Outback Hiking Adventure Program

“Somewhere out there is a trail with your name on it.
Go find it.”

Enjoy the challenge and the sights of the most beautiful canyons, highest peaks, and tallest cliffs in Texas during your week in the BTSR Outback. Created thousands of years ago, during the formation of the earth, volcanic activity sent the Davis Mountains over sixty-five hundred feet above sea level. Calderas and erosion left the rocky peaks two thousand feet above the valley floor, creating the Outback that BTSR Rangers proudly call home.

Ryland Prichard from Troop 91 at Guadalupe Mtns Natl PkPROGRAM

Treks consist of a week-long guided-hiking adventure based out of our 9,320-acre Scout Ranch (one of the largest council-owned Scout Ranch in the USA!). Crews, which can be created two ways, hike on rugged, near-pristine trails with amazing views. Each crew will stay at pre-existing campsites where dinners and breakfasts, cook gear, and tarp-shelters will be made available. Once at the campsite, crews will have time for independent activities and exploration as well as arranged programming.


The treks are week-long with no re-supply stops in base camp. Terrain is very rough and treks are physically challenging. Crews must follow trip age and experience requirements.

Each crew consists of six to twelve Scouts or Scouters and the assigned Ranger(s). There are two different ways to form an Outback Crew.

  • Option 1 – Troop or Crew signs up a minimum of 6 members, including 2 adult leaders, one 21+ for a trek.
  • Option 2 – Individual Scouts or Scouters sign up for Outback and are put into a trek as it comes open.

The program is open to all Boy Scout groups and may be coed, with proper adult leadership.


Your assigned Ranger is your resource for local history, water sources, trails information, and safety tips. The Ranger’s experience should be a reliable resource to lead your crew through the not so distinct trails. The Rangers primary goal is to ensure a fun and safe week. He or she is NOT supposed to lead your group or set up Troop operations such as cooking, eating, or sleeping arrangements.


water crossing smDinners and breakfasts are already at outback camps, waiting for basic preparation. Lunches are the only meal which will be packed and they are packaged and require minimal, if any, preparation. Food is packaged for groups of four, so you can easily break into cook groups. Meals are designed to be healthy and meet the caloric needs of each group. It is recommended to bring along personal or troop food, like Gatorade or snacks, just be sure to package and store the additional food properly. As part of the Leave No Trace policies, each crew will be expected to carry out ALL garbage.


Water is available at several locations in the Outback, but it is scarce. Due to the arid nature of the area, five quarts of water per person are required. A water filter or purification tablets are also encouraged.


The weather in West Texas is very unpredictable. Most summer temperatures range between 75 and 95, however, temperature extremes may be as low as 65 and as high as 115. The humidity in the Davis Mountains is usually in the 20% range during the summer. Humidity can swing from lows of 5% to highs of 100%. The extremely low humidity makes high temperatures seem cooler. This often results in dehydration. All crews must be careful to ensure that the entire crew is staying properly hydrated. Most weeks the camp will not receive any rain, but all crews should bring rain gear.


Most members will be fine on most trails wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. All trails have their share of Cat’s claw, a feared brier bush only to be compared to ugly rose stems. Sensitive skinned members will prefer protection from the brush and sun. A hat and sun block is a MUST for all crew members. Clothing dries rapidly in the arid climate so washing is made easy; there is no need to sacrifice water capacity of extra changes of clothes. Deodorant and other items which will attract wild animals should be left at base camp.


trailAll crews going on the trail must have adult leaders; one must be 21 years of age or older, the other 18 years of age or older. Coed Crews must have coed leadership.


The fee for the Outback Program covers all food, program supplies, and a qualified staff. . See Fees & Payment Schedule for current pricing information.



There are over a dozen trails that wind through the over 9,000 acres of rugged and beautiful BTSR terrain. Many of these trails were established almost 6 decades ago and still see traffic today as we continue to put hikers into our wonderful backcountry. They range from easy trails with little to now elevation change, to the most rugged and challenging trails that will test even the most experienced hikers. These are not roads or wide national park trails; they are very rustic trails that leave little impact on the surrounding beauty you will experience as you hike along these paths. Our itineraries are designed to utilize the most appropriate trail based on the experience level required for each program. Ranging from 4400 ft. of elevation in base camp, to over 5400 ft. at the top of Forbidden Mountain, there is something for everyone!

Click here to learn more about the variety of trails at BTSR

Million Dollar View - by Aaron Bedell (www.aaronbedell.com)

Million Dollar View – by Aaron Bedell (www.aaronbedell.com)


With over 50 miles of trails winding through our corner of the Davis Mountains, you will be able to witness some of the most beautiful scenic overlooks in the state. Our camp includes portions of Little Aguja Canyon, Madera Canyon, Pig Pen Canyon, and Million Dollar Canyon inside its boundaries. Looking down into the bottom of one of these canyons, or looking up to rising towers of rock from the bottom of them, you will not go home dissatisfied with the beauty and variety of nature found at our camp.


BTSR is full of many unique geological formations and landmarks, many of which you will be able to see on one of your treks. Be on the lookout for Needle Rock, Natural Bridge, Giant’s Hand, The Notch, Balance Rock, the Columns, Blue Hole, and Forbidden Castle. You might even see the Indian Paintings plus our many natural springs as well!


DSC_5717When you sign up for the BTSR Outback, please specify which of the following Treks you will be taking. Please include an alternative trek preference, incase that one has already been filled up for the week of your choice. (See reservation application in the forms section.)

Minimum Age=12; Experience =camping only; Mileage~12 miles
ONLY 3 days on trail!

Spend two days learning the basics of backpacking from how to pack and wear a backpack to how to travel using Leave No Trace practices. On Wednesday, head out for a three day, two night backpacking trip to practice and reinforce the skills learned in base camp. Participants will earn partials for LNT and the backpacking merit badge and will earn the camp conservation award and Trek Safely card.

Minimum Age = 13; Experience = Some; Difficulty = Moderate – Hard; Mileage = ~21-25 miles

Enjoy the stunning beauty of BTSR as you backpack through the Northern portion of the Outback. This trek is tailored for those people who need to dust off the hiking boots before hitting the trail or who are interested in a relaxed pace that still covers a lot of territory. Trail activities include options for GPS course, Sports, Wilderness Survival, COPE low activities, Mock SAR, side hikes, animal observations, climbing & rappelling.

Minimum Age=13; Experience=some; Difficulty = Hard – Very Hard; Mileage = ~28-35 miles

This trek is a bit more challenging. It’s a great option for people who are experienced backpackers hoping to have a challenging and enjoyable week in the Outback. See some of the most scenic spots on camp, including a visit to the Indian Paintings, Needle Rock, The Notch, and Forbidden Mountain. Trail activities include options for sunrise photography, night star party, COPE low activities, side hikes, Cavalry camp activities, Sports, climbing & rappelling.

Minimum Age=14; Experience = Advanced / Mature; Difficulty = EXTREMELY Difficult; Mileage = ~55-65 miles

This trek is the most difficult and physically taxing program at Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch! Hiking over 50 miles in five days is a proud and difficult accomplishment for those that complete the trek! People cry, feet bleed, and your thighs will feel the burn! Enjoy climbing, team building, and a search and rescue role play as you take the grand tour of the BTSR Outback. Hike over 60 miles through the rugged terrain of the outback AND earn the RR 1832 Marathon award. Trek crews also have the option to earn the 50 miler award.

Minimum Age=13; Experience = Some; Difficulty = Moderate/Difficult; Mileage = 10 – 12 miles

Work for a week and get the next week for 1/2 the price! Crews/individuals on this program will do routine trail clearing, trail building and maintenance, trail sign construction, etc. Then your hard efforts will pay off as you enjoy the following week in a high adventure program of your choice (except Cavalcade) for half the price. (High adventure fees only. It does not include base camp or a reduction in the price of additional charges, such as SCUBA, shooting sports fees, etc.). Learn more via the Trail Blazers web page.

The Notch at Sunset by Aaron Bedell (www.aaronbedell.com)

The Notch at Sunset by Aaron Bedell (www.aaronbedell.com)

Outback Equipment Suggestions



  • Pack (internal or external frame)
  • Padded hip strap
  • 6-12 Ziploc Bags (for packing items below)


  • Sleeping Bag
  • Straps/Bungee cords to attach bag to pack
  • Foam sleeping pad (optional)

Wearing (packed in plastic bags)

  • Hiking boots (already broken in!)
  • Sandals or water shoes
  • 2 pair heavy hiking outer socks
  • 3 pair lighter inner socks
  • 3 changes of underwear
  • 1-2 pair hiking shorts
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 long pants
  • 1 warm top or light jacket
  • 2 short sleeved shirts
  • 1 hat or cap with brim
  • 1 sturdy poncho or rain suit

EatingBTSR High Adventure

  • Bowl or plate
  • Cup
  • Spoon or fork
  • Pocketknife
  • Water Bottles or hydration system (Total 5 qts)

Personal and Misc.

  • Daypack or hip-pack
  • Lighter
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • 2 Bandannas
  • Hygiene items (soap, comb, toothbrush etc.)
  • Insect repellent (or dryer sheets)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Moleskin or molefoam, foot powder
  • Sunscreen and sunshades

Optional Items

  • Compass or GPS
  • Small, light entertainment items
  • Camera and film
  • Hiking stick


  • Backpacking Tents & tent pegs
  • Can Opener
  • Duct Tape
  • Mini-shovel or trowel
  • Antibacterial biodegradable soap
  • Water purifying tablets or filtration system
  • Collapsible water containers
  • Backpacking stove
  • Fuel bottles (spun aluminum containers only)
  • 1 Crew First Aid Kit
  • Snacks as desired

Note – Some items such as sunscreen, bug-spray, etc can be shared between cook groups to cut down on weight. Quantities listed include what you would be wearing.

Special equipment needed by program:

Intro to Backpacking

  • Please bring everything listed on the pack list. Ziplocs in the gallon, extra huge, and qt. size are good.Backpacking 2


  • Positive Attitude
  • Backpacking toys


  • Positive Attitude
  • Extra Moleskin
  • Gold Bond


  • Positive Attitude
  • Extra Socks
  • Extra Moleskin
  • Gold Bond
  • Personal Snacks
  • Hydration Packs

Trial Blazers

  • Positive Attitude
  • Leather Work Gloves
  • Long Sleeved work shirts and pants

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