8 Incredible Scout Camps for the 2018 Summer Camp Season
When the school year ends, summer camp season begins. A week at one of these eight incredible Scout camps is time well spent.
Click here to see more Scout Camps featured in previous years
SALMON RIVER HIGH ADVENTURE BASE
HIGH DEFINITION: They call it “The River of No Return.” But don’t worry. You’ll make it back from your Salmon River adventure just fine — and have plenty of GoPro footage to show your friends.
TOUGH OR TOUGHER: The most popular trip is a bumpy three-day ride down a 38-mile stretch of river. Want more challenge? Add on a two-day backpacking trip through Hells Canyon.
DAILY CATCH: Are there salmon in the Salmon River? Yes, indeed. Campers can catch bass, trout and pike, too. For a different kind of catching, the camp lends out flying discs and footballs.
Find out more: oreidascouting.org
CAMP DANIEL BOONE
Daniel Boone Council
Canton, North Carolina
KEEPING IT 1700: Step back in time at Boonesboro Village, a full-immersion summer camp experience. You’ll live all week as 1770s-era villagers, sleeping in barracks and learning blacksmithing, pottery and leatherworking.
FOOD AND FIRE: At Boonesboro, villagers cook over wood fires using only tools available in the late 18th century. No camp stoves here.
MODERN MARVELS: Daniel Boone offers plenty of 21st-century fun, too, including rafting, climbing and backpacking. There’s also Goin’ Great, a program that gets new Scouts on the path to Eagle.
Find out more: campdanielboone.org
MA-KA-JA-WAN SCOUT RESERVATION
Northeast Illinois Council
FASTEST WAY DOWN: Follow the sounds of joyful screams to the Black Hole, Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan’s enclosed side-by-side slides. Board a tiny sled, hold on tightly and zoom down the hill.
THIS MEANS WAR: Lake Killian is the place for aquatics awesomeness. Our favorite: war canoe races. Groups of 10 Scouts hop into extra-long canoes to paddle for the camp-wide crown.
LET IT BURN: The Order of the Arrow bonfire Friday night ends the week in spectacular fashion. It’s when Scouts elected by their troopmates get inducted into Scouting’s national honor society.
Find out more: makajawan.com
OWASIPPE SCOUT RESERVATION
Pathway to Adventure Council
Twin Lake, Michigan
DO IT ALL: It’s called the Ultimate Owasippe Adventure, and it’s not for Scouts who want to sit still. Your Monday through Friday will be packed with hiking, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing and more.
WHEELS UP: Owasippe’s new mountain-biking program might be the coolest way to explore the reservation’s 4,800 acres. Hop aboard to ride 23 miles of some of Michigan’s best trails.
KNOW YOUR HISTORY: Owasippe is one of the nation’s oldest Scout camps. While today’s Scouts arrive by SUV, Scouts in 1912 traveled by steamship across Lake Michigan. The camp isn’t on the lake, so Scouts had to carry all their gear the last 7 miles.
Find out more: owasippeadventure.com
MONTANA HIGH ADVENTURE BASE (MOHAB)
YOUR CHOICE: Treks at MOHAB come in two flavors: hiking or packrafting. If you pick packrafting, you’ll paddle the lakes and rivers, and hike the hills and valleys. When you aren’t paddling, you’ll carry your lightweight inflatable solo raft on your back.
LEVEL UP: MOHAB offers two adventure levels. Level I is a one-week trek covering up to 8 miles a day. Level II is two weeks, with up to 12 miles a day of travel.
SCENIC ROUTE: You won’t find these views at home. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, MOHAB offers panoramic vistas that make each step or paddle stroke worth the effort.
Find out more: montanahighadventurebase.com
TEN MILE RIVER (TMR) SCOUT CAMPS
Greater New York Councils
Narrowsburg, New York
TOUGHEN UP: The Ten Mile River High Adventure Trek is one of the most intense 50-mile treks out there. Over the course of the weeklong backpacking trip, you’ll stop at Philmont-style outposts to try target paintball, mountain boarding, rappelling and more.
A FULL MENU: TMR’s three summer camps allow you to choose your meal style. Camp Keowa and Camp Ranachqua have a traditional dining hall. Camp Aquehonga lets you cook with your patrol.
PICK ONE: All three camps offer activities like archery, canoeing, sailing and a nature center. But each has something unique: One has a twisty waterslide, another offers water skiing and the third has a deep-woods setting that feels more like “roughing it.”
Find out more: tenmileriver.org
NAISH SCOUT RESERVATION
Heart of America Council
Kansas City, Kansas
ON TARGET: Take aim at metal markers in Top Shot Chalk Ball, one of Naish’s newest offerings. The chalk pellets explode in a satisfying cloud of dust when you hit your target.
LET’S EAT: The “Critter Supper Club” isn’t what it sounds like. No, you won’t have to dine on lizards, rabbits and snakes, but you will get to watch some of Naish’s animal residents devour their dinner while you munch on yours. Bon appétit!
FILL YOUR SASH: Naish offers more than 40 different merit badges, including six Eagle-required badges. The Welding merit badge is taught by local ironworkers. Geology and Mining in Society include a tour of a local quarry.
Find out more: hoac-bsa.org/naish
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH ADVENTURE BASE
Rocky Mountain Council
Villa Grove, Colorado
HIGHS AND LOWS: From the time you show up Sunday, you’re in for a mountaintop experience in the rugged Rocky Mountains. You can try whitewater rafting, mountain trekking, mountain biking, climbing and rappelling.
RIVER ROAR: The powerful Arkansas River relentlessly churns down Browns Canyon, and you’ll feel every splash, dip and rise. Translation: You’re gonna get wet. Try to take your eyes off the rapids from time to time to look out for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
PEAK CONDITION: The Fourteener Challenge is only for Scouts in tip-top shape. You’ll try to summit Mount Shavano and/or Mount Antero. Each has an elevation higher than 14,000 feet, and each involves a strenuous climb to the top.
Find out more: rmcbsa.org/rmhab
Instead of complaining that my personal favorite did not make the list, let me thank you for showcasing different style Camps through several regions. At least one is potentially on our list for the coming years’ activities.
I was pleased to see so many good camps are available!
Yawgoog? Winnebago? Workcoeman? 3 of the best in New England.
I love Camp Orr High Adventure Base in Jasper, AR! It’s the only BSA camp that is surrounded on all 4 sides by NPS property, and it’s waterfront is on the Buffalo, America’s first national river. Plus, they have some of the best rock in the country for climbing and rappeling, and you can’t beat their hiking and canoeing adventures! westarkbsa.org
These were not the best camps but just “incredible” camps for 2018. At first I couldn’t imagine that the true “top camp”, Camp Steiner at 10400 ft elevation would not be there, but looking back through the other years, it was one of the first featured in 2015’s article of incredible camps:). In all, these are good lists of camps that you can get a quick review on if you are wanting to travel to somewhere new. Thanks for these articles and keep them coming each year. It is incredible the amount of varying activities that are available throughout all the BSA camps! Some real treasures!
Isn’t Camp Everglades in Florida also surrounded on all 4 sides by a national park? I know it’s inside the park.
Wow I am surprised that Camp Raven Knob is not on there. It is one of my top picks.
I like camp yawgoog,it is the closest camp to me in rhode island, and its very nice.
No Horseshoe did not make the list, but it is my top pick! Very surprised that the Summit is also not on the list.
I second the vote for Matagamon High Adventure in Maine. Served there as Base Director in ’78 when it was a national high adventure base and the Katahdin Council has done a great job of keeping it active after National moved their canoe high adventure to Northern Tier. Best parts are variable length stays to fit your time frame and budget, and plan your own trek with canoe, whitewater, hiking, mountain climbing, floatplane and other options. Best bargain in a HA camp in US.
This is an ongoing series of articles for camps each year. Our camp was featured last year. Go and click on the link above the article to see previous camps featured. There are hundreds of scout camps and all can’t be featured.
So sad that my very favorite Camp Hual Cu Cuish in the Cuyamaca mountains wasn’t eligible because it was destroyed in a major wildfire. Built by the CCC in the late 1930s it was a beautiful beautiful camp. Great memories!
Why not Philmont?
Why not Philmont?
It’s great to see the different camps and the activities they provide that are unique to their area. While I have a lot of pride in our local camp and it would be great to see it listed, I appreciate listening to the testimonials such as one that discussed keeping the Scouts active with a week of fun and learning that keeps them off their electronics and away from watching TV. Keep up the good work Scouters!
Ben Delatour / Philmont
I spent 6 summers at Ten Mile River, Keowa campsite. Many fond memories.
Interesting that Theodore Naish of Heart of America Council is on the list and H. Roe Bartle is not.
Summer camp at Big Sur and winter camp at Yosemite it was a true California dream.
How about Camp Yawgoog in Rhode Island?
It saddens me to read so many comments that complain and criticize because someone’s favorite camp was not listed. Let’s try to be more positive and less whiny Scouts. Constructive comments will do much more to help bring attention to your concerns.
I have a lot of wonderful memories of Owasippe scout camp in Michigan. Our troop went there for years. I eventually worked up there for 3 summers including 1969 when we watched Neil Armstrong’s walk on a 19” tv.
Blue Ridge Mountains Council Reservation. There are two camps,Powhatan and Ottari on 16,000 acres. Claytor lake aquatics camp is also part of the BRMC reservation.
Venturing Crew 9 of Amarillo, TX ( The Kwahadi Dancers) have had the honor of performing a five of the eight in recent years on our summer show tours…and we agree and salute them for making this prestigious list!
Blue Ridge Mountains Council Hiwassee VA Reservation has 16,000 acres with Camps Powhatan and Ottari. Also, included is Claytor Lake aquatics camp.RLB
My older boys both LOVE DelMarVa Council’s Camp Rodney in North East, MD. So much so that they opted to forego camping with their troops at local Scout camps this summer in favor of returning to Camp Rodney as provisional campers. Camp Rodney’s water sports program is incredible and my unmatched picky eater swears they have the “best food ever!” Tomorrow is merit badge sign-up; can’t wait to see what adventures they’ll be undertaking this year!
Lost Valley in California
I strongly agree – my son and his buddies won’t even think about a different camp from Tenderfoot through Eagle – absolutely the best – the staff makes the difference – the first time you gather at retreat and see that line of almost 100 Staff in their Red T-Shirts it is awesome times 10!
My camp in the early 60’s. Loved the waterfront!!!
It appears that you only polled Scouts in the Northern United States, surely there are some Scout camps worthy of mention in the Southern portion of the US. I agree with Pedro, it would be nice to have maybe a top 5/6 listing of scout camps by state/region? Would be nice to compare attributes vs. distance in order to make effective plans.
These look like some fun camps!
I gotta add some of my favorites to the list, too:
+ Camp Loll in WY, between the Yellowstone and the Tetons (Trapper Trails Council), and
+ Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island, CA (Greater Los Angeles Area Council)
+ Camp Cutter in the CA Redwoods near Big Basin Redwoods State Park (Pacific Skyline Council)
I agree, never heard of these camps before. I believe your favorite camp is where the Troop gets the most enjoyment out of the experience, The camp and fun they all talk about!
How come nothing is mentioned about camp sites or just scouting overseas, in the Far East or Transatlantic Councils?
Matagamon High adventure base by Baxter State Park in Maine. A former National High Adventure camp and NOT defunct as mentioned in a Scouting magazine article last year.
Not one camp in New England?? I guess the pollsters never took into account Connecticut Rivers Council’s Camp Workcoeman.
no camp bartle?
How about a comprehensive listing of scout camps by state/region? Would be nice to compare attributes vs. distance in order to make effective plans.
The tall pine wilderness of north central Minnesota hide two great Scout camps: Many Point Scout Camp near the headwaters of the Mississippi River and Wilderness Scout Camp between Park Rapids, MN and Bemidji, MN. Fantastic program and the land of 10,000 lakes means great fun at either of them.
I agree with Wilderness Scout Camp, I attended that camp in 1947 – 1950 as a Scout, then Canoe trails and a camp life Guard, What a good experience.
So many great places to go! If only we could visit them all.
Winnebago Scout Reservation, Rockaway, New Jersey. The Philmont of the East!
What was the criteria used to determine which camps were incredible?
Yes, would like to know the criteria. Otherwise, this list is based on what? The author’s personal experience, what he has heard over the years, a survey that went out to who, or paid advertising? Without context this article begs for questions and lacks credibility, even if these are all incredible camps.
No love for Camp Parsons?
No. They only recognized the top 8 and obviously Camp Parsons did not make the cut.
Parsons was on the 2016 list.
How did Swamp Base not make this list.