volunteer vacation

Lasting memories & fellowship

Come work and live in the BackCountry for a week!

The Trail to Cito peak and Beyond—Year 8

The Philmont Staff Association and Philmont Scout Ranch are pleased to again offer this opportunity in the fall of 2023. This will be the 8th year for the very exciting and tremendously rewarding Volunteer Vacation. Past participants have experienced a fantastic week in the Backcountry, hard physical work, and the ultimate satisfaction of giving back to Philmont.

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Volunteer Vacation Basics


Dates:  September 14-21

Investment: $160

Slots Available: 24 slots

Registration Deadline: August 17th, 2023

Who Can Attend?

This program is available to PSA members and their eligible family members. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. Trek-eligible family members include your spouse, child or stepchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of the PSA member. Please do not register anyone who does not meet these requirements. All participants must be members of the Boy Scouts of America.

Trail Construction

2023 work will most likely focus on the trails near Cito Peak and Sawmill. The trail to Cito Peak from the Whistle Punk / Sawmill side was completed in 2021. New connecting trails will provide crews a whole new area of itinerary planning and choices. There is also the possibility for work in the Aspen Springs – Ute Gulch area. Our final location will be determined in late August. Your work will be instrumental in making this happen.

Participant Requirements

Be at least 18 years old by the date the program begins or 16 years old by the date the program begins if the child is a PSA member. 

Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America, and have completed all required trainings

Be in good physical condition, able to hike 3 or more miles with a 20-pound backpack and able to lift and handle materials up to 50 pounds. (Philmont height and weight guidelines will be strictly enforced.)

Complete a Philmont Medical Form.

Tentative Schedules

Fall – September 16th – 23rd

Saturday: Arrive at Philmont during the day. First meal will be dinner in the PTC Dining Hall. In the evening, the Conservation Department will begin the program with introductions and specific plans, gear & packing advice, and general Q&A.

Sunday: Breakfast at PTC and then depart for the drop-off point at Sawmill or near Cimarroncito. Next, a short hike to the base camp location, set up camp, and have lunch. Following lunch, you will receive Philmont tools and trail construction instruction, start trail construction work, and have fun.

Monday-Wednesday: Trail construction work (and more fun).

Thursday: Final wrap-up of trail construction work, break camp, clean up the Webster Parks campsite, and then hike or ride to another campsite. The final campsite will depend on the number of participants, availability of transportation vehicles, weather, etc. Volunteers will spend the night at this new location, relaxing and enjoying traditional Philmont camping.

Friday: In the morning, possible side-hikes based on the location. By midday or early afternoon, Volunteers will be transported back to Base Camp. Friday evening’s dinner will be a celebration of the week and recognition for what you have given back to Philmont. Participants will be awarded the coveted Volunteer Vacation patch.

Saturday: Depart Philmont after breakfast.

Please note: these schedules could change dramatically based on Philmont’s needs and weather conditions. We’ll keep everyone informed as the year progresses.


This program is available to PSA members and their eligible family members. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. Please do not register anyone who does not meet these requirements. All participants must be members of the Boy Scouts of America.

If females under the age of 21 years are registered, we will attempt to make accommodation for Youth Protection requirements. If we cannot meet Youth Protection requirements (having a female over 21 participate) we will return the entire registration fee.

The full Philmont medical form is required – the same 7 page form required for summer Trekkers. Please note, just because your doctor certifies you, it does not mean this program is for you. Volunteer Vacation requires hard work, long hours, a good crew spirit, backpacking ability and a sense of humor. This program is not leisurely and is not for those who are afraid of sore muscles, getting dirty, and who cannot maintain a great attitude when the going gets tough. The PSA reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program.


Visit our FAQ page for more details! Click here!

Registration Checklist

*Fill out PSA VV Form below

*Send your check within 30 days to Philmont Scout Ranch with the appropriate notation “Fall Volunteer Vacation”

Please Note: The PSA reserves the right to deny or revoke registration where appropriate.

Volunteer Vacation Form

When signing up for a Volunteer Vacation you are required to fill out the form below.

Payments & Refunds

Register here on the PSA website, but…

Payment is made directly to Philmont , not the PSA

Make check payable to: “Philmont Scout Ranch”

In the memo, please write: “2023 PSA Fall Volunteer Vacation”

Mail check: 17 Deer Run Road Cimarron, NM

Philmont’s refund policy: ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. THEY CANNOT BE APPLIED TO FUTURE PSA TREKS OR EVENTS. Emergency situations will be handled by Philmont on an individual basis.