Camp Cherry Valley

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Camp Cherry Valley
Camp Cherry Valley dining hall sign.jpg
Location Santa Catalina Island, California
Coordinates 33°27′01″N 118°30′11″W / 33.4503°N 118.503°W / 33.4503; -118.503 (Camp Cherry Valley)

Camp Cherry Valley is a summer camp on the leeward side of Catalina Island, California, which is owned and operated by the Greater Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. It is located two coves north of Two Harbors at Cherry Cove. The camp, valley and cove get their name from the Catalina cherry trees native to the island.[1] It also offers non-Scouting programs on a year-round basis.


Camp Cherry Valley has operated as a Boy Scout camp since the 1920s, but other groups use it as well. CIMI, the Catalina Island Marine Institute, runs a program from September through November, taking a winter break then recommencing February through May. The CIMI program caters to youth groups other than boy scouts. Being right on the Pacific ocean, the camp allows superb snorkling and scuba diving. During the summer the calm waters stay around seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Scouts sleep in two-person canvas tents set on wooden platforms located up the canyon under the cherry trees.

To reach the camp, Scouts take a two-hour chartered ferry across the channel, a 22-mile distance from San Pedro or Long Beach to Two Harbors and then hike 1.3 miles to the camp. The camp promotes itself to scouts with the Tribe of Torqua. The "Tribe" was instituted by Council Executive H. Benjamin "Skipper" Robinson as a special group of honor campers.[2]

Tribe of Torqua patch

As of 2013, five main hikes were available for Scouts:


There is a small silver mine[3] located in the cove left from the time the western part of Catalina Island was full of such mines. The mine was shut down by orders from Abraham Lincoln, after he had got rumors the Confederate army may attack California to acquire gold and silver to fund their war efforts.[4] In 1864 Union Troops were put on the island to stop mining.[5]

The San Gabriel Valley Council (former Pasadena Council) opened and operated the camp starting in 1923. Throughout the 1920s-1930s, Scouts would travel via train from Pasadena to San Pedro, then take The Great White Steamer (SS Catalina) to Avalon. After arriving in Avalon, they would then travel up to Cherry Cove on the Betty-O, a Wrigley tour boat, now a Marina del Rey fishing boat.[6]

When Cherry Valley opened in 1923, it was very primitive that first year. There was no pier, so campers had to wade ashore or be shuttled from the Betty-O via rowboats. Scouts ate at an "open air" Dining Hall and were plagued by yellow jackets. In 1947 scout traveled directly from San Pedro to Cherry Cove on the H-10 water taxi. They would continue to travel via water taxi until 1973.[7]

The original 1937 lighthouse was blown down in a storm in 1998. It was rebuilt in 2003 and christened "Thompson's Light" in honor of Dr. Henry Thompson

The 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty used the Cherry Cove as part of its filming.[4][8][9]