Adventures » What is OA Trail Crew?

General Information

The Order of the Arrow is offering you an opportunity to join other Arrowmen in cheerful service and the formation of lasting brotherhood on the trails of Philmont Scout Ranch. Under the direction of the Philmont Conservation Department, experienced Philmont staff members with strong Order of the Arrow backgrounds will lead participants on the two week trail crew and trek.

The program is a fourteen (14) day experience. The first week focuses on trail construction and maintenance under the guidance of Philmont OA Trail Crew Foremen. The second week is a seven day backpacking trek that is designed by the participants. The program is not simply building trail and hiking though, the OA Trail Crew is ultimately a journey that challenges Scouts mentally, physically, and spiritually.

The Order of the Arrow Trail Crew program is a once in a lifetime chance to experience Philmont like few others do. Don't miss out!

Program Cost

Participant cost is $300 for the two week experience. A $50 non-refundable deposit is required with the application. The balance of the fee is due at the time of acceptance as a participant in the program. Additional expenses, including travel to and from Philmont as well as miscellaneous purchases, are the responsibility of the participant.

Those applicants not accepted as participants in the program will have their deposit returned. Participants canceling acceptance will be eligible for a refund if notification is received to the national office by May 15. No shows are not eligible for a refund.

Travel to OA Trail Crew

Shuttles are available from the Albuquerque, NM and Colorado Springs and Denver, CO Airports to Philmont. The shuttles leave the airports at 3:00 to 5:00 PM, depending on location, on the day before your scheduled starting date, arriving at Philmont at 8:00 to 8:45 PM. The return shuttle leaves at 6:00 AM on your departure date (15th day), arriving at the airports at 9:45 to 11:30 AM, again depending on location. You may also consider a bus or train arrival at Raton, New Mexico (40 miles from Philmont). A roundtrip shuttle is available from Raton. If you do not arrive by shuttle from Albuquerque, plan to arrive at Philmont between 8:00 and 11:00 AM on your scheduled starting date (June 8, 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13 are the starting dates). Participants are strongly encouraged to recruit a travel companion from their home council to ease the travel process. Participants depart the morning of the fifteenth (15th) day (June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27 are departure dates). Information about shuttle registration will be mailed to the participants along with their acceptance packet.

Lodge and Council Responsibilities

Lodges and councils should only approve those youth Arrowmen who meet all of the qualifications for this program. Philmont is not an easy experience and is a risk for those not physically prepared for the rigors of the New Mexico mountains.

National OA Trail Crew Code of Conduct

The general welfare of any group depends on the conduct of each individual member. This ensures the success of our national service project and provides the maximum benefit to every participant. As an Arrowman, I understand this and support the reasonable demands of conduct expected of me.

As a member of the Order of the Arrow I will:

  • Live the Scout Oath and Law and Order of the Arrow Obligation.

  • Observe, respect, and strive to live the Boy Scout Outdoor Code and Philmont Wilderness Pledge.

  • Observe the rules of the Philmont Conservation Department and my Foremen.

  • Wear my full official BSA uniform or work clothes as required. Unofficial decorations are not part of my official uniform.

  • Attend and participate in all functions of the program.

  • Be personally responsible for damage or loss of property.

  • Respect all safety procedures and learn to properly use equipment.

  • Observe quiet hours.

  • Keep my tent clean and dispose of trash in proper place.

  • At all times, be considerate of participants and staff at Philmont Scout Ranch.

  • Understand the purchase, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or illicit drugs at any time during the program will not be permitted and will result in dismissal from the program at the expense of the participant. This standard shall apply to all participants. Compliance with state law regulations will apply at all times.

  • Respect the laws of the State of New Mexico, the Village of Cimarron, and Philmont rules prohibiting the use of fireworks, firearms and gambling. Infraction of these regulations will be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program at the expense of the participant.

  • Participants must read and promise to abide by the above Code of Conduct for the OA Trail Crew.

  • Philmont Scout Ranch - Risk Advisory

    Philmont has an excellent health and safety record with over 750,0000 adults and young people having attended over the last 65 years. Philmont strives to minimize risks to participants and advisors by emphasizing proper safety precautions. Most participants in Philmont programs do not experience injuries because they are prepared, are conscious of risks, and take safety precautions. If you decide to attend Philmont, you should be physically fit, have proper clothing and equipment, be willing to follow instructions and work as a team with your crew and take responsibility for your own health and safety. For further information please thoroughly read the Guidebook to Adventure which will be included in your support packet. Like other wilderness areas, Philmont is not risk free and you should be prepared to listen to safety instructions carefully, follow directions and take appropriate steps to safeguard yourself and others.

    Parents, guardians and potential participants in Philmont programs are advised that journeying to and from Philmont, and one's stay at Philmont, can involve exposure to accident, illness, and/or injury associated with a high elevation, physically demanding, high adventure program in a remote mountainous area. Campers may be exposed to occasional severe weather conditions such as lightning, hail, flash floods and heat. Other potential problems include: injuries from tripping and falling, motor vehicle accidents, worsening of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or asthma, heart attacks, heat exhaustion and falls from horses.

    Philmont's trails are steep and rocky. Wild animals such as bears, rattlesnakes and mountain lions are native and usually present little danger if proper precautions are taken. Please refer to the Guidebook to Adventure, speak with previous Philmont participants, or call Philmont for further information concerning risks and measures which can be taken to avoid accidents.

    Philmont has staff trained in first aid, CPR and accident prevention, and is prepared to assist in recognizing, reacting, and responding to accidents, injuries and illnesses. Each crew is also required to have at least one member trained in first aid and CPR. Medical and search and rescue services are provided by Philmont in response to an accident or emergency, however, response times can be affected by location, weather or other emergencies and could be delayed six (6) or more hours.

    Limits for Backpacking & Hiking

    Each participant in a Philmont trek must not exceed the maximum acceptable limit in the weight for height chart shown below. The right hand column shows the maximum acceptable weight for a person's height in order to participate in a Philmont trek. Those who fall within the limits are more likely to have an enjoyable trek and avoid incurring health risks. Every Philmont trek involves hiking with a 35-50 lb. backpack between 6,500 and 12,500 ft. elevations. Philmont recommends that participants carry a pack weighing no more than 25-30% of their body weight.

    The Philmont physicians will use their best professional judgement in determining participation in a Philmont trek by individuals under 21 years of age who exceed the maximum acceptable weight for their height. Participants under 21 years of age are strongly encouraged to meet the weight limit for their height, and exceptions are not made automatically and the maximum allowable exception will be 20 lbs. Discussion in advance with Philmont regarding any exception to the weight limit for persons under 21 years of age is required, whether it is over or under.

    Under no circumstances will any individual over 295 lbs. be allowed to participate regardless of height or age. This limit is neccessary due to limitations of rescue equipment and for the safety of Philmont personnel.