Camping Headquarters (CHQ)
Type Staffed Camp
Campsites CHQ Camper Tent City, CHQ Staff Tent City
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Water location Tap Water, Potable
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Camping Headquarters, often shortened as CHQ, occupies much of Philmont Base Camp.

Camping Headquarters is a town unto itself, and its population exceeds that of Cimarron on most nights of the summer. Its primary facilities are:

  • The CHQ Welcome Center, a large pavilion containing soda machines and picnic tables. It serves as a waiting area for crews arriving at or departing from the ranch, as well as the start point crews catching a bus to go on the trail or returning at the end of their trek. Philmont operates a free bus from the Welcome Center to Cimarron twice a day. The Welcome Center's small office offers check-in instructions and general information, and its restrooms are considered the best on the ranch.
  • Camp Administration/Logistics, which manage registration and orchestrate all the ranch's operations.
  • Camper and Staff Housing, both containing primarily two-person tents and bathroom-shower facilities.
  • Camper Dining Hall and Staff Dining Hall: The former is responsible for feeding all trailbound and homebound campers currently on base while the latter does the same for the staff. Due to the number of campers, Camper Dining Hall serves basic meals and has a short meal rotation. Staff Dining Hall, on the other hand, serves more complex meals and has a longer meal rotation.
  • Services, a large L-shaped building whose facilities include:
    • Rental and return of gear and issuance of trail food
    • A room for crews to scrub their dirty pots and dishes at the end of their trek
    • Hooks and bungee cords on which crews hang their wet tents and rain flies at the end of their trek
    • Lockers, where crews may store anything they have brought but do not want to take on the trail
    • A post office, which dispatches mail to the backcountry if necessary
  • The Health Lodge, which conducts "rechecks" of all incoming campers, and handles all the ranch's serious health-related issues. Health officers communicate with backcountry staff by radio, and can dispatch cars or helicopters to retrieve patients if necessary.
  • Tooth of Time Traders, the official trading post, which sells all manner of camping and backpacking gear as well as a large selection of souvenirs. Its 'Nalgene Tree', a wooden tree adorned with Nalgene-brand water bottles, is particularly well-known.
  • The Snack Bar, in the same building at the trading post, which sells a variety of snack foods, beverages, and ice cream. Its tree-lined patio is a popular destination for crews and staff.
  • Four chapels of four different faiths: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Latter-Day Saints. Each chapel holds services every evening, and most incoming and some outgoing crews attend these.
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