Not Many People Pass Through New Mexico, But Boy Scouts Sure Do

Not many people pass through the state of New Mexico, but Boy Scouts sure do. Even though the state of New Mexico is one of the largest states in terms of geographic area, it’s also one of the lowest in terms of both overall population and population density. While a lot of traffic of cars and trucks do need to cross the country from one coast to the next, more of it goes through the Interstates passing through more northerly states than New Mexico, although I40 is certainly a major route, running from Barstow in California to Wilmington on the North Carolina coast.

Interestingly, one group of people who does often travel to New Mexico are Boy Scouts from around the nation and even the world. Philmont Scout Ranch sits across 214 square miles of mostly undeveloped wilderness in the northeast corner of the state, just outside the town of Cimarron. Cimarron itself can be hard to find on a map unless you see Philmont Scout Ranch and look east. The town only has hundreds of residents, where it’s so small that every student K-12 go to the same school.

In fact, in the summer when Philmont has a full staff at its base camp and rangers throughout the area, it has a population larger than the town itself. It even uses the town’s school buses to bring groups in and out of the woods at the beginning or ending of their two week treks in the wilderness.

Philmont sees tens of thousands of hikers every summer, with trails and itineraries that also go into neighboring national and state parks. Philmont territory covers one side of Mt. Baldy, which at 12,441 feet is the second highest peak in the state of New Mexico. It has its name due to the fact that the rocky top of it sticks above the treeline, creating an appearance of baldness.

Another famous mountain closer to base camp is nicknamed the “Tooth of Time” for its appearance. Most every expedition is guaranteed to see one of the two, if not both. Mt. Baldy has seriously high winds on its top, and intermingling with civilian guests can occur, since the backside of the mountain has a public trail that citizens can enjoy, provided they are mindful of the signs about boundaries to the private ranch property.