Property Details: Baldwin

[click an image to view photo show]

Baldwin is known for its string of horses. Horsemanship Merit Badge is popular, as are afternoon horse rides and overnight horse rides.Windsurfing is a fun activity that Scouts attending Baldwin can participate in. A local windsurf school in Hood River provides instructors and a quiet sheltered cove on the Columbia River in which to learn the basics.Rockclimbing and rapelling is a popluar older-Scout activity. Scouts practice first on a short in-camp wall, then head out for climbs on natural rocks.Flag ceremony at the parade grounds in front of Lake Hanel

Camp Baldwin is located in the scenic Mount Hood National Forest near Dufur, Oregon.  Tall evergreens and plentiful wildlife abound. Blue skies and warm winds on the eastern slope of Mount Hood attract many Scouts to this pine forested camp each year. Snow camping and cross-country skiing are popular activities during the winter months.  Lake Hanel offers catch-and-release fishing.

Summer Program:

Camp Baldwin is a premier summer camp for Boy Scouts during summer months. The camp offers a number of high-adventure activities, including horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing and rapelling, mountainboarding, white water rafting, and windsurfing.

Baldwin operates as a Jamboree style cooking camp, with Scouts cooking most meals in their campsite.  The camp commissary prepares raw food product and delivers throughout camp twice each day to ensure plenty of quality food is provided to all campers.  This patrol-style cooking lends itself well to troops wishing to strengthen their patrols and young leaders, as cooking together is a time proven way for boys to gain teamwork and leadership skills.

For more information about the summer program, please see the Camp Baldwin Summer Camp page.

To place a reservation for summer camp, use the summer camp reservation form.

Weekend Camping:

Camp Baldwin is a popular weekend camping destination for Boy Scouts.  Winter months usually find the camp covered with snow, but still accessible, making Baldwin an ideal snow adventure destination for winter campers.  Many troops take along snowshoes or cross-country skiis, and enjoy the camp and thousands of acres of surrounding forest and nearby cross-country ski trail systems.

During winter months, most troops stay inside the heated program center or the fire-heated dining hall.  Tent camping is also available, and a few shelters are available under which tents can be pitched for additional shelter.

To place a weekend camping reservation, please CLICK HERE to access the online property reservation system for pricing, scheduling, and other details.  If you have further questions in making a reservation, please contact Volunteer Services at 503.225.5759 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Facility Rental:

These facilities are available for rental by guest groups.  Please CLICK HERE to access the online property reservation system for pricing, scheduling, and other details.  If you have further questions in making a reservation, please contact Volunteer Services at 503.225.5759 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Property Facts:

Size: 680 acres

Location: 11 miles west of Dufur, Oregon; between Mount Hood and The Dalles

GPS Coordinates: 45. 24.257 n / 121. 25.484 w

Elevation: 3600ft

Mailing Address: 76201 Dufur Valley Road, Dufur, OR 97021

Date Acquired: 1928-1946. Present site on North side of Highway 44 was acquired about 1957 and began operation in 1962.

Maps: Click here to download trail maps of camp, and highway maps to camp


Property History:

Excerpts from Columbia Pacific Council: Seventy-Five Years of Scouting:  
On the evening of October 4, 1928, Mrs. Ellen Baldwin's offer of 160 acres for a Scout camp was accepted by the Mid-Columbia Deschutes Council Executive Board members. The property was about 10 miles south of Mosier. Unfortunately, this original tract had no water and was unsuitable for us as a Scout camp. In 1935, the Council was absorbed into the Portland Area Council. The Baldwin family had been Wasco County pioneers and had an interest in Scouting. In 1937, the Ned Baldwin estate made a $25,000 bequest to the Council for construction of a camp on the original property. The lack of water made that out of the question. In 1944, a Wasco County court modified the Ned Baldwin will and authorized the Council to use some of the funds to purchase a more adequate site. By this time the bequest had appreciated to $42,000. The original donation of $25,000 in 1937 would be equivalent to more than $330,000 in 2004 dollars!

A Council Site Selection Committee reviewed the sites available and voted to purcahse 160 acres on Ramsey Creek. Jim Monroe, Council staffer, started building the camp in 1947. During this time an invitation was made to a few troops to come try out the site before it became fully operational.

It should be explained that Ramsey Creek and indeed much of the camp was in a timbered draw. The pool was cold, narrow, deep and could not be enlarged easily.

Bruce Winston was the first camp director at Baldwin. When he first saw the camp, the dining hall was up and the dam was in. The pool the dam made was less than a quarter of an acre in size. There was little else in the way of facilities. The camp had been described as a mountain camp, but had little that was unique in its program. Chief Obie had a solution — put horses in the camp.

So the Baldwin horse program was put together. They found people with horses but no time to ride them and the second year at Baldwin saw a string of about six borrowed horses. An old retired cowboy with a good attitude and an alert mind was found and paired with a teenager who claimed to know about horses. The cowboy sat on a stump and supplied knowledge and experience to run the program, while the boy did the physical labor. The horse program was at Baldwin to stay for a number of years.

Things built the second year included a shower house and sites. A local rancher gave invaluable help in locating a spring and changing the water system to a gravity-feed. Previously, the water had been pumped out of Ramsey Creek. Next to the spring, a large concrete storage tank had been built in the ground. This tank would have particular significance years later. In a recent very dry summer at New Baldwin (1977) a crisis arose. The camp was running out of water! Several alternatives were considered. Then came the suggestion to check out the water tank at the Old Baldwin spring. The water was found to be crystal clear. It was pumped across to the new camp and it has relieved a lot of thirsty boys since.

There was an on-going battle cutting foilage back from the slopes along the creek in order to warm the water. Very little sun got down into the bottom of the draw. Unfortunately, it was a losing battle and the creek stayed cold. How cold? Too cold. So cold that the camp staff swore that ice cubes took 24 hours to melt.

More camps, newer and more modern, were coming into operation. Something would have to be done to improve or change Baldwin. In 1955, Winston was given authority to purchase the "Dufur Mill" property of 320 acres. In 1957, the adjoining "Sweet Home" property of 160 acres was acquired. These pieces of land were just across the road next to Camp Baldwin. They were on the 8-Mile Creek drainage, not on Ramsey Creek. Disposing of the wreckage of an old mill and various other buildings on the property made work for Scouting families for several years.

In 1956, the horse program moved from Old Baldwin into some old mill buildings while other buildings were burned to clear the site for the eventual construction of a "new" five acre lake. Water rights, water holding permits and dam plans were secured from the State Engineer.

The National Council Engineering Service drew up an "ideal" plan for Camp A with the future development of a second Camp B. Because of the "broken baby boom", plans for Camp B have yet to be fulfilled. Camp A is Camp Baldwin as we know it today.

By 1962, most of the construction was finished on the new Camp Baldwin site. The new dam across the meadow had created a small lake and Camp Baldwin opened. The Camp Director, Pat Murphy, developed an excellent staff. The camp continued to flourish. In 1982, the Mountain Man High Adventure program, initiated by Craig Reide and directed by Robin Sweeney, exposed older Scouts & Explorers to rough hiking. These and other activities that have become traditions — the weekly all-camp chicken barbecue and the staff "American Heritage" campfire — have helped keep Baldwin full of activity every season ever since the opening of the "new" camp. A key volunteer who helped make Baldwin as great as it is was Don Hanel. At his untimely death the lake was named Lake Hanel in his honor.

Baldwin historical events by year:

2008 - First telephone call made on real telephone on August 1, 2008.  New fiber lines installed while the septic system was being installed were put into operation when the fiber line made it up the highway from Dufur.

2007 - Finished replacement of entire underground water system, including new lines into each campsite and building; project completed in time for summer camp opening day.

2006 - Underground water mains replaced in fall of 2006. 2" main line that followed camp road for most of the loop was replaced with a 6" main, nearly doubling the water storage capacity of the system and upgrading aging and cracking pipe.

2004 - New nature shelter built. Old Appaloosa campsite shelter demolished after 40+ years of service. 

2003 - Staff showerhouse upgrade completed. 

2000 - Camper showerhouse upgrade completed, adding seperate adult male & adult female facilities.

1993 - Cascade Area Council (Salem) and Columbia Pacific Council (Portland) merge to become Cascade Pacific Council.

1984 - Esco Steel Company builds two cabins for Ranger and Camp Director. 

1982 - Mountain-Man program begins.

1980 - Mt. St. Helens erupts, displacing Scouts from Camp Spirit Lake. Many camped at Baldwin instead.

1977 - Water crisis solved by using Old Baldwin water supply.

1962 - First year of operation at "New Baldwin" site.

1961 - Last year of operation at Old Baldwin site.

1957 - Sweethome property acquired (160 acres), adjacent to Dufur Mill property.

1956 - Horse program moved to New Baldwin; Old mill buildings burned to make room for lake.

1955 - Authorization given to purchase Dufur Mill property (320 acres) on North side of Dufur Mill Road.

1947 - Land purchased (Old Baldwin), and camp development begins. First camp season?

 1944 - Wasco County modifies Ned Baldwin will, allowing purchase of suitable land.

1937 - Ned Baldwin estate bequests $25,000 for creation of camp.

1935 - Council merger creates Portland Area Council.

1928 - Original offer of land from Mrs. Ellen Baldwin to Mid-Columbia Deschutes Council.

MVC-012SLake Hanel

Archery Range Entrance






SideBox Email Subscribe

SideBox Donate Now


Your gift to Friends of Scouting helps us serve children with time-tested programs of values and character development. Click below to make a secure online donation:

donate now button