Camp Tahquitz offers an exciting array of program opportunities designed to meet the outdoor needs of every scout and every troop, whether young or old, large or small, novice or experienced. We provide a wide variety of facilities, equipment, staff, and activities covering the major areas of Aquatics, Outdoor Skills, Nature, Field Sports, High Adventure, and Handicrafts, all designed to serve the needs of the different interest groups at camp.



Trail to First Class -- A special Scoutcraft area is dedicated to learning many of the outdoor skills required for the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class, including knot-tying, fire building, knife & axe handling, first aid cooking and general campcraft.

Totin' Chip -- Basic knife & axe BSA certification

Firem'n Chit -- Basic fire safety BSA certification

Climbing Tower -- Scouts learn basic climbing and rappelling techniques under controlled situations on a 50-foot climbing tower.

C.O.P.E. -- Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience is an exciting series of games and problems for Scouts of all ages to solve.

Archery Range -- Facilities for seasoned archers as well as beginners.

Rifle Range -- Allows the novice marksman to gain shooting experience and skills.

Outdoor Skills (Scoutcraft) -- Where Scouts can learn knot-tying, knife & axe handling, first aid, fire building, outdoor cooking, and general campcraft.

Craft Lodge -- Have fun and learn basketry, leather-craft and woodworking. A special feature of Tahquitz is the Indian Lore program.

Hiking & Backpacking -- Day and overnight hikes are available for Scouts to explore remote parts of camp as well as the beautiful San Gorgonio Wilderness.

Mountain Bikes -- Exciting mountain bike trail rides are available.

Nature Lodge -- Centered in one of four historic log cabins around the Tahquitz Meadow, the nature program focuses on ecology and the environment. The Nature Lodge also has hands-on displays, a wildlife feeding area, and a well-stocked resource library.

Reflector Telescope -- Experience clear views of the planets & stars through our advanced telescope in this internationally renowned dark-sky environment.

Horsemanship -- Learn how to ride and care for horses. Our famous overnight trail ride offers great chow and fun!

Swimming Pool -- Fed by natural spring water, this is a great place to learn aquatics skills or cool off on a warm afternoon. Staffed by trained lifeguards. Campwide Activities.

Water Carnival -- Held on Friday afternoon, this Tahquitz tradition allows Scouts of all swimming skill levels to compete in events for their troops.

Campfires -- The Tribe of Tahquitz staff members put on four campfires during the week in the beautiful Tahquitz Bowl (participation is optional): Welcome (Sunday night); Indian Lore (Monday); Troop participation (Wednesday); Awards (Friday).

Highland Games -- Tuesday evening Scouts can participate in Scottish themed games of skill.

Patrol Flag Competition -- Each patrol is encouraged to make and enter a flag, with the winner announced at the Friday night campfire.




Troops can schedule daily afternoon swim sessions so that scouts and leaders can cool off and relax after a full day of activity. They could also to the lake for an afternoon in the canoes and rowboats. All Scouts MUST wear old tennis shoes or some form of footwear when they are at the lake.


Training for BSA Swimming & Water Rescue provides BSA leaders with information and skills to prevent, recognize, and respond to swimming emergencies during unit swimming activities. It expands the awareness instruction provided by Safe Swim Defense training. Persons completing the training should be better able to assess their preparation to supervise unit swimming events. The BSA recommends that at least one person with this training is present to assist with supervision whenever a unit swims at a location that does not provide lifeguards. This training is open to any registered adult leader, Scout, Venturer, or Explorer who is age 15 or older.  The course takes approximately eight hours and is valid for three years.

Requirements: Be 15 years old; Submit written evidence of physical fitness; Complete Safe Swim Defense training; Complete the BSA Swimmer Test; Recover a 10-pound weight from 8 feet of water.


Scouts and leaders who want to attempt Thursday's noontime Mile Swim must qualify by swimming a quarter mile during lunch on Tuesday. A patch is available at the Trading Post.


Scouts and leaders who think they can brave the icy waters of early morning Tahquitz can try Thursday mornings at 6:00 during our Polar Bear Swim. A patch is available for this program at the Trading Post.


We ask that all troops send their adults to learn the important points of conducting a safe troop swim while own their own outings. Troops planning to take a canoe or other boating trip should send a representative to learn what safety precautions need to be taken. This will be offered Wednesday at lunch, and other times as requested.


This Camp Tahquitz tradition is one of the highlights of the week, where scouts compete in a series of contests and games Friday afternoon. Special recognition will go to the top troops. Oh yes, there is also a special event just for scoutmasters.  A special patch for Scoutmasters is available at the Trading Post.




The Craft Lodge is fully stocked with tools and materials for a variety of projects. Scouts can learn techniques and receive help from our trained staff. The tools and some materials are provided at no cost, but most basic craft supplies such as leather, snaps, rivets, buckles, laces, reed, and basket kits, as well as woodcarving kits, must be purchased. Prices range from $1.00 to $6.00 for most projects. Materials for some larger projects can cost $15.00 or more depending upon size and complexity.


In addition to the Leatherwork Merit Badge, facilities and supplies are available for general craft projects such as wallets, belts, visors, wristbands, and many other projects. Small pieces of leather are also available for projects.


For the Basketry Merit Badge the Craft Lodge can help scouts make baskets, trays, and stools. Kits are available at the Trading Post.


We offer both woodcarving and woodworking projects in the Craft Lodge. Neckerchief slides; troop or patrol totems and plaques, small figures and many other items can be made in the Craft Lodge. Neckerchief slides and tools are available for project at the Trading Post.



A variety of craft, carving, and creative contests will be held weekly for both adults and scouts. The winners will be recognized at the closing campfire. 

Another contest will be held for scouts who wish to make a troop or patrol flag. There will be two categories: one for flags made at home, and one for flags made at camp. The camp-made flags cane use wood, leather or other natural materials found at camp and decorated by carving, tooling, and/or painting. Recognition will be given at the Friday Night Campfire (craft items kept for judging by the Craft Lodge staff will be available at the camp office upon check-out).




With knot rails and pioneering poles, this is the place to step up and practice your knot tying skills. Can you beat the timed knot contest? Challenge your Senior Patrol Leader or your Scoutmaster!


These will make the scouting and camping skills that they have learned come alive in practical applications.


The Outdoor Skills area will help coordinate the following certificate programs with the Commissioner staff. By working with the Commissioner staff, we will be able to bring these certificates right into the heart of a scout's camping experience, the Troop's campsite! Patches for this program are available at the Trading Post.

Totin' Chip: Demonstrate safety, knowledge, maturity, and proper skills in the use of knife & ax.

Firem'n Chit: Demonstrate safety, knowledge, and proper skills in the use of fire in the campsite. Show the necessary maturity to accept its use.

Paul Bunyan Woodsman: This award, which is coordinated with the Nature Lodge, can be completed in one day while at summer camp. It requires a minimum of two hours in clearing trail, cutting wood and other forest-improvements.



This program is designed to help scouts earn their basic scouting skills. You do not need to pre-register; scouts needing these requirements only need to show up on the day the subject they need to work on will be presented.




The exciting 45' climbing tower at the High Adventure Center offers scouts the chance to experience the challenge of sport climbing and the thrill of rappelling under the direct supervision of our qualified staff. No experience is necessary -- so be sure that your troop signs up for our afternoon climbing time!


C.O.P.E. provides a series of fun and exciting games and problems for Scouts who are 13 years old or older as of January 1, 2012 or who have completed the seventh grade. Whether you are individuals or groups unfamiliar with each other, participants will learn teamwork, self-confidence, trust, leadership, communication, decision-making, and problem solving. Games introduce teamwork concepts while also serving as warm-up exercises. Trust events further the teamwork development while also developing risk-taking from low to higher levels.

IMPORTANT! National Council has set an age minimum to participate on the COPE Course. You must be at least 13 years old by January 1, 2012 or have completed 7th grade to participate on ANY section of the COPE Course. 




To assist scouts in completing the day hike portions of Rank Advancement, as well as for a general appreciation of our local mountains, the High Adventure Staff can be scheduled as guides (please arrange with the High Adventure staff when you get to camp).


Troops or patrols wishing to take an overnight backpacking trip (short or long) may choose from campsites at Lower Meadow or in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. With advance notice, we will be pleased to provide you with a staff guide, backcountry stoves, and other equipment.

You must, however, obtain your own hiking permit from the Forest Service if you are going into the Wilderness Area (doing this prior to camp is suggested) and provide your own transportation to and from the trailhead (although one trailhead is within walking distance of camp). Weather is unpredictable, so be prepared!

Adult leaders should be aware of the BSA's Rule of Four" for backcountry trips: On every "backpacking trip there must be at least four individuals (including at least two adults). If you have trouble getting this number, we will see if we can team you up with other scouts/scouters at camp. However, ultimately the troop must ensure that they have enough qualified leaders to meet the BSA standards for both your scouts in camp as well as those in the backcountry.


Troops planning to use the backcountry should check to see if their trip will qualify them for either the Tahquitz Trail Award or Broken Arrow Award. If you want to earn either of these, we can help you plan your trip (of course, we also will help you plan your trip even if you do not want to earn one of these awards). Please remember, a single trip will count for only one award.


There will be Map and Compass courses set up for the Orienteering Merit Badge, the Mountaineer Award, and general rank advancements



Ever wanted to learn about the fundamentals of how to shoot a .22? What about a bow and arrow -- or how about our new Shotgun program for older scouts? Test your marksmanship skills at the Tahquitz Ranges!  A special patch is available for all shooting sports at the Trading Post.


We have two shooting ranges near Tahquitz Lake. Each scout will have the opportunity to participate in a supervised shooting environment, learning safety regulations and practice, as well as participate in BSA awards. Each scout will receive free rounds for troop shoot time (additional rounds for Merit Badge practice are covered by a $5.00 merit badge fee).

For added safety, we ask that a responsible troop adult accompany the younger scouts when they are on the range.


Both Merit Badge programs are limited to older scouts and Venturers age 13 and above.


Scouts learn the fundamental rules and techniques of using a bow and arrow at the target archery range. Targets have been installed to provide for the maximum opportunity to participate in this popular program. Basic instructional sessions are included with recreation so that each scout learns the proper safety procedure. Target distance and bow strength vary according to the size of the individual scout and the requirements of the Archery Merit Badge.

For added safety, we ask that a responsible troop adult accompany the younger scouts while they are on the range.


The shooting sports merit badges can be worked on at Camp Tahquitz, but they are very difficult and require a great deal of extra practice and a high level of competency. Please realize that they require the scouts to reach a minimum shooting score to complete the badge. Since these are popular, be sure to pre‑register early for these badges. Completion of Archery requires scouts to build an arrow: they should bring an unfinished arrow to camp, or buy an arrow kit at the camp Trading Post. For a better chance at completion, scouts are advised to purchase and read the current Merit Badge book and be prepared to spend extra time practicing their shooting skills.


Marksmanship Competitions are held every week! Let a staff member know you'd like to try for it; winners are announced at the Awards Campfire Friday night!




The nucleus of the Nature Program is the historic log cabin sitting atop a hill, overlooking Upper Meadow. Here, the varied programs of the Nature Center listed below can be scheduled. All Scouts and Scouters are welcome to stop by the cabin during program time to use and experience the many resources available.


We have set aside a special feeding area behind the Nature Lodge for viewing the many varieties of birds and small mammals. This is a great place for picture taking or just relaxing while watching nature.


Many displays and hands-on nature activities have been added this year. Scouts learn best by touching and experiencing nature. A staff member will be available to lead scouts into this new world.


Experience clear views of the planets & stars through our advanced telescope in this internationally renowned dark-sky environment


Scouts are welcome to use our well-stocked nature library.


To assist those scouts working on the Weather and Environmental Science Merit Badges, as well as those scouts interested in the local weather, we maintain a fully functional weather station.


Not only are special projects a requirement for advancement, but we all take pride in pointing out to others the part of ourselves that we left behind at Camp Tahquitz. There are a variety of projects available, some even in your own campsite. You may schedule these when you arrive at camp or throughout the week; they can be a one-time activity or an ongoing project throughout the week. However, to protect the environment of the camp, the Nature Director MUST approve ALL projects BEFORE you begin, as well as when you have finished. Please see the Nature Director for more information.  We have a special patch available for purchase at the Trading Post to reward your Scouts for a job "Well Done".


The Nature Center will be open Thursday evenings for cabin activities and as a merit badge reference center. . Check with the Nature Director for Star Study times and other special activities.


This award was designed to demonstrate the delicate balance between people and their environment. To qualify, a Scout must earn the Environmental Science, Citizenship in the World, and either Soil & Water Conservation or Fish & Wildlife Management Merit Badges, as well as a few other requirements.


Camp Tahquitz offers the perfect environment for learning about nature and we offer several nature related merit badges. Please be sure that each scout has read the pamphlet BEFORE coming to camp and has written verification, photographs, displays, notes, etc. for completed long term projects. Assistance with Conservation and Environmental skills and awareness is also available. We will work directly with your scouts, or help train the troop's leadership to help provide these skills for their own troop.




This is an intensive program for older scouts to teach the fundamentals of the horsemanship merit badge. THIS IS A PROGRAM DESIGNED FOR OLDER BOYS! For safety reasons, the wranglers have the right to disqualify a scout if they feel that the scout's physical size and strength poses a safety problem to the scout. Long pants, sturdy shoes and helmets are required (the camp will provide the helmets)! There is an additional cost for this merit badge.


After a basic orientation in the round pens, the Scouts and Scouters will leave for a scenic trail ride. These rides will explore the expanse of acreage that most Scouts and Scouters never have the opportunity to visit. It is extremely important to be at the stable on time -- maybe even a little early! Long pants, sturdy shoes, and helmets are required for ALL participants (the camp supplies the helmets).


Please check out the "Hikes and Overnight Activities" page for more information on this exciting program. There is a cost for this program. A patch is available for this program.

NOTE: In the interest of safety for scouts, adults, and horses, some individuals may be disqualified due to size or skill. Check with the wrangler if you have any questions.



This week-long experience is for older Scouts and Venturers who would like to experience the life of a Mountain Man in the fur trade era of the 1840s. Participants will determine on Sunday night what activities they would like experience during their adventure in camp.

All participants are expected to pitch in to accomplish necessary camp chores and to follow the leadership of the staff. Self-discipline is expected, the Scout Oath and Law will be the rule of the Thunderbird Outpost.