What is Trail Life?

Trail Life USA is the premier national character development organization for young men which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens. Our Mission is to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.

Core Values

The core values of Trail Life USA include:

  • Christ-centered
  • Outdoor-focused
  • Family-oriented
  • Safety
  • Character-focused, not awards-focused
  • Church-owned and operated
  • Male-centered adult leadership
  • Courage
  • Volunteer-driven
  • Program flexibility
  • Shared leadership
  • Patrol method
  • Servant leadership
  • Decentralized decision making
  • Debt-averse and member dependent
  • Christian worldview

We invite you to read more about each one of these core values located at traillifeusa.com.

Program Units

The Trail Life Troop is broken into units based upon age range:

  • Woodlands Trail — ages 5–10
  • Navigators — ages 11–13
  • Adventurers — ages 14–17

Woodlands Trail

The Woodlands Trail is for boys ages 5–10 and focuses on knowledge. Boys these ages love to explore and learn through doing.

The Woodlands Trail focuses on participation rather than rank advancement. We go camping a couple times a year and have a “Hit The Trail” activity monthly.

Fox patrol

Hawk patrol

Mountain Lion patrol

Each meeting, boys work on learning the skills to earn one of the branches (skill areas): Outdoor Skills, Life Skills, Heritage, Hobbies, Values, Science and Technology, and Sports and Fitness.

As boys complete the needed steps for each branch, they add a branch pin to their branch patch. When they earn all seven branch pins, they earn the forest award for each patrol they matriculate through.

The Timberline Award is the highest award available in the Woodlands Trail program.


The Navigators program is for boys ages 11–13 and focuses on understanding. Boys in this program are much more independent in their rank advancement and focus on the basics of the patrol method, camping, and hiking.

Navigators actively work on earning Trail Badges. Trail Badges are earned through demonstrating competence in a particular skill as well as well as gaining experience in the field. For example, the Camping Trail Badge requires demonstrating the ability to select and prepare a campsite as well as actually camping for 15 nights in a year. Once the requirements have been fulfilled, the Trail Badge can be displayed on the Trailman’s Standard.

The use of the Patrol Method is heavily enforced during Troop meetings and campouts. Trailmen begin to step into leadership positions and experience activities that are planned and carried out by Trailmen with adult guidance.

The Ridgeline Award is the highest award available in the Navigators program.


The Adventurers program is for boys ages 14–17 and focuses on Wisdom. This high adventure program allows boys to build upon their self-reliance and outdoor skills learned in Navigators, and helps to develop increased independence and leadership skills.

We’re launching our Navigators and Adventurers units in August. We need Trailmen and leaders!
Please contact us if you are interested in joining.

Freedom Award

The prestigious Freedom Award is Trail Life USA’s highest award, and is earned through skill building, servant service, demonstrated leadership, experiential learning, and faith building with his patrol.

To earn the Freedom Award, an adventurers trailman (having earned the Horizon Award) must:

  1. Actively participate in your troop meetings and in activities (trips, camping, community outings, etc.)
  2. Complete at least four Freedom Experiences (two in a major interest and one each in two minor interests)
  3. Earn the Adventurers Worthy Life Award
  4. Complete a Freedom Servant Leadership Project