French Henry Camp
Geographical information

9,606 ft







Program description

mine tours, blacksmithing, and gold panning


Porta Potties


Staffed camp

Additional information

French Henry is a camp that has a large mining program. Located in the heart of the Baldy Mining District, it has rich mining history dating back to the 1860s. The camp is one of only three staffed camps on Philmont without potable water.

French Henry has 4 Appalachian Trail-type bivouacs. Nicknamed Muck Shacks, they were first used in the 2019 season. They are each supposed to fit an entire crew.

Location and geography[]

Located in a deep, narrow canyon just below Baldy Mountain.

The main part of this camp contains the foundations of an old ore mill. This mill processed ore brought down from the French Henry mine.

This is the only designated place on Philmont where crews can consistently find actual gold in their pans.


French Henry is named after the French Henry Mine. A mine started by Henry Burell, a Frenchman who mined in the area as early as 1869.

The mine used for tours at the French Henry camp is not the French Henry Mine. It is the Aztec Ponil 1.

At its height the Aztec mines contained over 80 miles of tunnels and other workings.


There are mine tours in the Ponil 1 drift Aztec mine, gold panning, and a blacksmith program. There is no purified water, so the water comes from the South Ponil Creek.

The staff lives in original structures built in between the 1860s and the 1920, the oldest of which serves as a mining museum. Numerous artifacts from the mining operations in the area are displayed, as well as geologic maps of the Baldy country. Volunteer geologists working with the staff sometimes provide geology talks and gold panning lessons to campers.

Stories of the untimely death of numerous mine workers have led to the rumors that the camp is haunted. Staff often play along by making spooky noises while in the mine, and telling stories about "tommyknockers" to campers.