Scout outing at Burraston Ponds

This is a destination that has been on our list for a long time.  It is also one of those places that we’ve heard so much about from other Scout troops over the years but just never pushed it to the top of our list…until now.  So here it is, our trip report from a destination accomplished!

The rumors are true!  Burraston Ponds is an awesome place to have a scout outing for several reasons.  From our experience, this is what we liked:

  • Boating

Canoeing, kayaking or rafting on this pond is definitely the highlight. Your scouts will have a blast paddling around and exploring the reeds and waterways of these two connected ponds.  Of course, you have to bring your own boat (only non-motorized allowed).  As we were planning for our trip, we searched for canoe rentals on KSL.  We found several options along the Wasatch Front from Bountiful to Provo with prices between $10 and $20 per canoe.  Just make sure they come with two paddles and two life jackets and ask about discounts for multiple canoes and/or multiple days.  Unfortunately for us, everyone we called from KSL ads were already booked for the weekend we wanted so we ended up renting from BYU instead.  Going that route cost us a little more ($25/canoe + $50 for the trailer) but we felt that was our fault for not planning far enough in advance.  So there’s the lesson: plan ahead to get the best rates!

  • Swimming

The water is very, very nice in these ponds.  I should have taken the temperature, but this water comes from a natural spring and is a very moderate.  As I write this, I wonder if the ponds ever freeze over in the winter or how warm they might stay.  If anyone has ever done a winter camp here and swam a “polar-like plunge”, I’d love to hear from you.

  • Fishing 

Last but not least is an opportunity to fish.  Since our group planned on canoeing, none of us brought fishing gear.  There were plenty of other boys trying their luck but I didn’t notice if anyone actually caught anything.  We did catch a crawdad or two, but they were tough to get and didn’t see all that many along the shoreline.  Perhaps by August they are all picked out??  I did bring raw chicken legs and string and expected it to be like cradadin’ in Strawberry or Scoffield Reservoirs.  Since that wasn’t the case, we might just bring our fishing poles and try angling for fish next time.  If that’s what your troop plans on doing at these ponds, remember the exemption with youth fishing licenses in Utah.

Here are a few reasons you might not want to take your scouts to Burraston Ponds:

  • Risk

There is always the risk of scouts getting hurt around water.  This risk can only be compounded when an unofficially maintained rope swing is involved, right?  I mean, you climb up the tree truck and crawl out its branches to get to some of these ropes.

  • Railroad

Yes, here is another camp destination that features train noise well into the night.  These railroad tracks are not along the edge of camp like those at Crystal Hot Springs, but they are close enough to wake you up as passing trains declare their presence.  (Did you know there’s a regulation called the “Final Rule on the Use of Locomotive Horns” that requires the engineer to blow that horn four times, 15 to 20 seconds before every crossing?!)

  • Reservations

This is a first-come first-served camp area.  So you either have to be lucky coming in on a Friday night…or send someone down early on a Friday afternoon to hold you a spot.  We did that latter and got a decent place to set up camp, although I wouldn’t have minded paying a small fee in order to secure our plans ahead of time.

Other than that, we had fun and may put this on our list in the future.

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