Trail Camps are simply un-staffed camps. Trail camps contain anywhere from 4-17 campsites, but they are often spread out over half a mile of trail or more, so that there is no sense of crowding. Each trail camp is marked by a map, attached to a tree or the side of a latrine at every trail which passes through it.
Each campsites has:
- An identifying sign. This is a wooden sign nailed to a tree which indicates the campsite number.
- A metal fire ring. This may be used for small fires unless a fire ban is in place, which is almost always the case, given Philmont's dry climate. Campfires were permitted at the start of the 2005 season until fires broke out on the nearby Angel Fire Ski Resort in July, prompting an immediate fire ban.
- A sump. This is an L-shaped plastic pipe, with a six-foot vertical section and a seven-foot horizontal section perforated like a sieve. Most of it is underground, and the top is capped with a piece of mesh. Sumps are used to dispose of dirty dishwater.
Several campsites share:
- A bear cable. This is a metal cable strung between two sturdy trees at least ten feet above the ground; it is used to hang bear bags.
- A latrine.
As of 2013, there are 62 trail camps.