A high-adventure experience includes several days of trekking in wilderness and other rugged, remote locations. The Boy Scouts of America operates four national high-adventure facilities and numerous local council high adventure bases that provide outdoor adventure opportunities for older Scouts and Venturers.
Programs at the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve began in the summer of 2014. Activities revolve around four program tracks: the River, featuring rafting and kayaking; Helmets and Harnesses, which offers climbing, zip, and ropes courses; the Marksman, featuring a range of shooting sports; and Wheels, where participants can experience mountain biking, skateboarding, and BMX.
High-adventure participants also experience activities centered on the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s core mission areas: adventure, sustainability, leadership, and service.
Located in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia, the facility sits on 14,000 acres of forested mountains adjacent to more than 70,000 acres of the New River Gorge National River area.
Beginning in 2013, the Summit Bechtel Reserve became the permanent home of the BSA’s national jamboree, which serves as Scouting’s premier event every four years. The Summit also will host the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, where an estimated 40,000 Scouts and adult volunteers from around the world will attend the first-ever world jamboree to be jointly hosted by three countries: Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Founded in in 1938 as Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp, today’s Philmont Scout Ranch is a bustling center for high-adventure and training opportunities. Philmont — which has served as a famous stop on the Santa Fe Trail, the home of Jicarilla Apache and Moache Ute Indians, a prospecting community, and a working cattle ranch over the years — is the BSA’s largest national High-Adventure base.
Its 34 staffed camps and 55 trail camps provide an unforgettable adventure in the high country along hundreds of miles of rugged, rocky trails. Since its founding, more than 1 million participants have participated in the trek programs offered at the ranch.
Philmont also is the home to the Philmont Training Center, which is the national volunteer training facility for the BSA. Participants are able to attend weeklong courses throughout the summer while their family members join in through staff-developed family programs.
Today, youth and adults take advantage of the ranch’s camping, training, and work programs. Most activity takes place during the summer, but Philmont also hosts events and conferences throughout the year, including Autumn Adventure and Winter Adventure programs.
Since 1980, the Florida Sea Base has provided Scouts and Scouters from across America aquatic adventures that can’t be found anyplace else. As Scouting’s most complete aquatic facility, Sea Base operates 15 different adventures ranging from scuba diving to sailing tall ships out of four locations: two in the Florida Keys, one in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and one in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.
During their time at the base, participants have the opportunity to swim, snorkel, and fish among the most beautiful coral reefs in the northern hemisphere.
Northern Tier is the BSA’s gateway to adventure in the Great Northwoods. As the organization’s oldest national High-Adventure facility, Northern Tier has been outfitting Scouting groups for canoe trips since the summer of 1923. The Charles L. Sommers Base has been home to the program since 1941.
In the summer, Scouts from Northern Tier’s three wilderness canoe bases explore millions of acres of pristine lakes, meandering rivers, dense forests, and wetlands in northern Minnesota, northwest Ontario, and northeast Manitoba. In the winter, Northern Tier is home to the OKPIK Cold-Weather Camping program, the BSA’s premier winter high-adventure program. Fall and spring programming also is available.
Local Council High-Adventure Bases
Local councils operate a number of high-adventure bases across the country, which are available to older Boy Scouts and Venturers. Activities may include backpacking, canoeing, mountain biking, horse packing, mountain climbing, ski touring, rafting, kayaking, or a host of other outdoor adventures.
High-Adventure Base Attendance
Nearly 1.1 million Scouting members attended a day or extended stay council-sponsored camp, as well as one of the national high adventure camps shown here. This translated into more than 4.2 million nights spent camping during 2016: