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- Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch (BTSR)
BTSR welcomes BSA unit camping most weekends during the year. The Buffalo Trail Council, BSA owns 9,500 acres of pristine wilderness on the northern edge of the Davis Mountains of west Texas. Hot water showers, potable water, and endless hiking opportunities are available to campers year-round.
Buffalo Trail Council Scout units enjoy FREE tent camping and hiking, although all campers must submit a completed Camp Use Application to a Council office at least two weeks in advance of planned camping date.
Out of Council Scout units with tour permit and Girl Scout units with approval and insurance from the GSA are also welcome at $1.00/head/night. A completed Camp Use Application must also be submitted at least a month in advance of planned camping date to a Buffalo Trail Council office by these groups.
BTSR is open for unit camping during spring break and between Christmas and New Year’s. However, the Scout ranch is NOT available for unit camping on weekends when Council-wide activities such as Son & Me, OA Fellowship, or Mystery of the Mountain are taking place. BTSR IS CLOSED TO ALL CAMPING ON ALL WEEKENDS BETWEEN SUMMER CAMP SESSIONS. Camping opportunities may be limited after Thanksgiving, during mule deer hunting season, for safety reasons.
Individual or individual family camping is not permitted. Troop trailers are fine, but recreational vehicles or personal camping trailers are not allowed.
Non-Scout groups may apply to use the Scout ranch, but must provide proof of liability insurance with the Buffalo Trail Council, BSA. Additional fees and restrictions may apply. Law enforcement groups are always welcome.
All campsites in the headquarters area have a hard, rocky base, so be prepared with stout metal tent stakes and a heavy mallet. Most campsites are close to the road, but parking may be hundreds of yards away. Be ready to unload and carry your gear. BSA canvas Wide Wall tents can be rented at $2/tent/night.
The Buffalo Hall and each of the three Staff Huts may be rented by any group with indoor needs (fees listed elsewhere). The Buffalo Hall is a stone building with about 2500 square feet of open floor space, a fireplace, and restrooms. About 50 mattresses are stored in the building, and may be used at no additional fee. Each staff hut is 13′ X 16′, totally enclosed, and contains 10 cots with mattresses. Male and female restrooms with showers are closeby. Request the use of these buildings on the Camp Use Application, and if the use of a building is essential to the success of the weekend, apply for use several weeks in advance of planned camping date. Other buildings, such as the Mess Hall or Bunkhouse, may be used by adults only, require separate advance application, and more substantial fees.
Weekend campers enjoy nature hikes, teaching and learning Scouting’s skills in their campsite, and hiking over 50 miles of trails. Most of the program areas (swimming pool, field sports, etc.) are only operated during summer camp or Council-wide activities.
All back country campsites are completely primitive and accessible only on foot. If you plan an overnight hike, bring containers for at least 1 gallon of potable water per person. Potable water filters or treatment systems are highly recommended.
The ranger always has several projects under way, and Scouts needing conservation or service hours will find challenging and meaningful tasks awaiting them. The entire unit, working together, can earn the BTSR Pondweed Award, the camp’s unique conservation
The Jersey Lilly Trading Post can be opened on request, and will gladly sell basic Scout needs (maps, flashlights, socks, etc.), souvenir items (mugs, patches, hatpins), craft projects (basket kits, craft strip, wooden neckerchief slide kits), plus ice, walking sticks, and candy. Coke machines are available in the Buffalo Hall.
Some units use the Scout ranch as a base for off-camp activities. Scouts often visit the McDonald Observatory Visitor’s Center or attend Star Parties. Swimming at the state’s largest pool at Balmorhea State Park is another favorite pastime. Fort Davis National Historic Site offers real insights into the lives of the Buffalo soldiers who patrolled the Davis Mountains more than 100 years ago. A hiking trail links FDNHS to the Davis Mountains State Park.