FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

All FAQs are subject to change. If you cannot find the answer to your question below,

please contact us and we’ll do our best to promptly reply with the answer.

General FAQ

Do I have to be a Cub Scout or Boy Scout member to rent the facilities at Oso Lake?


Yes. Packs and Troops may do “family camping” at Oso Lake which could involve siblings or parents that are not BSA members, but we do not allow non-Scout groups to rent or use facilities at Oso Lake.




Can I just stop by and use the facilities?


No. Due to the importance of visitor safety and proper planning to make sure you have a great stay, all visitors to Oso Lake must be pre-registered campers. Day use and overnight visitors may make reservations prior to your arrival by contacting the Orange County Council of Boy Scouts of America camping coordinator. The phone number is (714) 546-8558 x 164.




Are there biting bugs at Oso Lake?


Yes. The camp is situated in a large natural landscape that is home to wild creatures of all types. It is unusual to see or be bitten by mosquitoes at Oso Lake for most of the year, although the hottest weeks of Summer can be itchy If you arrive unprepared. Ticks are always present in the natural plants that grow here, so it’s recommended you stay out of the brush, stay on the trails, and check yourself for ticks when you return home. Mosquitoes and Ticks are repelled by insect sprays and creams containing at least 20% DEET. It is recommended that you also bring medication or emergency treatments for known allergies you might require in the event of an interaction with a biting or stinging insect.




Are there any poisonous plants at Oso Lake?


Yes. Poison oak is very commonly encountered when you leave established trails, as is poison hemlock. Various mushrooms, stinging nettle, and prickly thistles are also found around camp from time to time, so it is recommended that all campers stay on established trails to avoid these noxious and potentially painful plants. NEVER EAT ANY PLANT FOUND AT OSO LAKE.




Can I bring my well trained and leashed dog(s)?


No. With the exception of trained assistance animals, no pets of any kind are allowed at Oso Lake. Please leave your dog, horse, aardvark, cat, tortoise, hedgehog, rat, snake, pocket fish, or other family pet at home. Seriously, no pets at Oso Lake please. You will be asked to leave if you bring them.




Can I bring alcohol or tobacco into camp?


Alcohol and intoxicating substances are never permitted in camp, period. It is a violation of BSA policy to consume alcohol or intoxicating substances in camp, and campers who are caught with alcohol or any such substance in their possession will be escorted from the property with no warnings or refunds provided. For safety and health reasons, we would prefer you not smoke in camp at all. If you must smoke, smoking is permitted in the designated smoking area ONLY. Please contact the Ranger to determine where the smoking area is. Please do not smoke in the presence of youth, and please LEAVE NO TRACE of your smoking in camp.




How far away are emergency services?


Oso Lake is a suburban camping facility. While emergencies are rare, the Rancho Santa Margarita fire station #45 and Mission Viejo fire station #31 are each less than 4 miles from camp. Mission Hospital is the closest major emergency medical facility. The Orange County Sheriff patrols our area regularly and will respond to emergencies in camp if needed. Cell phone coverage is excellent and emergency response time is very fast if required.





Camping FAQ

How many campers can be at Oso Lake at a time?


Oso Lake is set up to host up to 300 campers at a time. It has 9 camping areas, and 10-12 meeting areas.




Are camp fires allowed at Oso Lake?


Yes, if the fire danger is low and Oso staff have approved it. At check-in, ask if wood fires will be permitted for the weekend. Fires may only be in established fire rings only. All fires must be attended at all times and are NEVER to be left unattended. You may bring your own or purchase firewood at the Oso Lake Trading Post. Fires are to be put out cold prior to leaving your camp site unattended.




Can I purchase food and personal items at camp?


Yes. The Oso Lake Trading Post offers a selection of snacks and some personal care items are also available. Trading Post hours are variable, so check with the Ranger for the latest information. There is a Ralph’s super market located within a few miles from the camp entrance as well.




Does Oso Lake have showers and flush toilets?


No, not yet. Many well maintained and frequently emptied Porta Potties are available for camper use. The camp does have potable water for sponge baths and other cleaning needs in each camp site.




Can I camp in my travel trailer or motor home?


No. Oso Lake is open to tent camping only.





Fishing FAQ

Do I need a license to fish at Oso Lake?


No. Registered campers may fish at Oso Lake without a California fishing license during their stay.




I am a Scout. Can I stop by and fish any time?


No. Only registered campers may fish at Oso Lake during their event, or camping stay. Unauthorized visitors caught fishing (yes, even Scouters) will be considered trespassers and may be ticketed by the OC Sheriff and escorted from the property for their own safety, and the safety of the kids in camp.




Can I borrow or rent fishing gear?


Your rod and fishing gear come included in your program pricing. If you would like to bring your own rod, you are more than welcome to.




What kind of fish live in Oso Lake?


Oso Lake is home to largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and seasonally stocked Tilapia are present from early summer through early winter (June-December).




Can I eat the fish I catch at Oso Lake?


No. In order to ensure great fishing for all, Oso Lake is a 100% CPR (Catch, Photo & Release) angling facility and all fish must be released alive immediately in the location where they were caught.




What kinds of lures and baits are allowed at Oso Lake?


Only artificial lures, flies, and baits are permitted. No living or dead fish, insects, human foods or animal foods are allowed as fishing bait.




Is the fishing kid friendly at Oso Lake?


Yes, very. We specialize in giving kids a fun and educational fishing experience. Fish catching at Oso Lake seasonally ranges from very easy (everyone catches something) to very challenging (one or two kids catch something). Fish catching depends on the environmental conditions, time of year, fish life cycles, the skills of the angler, and how many anglers are fishing. It’s not uncommon for kids to catch their very first fish at Oso Lake.





Range FAQ

What kinds of ranges are at Oso Lake?


Oso Lake has one of the largest permanent outdoor archery ranges in Orange County (24 targets), BB rifle range, Wrist Rocket range, and tomahawk range. All ranges are open to registered campers with advance reservations, and on special event days where ranges are mentioned in the program schedule.




Is there an age requirement for ranges?


It depends on the range. Tomahawk – Scouts BSA age and older Archery – Lions (with adult partners) and older BB Gun Shooting – Tigers (with adult partners) and older Wrist Rockets – Lions (with adult partners) and older




I am a Scout. Can I stop by and shoot any time?


No. Only registered campers may use the ranges (archery, BB gun, wrist rocket, and tomahawk) at Oso Lake during their event, or camping stay. Unauthorized visitors are considered trespassers and will be ticketed by the OC Sheriff and escorted from the property for their own safety, and the safety of the kids in camp.




Can I borrow or rent archery and BB rifle gear?


All equipment needed on the ranges is provided for you within your program pricing. In fact you may not bring your own archery equipment, BB rifle gear or any other shooting sports gear.




Does Oso Lake have .22 rifle or shotgun facilities?


No. Due to our location, .22 rifles and shotguns are not permitted at Oso Lake.




I want to get better at shooting. Does Oso Lake offer open shooting times or classes?


At this time, we do not. As we are 100% volunteer run, we do not have the staff to offer open shooting or class time. You can visit the nearby Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center for shooting classes and facility rentals. Visit the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center website at www.outdooreducationcenter.org for more information.