Either the Cycling merit badge OR the Hiking merit badge OR the Swimming merit badge is required for the rank of Eagle Scout. Boy Scouts who earn more than one of these badges may count the additional badges as electives.
Hiking is a terrific way to keep your body and mind in top shape, both now and for a lifetime. Walking packs power into your legs and makes your heart and lungs healthy and strong. Exploring the outdoors challenges you with discoveries and new ideas. Your senses will improve as you use your eyes and ears to gather information along the way.
Hiking Merit Badge Requirements
- Do the following:
- Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while hiking, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
- Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while hiking, including hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, dehydration, sunburn, sprained ankle, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, hyperventilation, and altitude sickness.
- Explain and, where possible, show the points of good hiking practices including the principles of Leave No Trace, hiking safety in the daytime and at night, courtesy to others, choice of footwear, and proper care of feet and footwear.
- Explain how hiking is an aerobic activity. Develop a plan for conditioning yourself for 10-mile hikes, and describe how you will increase your fitness for longer hikes.
- Make a written plan for a 10-mile hike. Include map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch.
- Take five hikes, each on a different day, and each of 10 continuous miles. Prepare a hike plan for each hike.*
- Take a hike of 20 continuous miles in one day following a hike plan you have prepared.*
- After each of the hikes (or during each hike if on one continuous “trek”) in requirements 5 and 6, write a short report of your experience. Give dates and descriptions of routes covered, the weather, and interesting things you saw. Share this report with your merit badge counselor.
* The hikes in requirements 5 and 6 can be used in fulfilling Second Class (2a) and First Class (3) rank requirements, but only if Hiking merit badge requirements 1, 2, 3, and 4 have been completed to the satisfaction of your counselor. The hikes of requirements 5 and 6 cannot be used to fulfill requirements of other merit badges.