Maps & Navigation
Most trails on Philmont are marked at intersections, but they are not so well marked that you can put your map and compass away and forget them. Philmont trail signs often point to geographic features such as mountains, canyons, and streams. At the least, two (2) people share a map and compass. Its best if each camper has their own. Learn and practice your map and compass skills. You will be able to know where you are at all times and where you are headed. Look at a map. Do you know what the symbols mean? What do the colors-black, brown, blue, green, white, and red stand for?
Brown contour lines are particularly significant. Depending upon the map, each brown line represents a 20-foot or 40-foot climb; the more lines you cross on an upward route, the tougher the climb. Steep descents are tough, too. You must be able to orient a map, understand symbols and scale (1:24,000 for Philmont section maps). The BSA "Fieldbook" and the "Orienteering Merit Badge Pamphlet" are excellent resources. A GPS is encouraged; however, having a GPS does not constitute a primary source of navigation.