Scout camp should not be strictly about working on merit badges. In fact, the Leader’s Guide suggests to not “over-program” your week as one way to get the most out of your camp experience. In other words, it states: “Merit badges are important, but camp offers more than just badges. Make sure there is time for additional activities.”
One idea for a self-guided activity at Camp Steiner could be an overnight backpacking outpost hike for your troop. Take a look at heading out to Lofty Lake, Kamas Lake or Ruth Lake… all very easy to get to from camp with trail access found on the opposite side of Scout Lake. You could also take an hour one afternoon or evening to check out the ice caves in the area. They are nothing more than fissures in the rocks but are fun to crawl in and around. If for no other reason, it gives the boys a chance to explore something cool on their own!
You should also know about the “Dawn Hike” up to Paul’s Point on Friday morning, sometimes organized by the camp staff. The group of early-risers departs in enough time to watch the sun rise over Hayden Peak and the “lighting” of Bald Mountain and Reids Peak on the other side of the pass. It’s pretty awesome to see! While you’re up there, you should also wander over to peak 11,113 for a birds-eye view of Kamas Lake below.
Here’s a map of some of the hiking trails you can explore right from camp along with GPS coordinates and a Google Earth file for reference.
Ice Caves (aka Scout Caves): N40.71883′, W110.88995′
Paul’s Point (aka Scout Peak): N40.72268′, W110.89379′
Turn-off to Ruth Lake: N40.72704′, W110.88863′
Ice Caves: 1/2 mile from main flag area
Paul’s Point: 1.25 miles from the main flag area
Traditional trail into camp: 1/2 mile from the parking lot at the camp’s entrance to the gravel road that runs through camp
Castle Lake: Less than 1/2 mile from the camp site called “Wilderness”
(Castle Lake is where the overnight Wilderness Survival experience is often held)
Ruth Lake: 1.5 miles from the main flag area
Lofty Lake Loop: 4 miles on the actual loop trail + the distance from wherever your hike starts in camp