The sound of boys laughing has been heard throughout the Lampasas River valley at Camp Tahuaya since the camp was founded in 1932, however the cold water of the springs, the largest in Texas, has attracted people to the area for centuries.
There has been evidence found of prehistoric men who once lived in the area, the hunters of the mammoths and tigers that once roamed here as well. Waco Mammoth National Monument is a great place to visit to learn more about prehistoric Texas. Click HERE to read more.
Native Americans, for whom the camp is named, also relied on the clear springs, leaving behind arrowheads still able to be found by the observant and lucky. Spanish conquistadors then arrived, built a fort here, and there are legends of buried gold.
The settlers of Texas were also attracted by the springs, and you can still see the remains of the old gristmill and wagon tracks carved deep in the limestone by travelers along the Military Road and Chisholm Trail.
According to the Leon Valley District website, “Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston are a few that used the Old Military Road, a part of the Chisholm Trail that passes through Camp Tahuaya.” Our Bear Cub Scouts were earning their Texas badge, and this was a nice inclusion into that discussion.
Today the springs feed Lake Boyd Callen, where boys swim and learn to canoe during the summer, and fish for stocked trout each winter during the annual Trout-O-Ree.
When the water leaves the lake, it rushes down a picturesque waterfall. Below the falls are the remains of the gristmill, and the area was covered in Mustang Grapes, just forming in early spring.
Along the trail are tall limestone cliffs, and we found this small cave on our morning hike. After checking for snakes, we let the boys explore the mouth of the shallow cave, and observed hundreds of Daddy Long Leg spiders, who all began their fascinating vibrating dance.
For a real cavern experience, InnerSpace Caverns is located just 30 miles south of Camp Tahuaya on I-35, and offers scout activities. Click HERE to read more.
We held our Sunday morning service at the amphitheater, which overlooks the lake.
We just stopped at the shooting range to rest before continuing back on our hike.
We lucked out and were able to snag Crockett campsite, which is right next to the parking lot. The other campsites offer a little more privacy, and you can drive into them to drop off or load up your gear, before parking your car.
Our campsite had a latrine, but there were restrooms near the pool house with showers.
Each campsite has a large fire ring, as well as fire bowls for den fires.
We had plenty of trees for hanging our hammock.
After our campout, we headed about 30 minutes Northwest to Moody and Christner’s Ranch, a pay to dig ranch that was once an Indian camp, where people pay to come dig for arrowheads, spear heads and other archeological finds. We found a plethora of fossils, although no arrowheads this time. We met another Cub Scout pack there, which found several arrowheads. Our boys were happy with their finds, and enjoyed playing in the little creek, digging through the rocks and just being outside!
Know Before You Go
There is a Brookshire’s in Salado, about 3 miles away. During our stop for ice, we saw two deer run across the parking lot.
You do not have access to the Lampasas River from the camp.
Fishing is not allowed at the lake except during Summer Camp and Trout-O-Ree.
Leashed dogs are allowed during the day, but not to camp overnight.
Things To Do in/near Belton
Enjoy strolling around the historic Bell County Courthouse square, with plenty of shopping, dining and live music on weekends.
Just down the road from the camp is beautiful Stillhouse Hollow Lake! Chalk Ridge Falls Environmental Learning Center is below the Stillhouse Hollow Lake Dam. The center has about five miles of hiking trails, including a one-mile nature trail along the Lampasas River, a spring-fed creek, a waterfall, bridges and several wildlife viewing points.
Explore Belton Lake with Waterside Sprorts Kayak and SUP rentals! Click HERE to read more!
Visit The Gin at Nolan Creek in Downtown Belton, which was once a cotton gin. Great patio! Click HERE to read more!
2603 Tahuaya Dr., Belton
Click HERE to visit their website.
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