.


In addition to museums and an outdoor store, Philmont Scout Ranch is one of four high-adventure bases for the Boy Scouts of America.  Philmont straddles the Rocky Mountains and the high plains of northeast New Mexico.  Its basecamp sits at 6,500 feet above sea level while its highest peak soars to an impressive 12,441 feet.  Mountains, mesas and vistas are the visual themes around here.

Summer is the busiest season, with 23,000 Scouts and Scouters in attendance.

Approximately 300 hikers arrive and depart every day.  They will have chosen one of 35 itineraries that will take them 60 – 110 miles in their 11 days of hiking.  Seven-day treks are also available with 15 itineraries to choose from.

The Ranger Department, 330 people strong, teaches the hikers all about Philmont: hiking steep mountain trails, doing accurate map and compass work, employing backcountry protocol, and much more.  The hiking crews come to Philmont in groups of 12 people.  Once at Philmont, the crews are led by the Scouts (the youth), not the Scouters (the adults).  There are often two or three adults and 9-10 youth in each crew.  This system of leadership puts responsibility on the young people.  They rise to the occasion and gain self-confidence and wisdom through their efforts.

Rangers stay with their assigned crew from their arrival at Philmont through their second night on the trail.  During that period the Ranger does a lot of teaching but also gradually gives more and more responsibility to the Scouts. The Ranger returns to basecamp on the crew’s third backcountry morning and the crew now operates on its own.  Philmont also offers the Cavalcade Program which is where the Scouts travel the trails on horseback.  No previous experience with horses is required.

Every Scout deserves a Well-Trained Leader.  This is the principle that propels the Philmont Training Center.  The Training Center is the national training center for the Boy Scouts of America.  It was established in 1950.

The Training Center offers 10 weeks of BSA conferences and family activities.  The conferences cover all aspects of Scouting: from Cub Scout Games to membership drives, to the newest and best camping gear, etcetera.  Usually a mother or a father is in a conference and the other family members are divided into their age brackets for a bevy of activities.

A new family program was rolled out with great success during the summer of 2018.  There were no conferences, just adventurous family time within the world of Scouting.  Families had fun together all week, choosing a morning activity and an afternoon activity, or sometimes all-day activities.  Activities included hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, high ropes course and shooting sports.  In an age when families live very busy lives, a whole week of family together-time proves to be very appealing and registration for these weeks exceeded expectations.


Whether it’s high-adventure on the trails or conferences and family activities at the Training Center, these opportunities are available to Scouts and Scouters who are actively registered as members of the Boy Scouts of America.  Visit your local BSA Council and become a member.  Scouting is fun and it is based on old-fashioned values that never wear out!

If your desire is to be outside but you are not a Scout, consider camping and hiking in Cimarron Canyon or check out the beauty of the Valle Vidal, a 100,000 acre swath of the Carson National Forest.  Don’t forget Wheeler Peak and the ski lift in the mountains of Angel Fire.  Call the Cimarron Chamber of Commerce at 575-376-2417 and let them suggest some beautiful outdoor sights and activities.

By the way, do not whiz through Cimarron!  For one thing, you’ll get a speeding ticket, but for another, this is a charming village fully aware of its ranch and frontier history.  It is nestled at the edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with the Cimarron River running right through it.

This Mom and Pop town is proud of two bed and breakfasts, one motel, several RV parks and an infamous hotel.  Restaurants and shops dot the main roads.  They offer pizza, ice cream, fine art, antiques, western wear, bullet holes, ghosts, New Mexican burritos, a walking tour of the past, a thrift store and Cimarron is home to the longest-lasting open rodeo in the entire United States.  Visit on the Fourth of July and you won’t be disappointed!

Philmont and Cimarron are true treasures of northeastern New Mexico.  Let us show you the Living West.  See you soon!

Read Part 1 Here.

From Pages 13 & 14 of our Fall 2018/Winter 2019 Issue.

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