Hosting Texas in the Frio Canyon since 1954

H. E. Butt Foundation Camp partners with over 220 qualifying schools and nonprofit groups each year to provide exceptional retreat facilities, free of charge, in the stunning Frio River Canyon.

The program especially targets youth in Texas who would not otherwise be able to afford this life-changing outdoor experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

1Where is H. E. Butt Foundation Camp located?
The H. E. Butt Foundation Camp is situated along the banks of the Frio River on the 1,900-acre H. E. Butt Foundation property deep in the Texas Hill Country, 13 miles north of Leakey on U.S. Highway 83. The camp is approximately 120 miles northwest of San Antonio and 60 miles west of Kerrville.
2Is it really free?
There is no fee for use of the facilities for qualified groups. Qualifying groups must provide their own programming, food service, insurance coverage, and staff for the supervision of their retreat activities.
3Do I qualify?
Our program is reserved for nonprofit organizations that serve the common good. Typically, we register varied types of church retreats, youth service organizations, schools, MHMR retreats, and other groups who are dedicated to serving people in the state of Texas. We are unable to reserve campsites for family reunions and/or individual cabin rentals.
4Is the H. E. Butt Foundation part of the H-E-B grocery company?
If you’re from Texas, you may have known us as “H-E-B Camps.” That’s a misnomer—while the Butts launched and have given generously to the foundation, H-E-B and H. E. Butt Foundation are separate organizations with distinct missions (H-E-B runs its own community initiatives). You can call us H. E. Butt Foundation, though most people refer to us by the name of the program they use the most.
5What do I need to complete before I arrive?
Good question! We built a special section of our site to help you out with the application process.
6How can campers be reached in case of an emergency?
Each campsite can be dialed directly. Echo Valley 830-232-3680 | Singing Hills 830-232-3690 | Linnet’s Wings 830-232-3730 | Windsong 830-232-3634 | Headwaters 830-232-3740
7Is it true that cell phones don’t work in the Canyon?
It’s true. And wonderful. Fortunately, we do not have the internet or cell phone reception in the Canyon, so cell phones will not work. As with all possessions that are brought to camp, there is always potential for accidents and theft. It is best to leave electronics at home.
8Will campers be able to swim in the river or use the kayaks and canoes?
Current Certified Lifeguards (18 years or older) are required for all waterfront activities. If your group brings a Certified Lifeguard and provides the paperwork to our registrar, we provide the life jackets, boats, paddles, and cliffs. Whooping and hollering optional.
9Do you really drive in the river?
Yes! You will have to drive in the river to reach your campsite (except Windsong). The road through the river has a solid rock bottom and is well marked; the water is only about four inches deep.
10What if the river floods?
Through experience, we know how much rain it takes to create a rise in the river. We also have a river monitoring system that notifies us if the river begins to rise at the headwaters (Blue Hole). If we experience a rise in the river, we shut off all traffic in the river, and the roads are chained closed. All of the campers (and cabins) are well above flood plains. We make sure the campers are kept out of the river at a safe distance.
11How long has H. E. Butt Foundation Camp been in operation?
In 1954, the H. E. Butt Foundation acquired 1,900 acres north of Leakey, Texas, to fulfill a long-cherished dream of Howard Butt, Sr., to provide a place where boys and girls, men and women could further their knowledge of God and his creation while enjoying the freedom of camp life that had so appealed to him during his youth. Mary Holdsworth Butt joined her husband in this dream. Along with subsequent generations of the Butt family, they progressively developed retreat facilities along the beautiful Frio River.
12May I bring my pets? May I bring my firearms?
Although we welcome registered service animals if they are needed to assist a guest during camp, please leave your pets and firearms at home.
13We have been to camp before. Can we come again?
Returning camp groups in good standing have priority on rebooking their date at the facility they used. What does it mean to be in good standing? Be respectful of other campers and their space, camp guidelines, and camp property. Turn in your paperwork on time, run a responsible camp, and leave the camp clean. Group leaders should contact the registrar soon after camp to rebook.

Meet our team.

H. E. Butt Foundation Camps