Mataguay Scout Camp

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Mataguay Scout Ranch (AKA: Camp Mataguay) is the premier wilderness summer scout camp of the San Diego-Imperial Council. It is located in the backcountry near Lake Henshaw in the Northeast corner of San Diego County, California.


Scouts prepare to sail their handmade craft across the lake for the Great Dragon Boat Race

A 1000 acre property of thick oak and pine forests, at 3,200 feet above sea level in the mountains is a great destination for your SUMMER CAMP and for year round camping.

Camping programs are open to all Scouting units and other non-Scout organizations. This includes Packs, Dens, Troops, Teams, Crews, church groups, clubs, and associations. Many of the camp's facilities are available for your unit's program. These include lodges, cabins, and administration buildings that you can use for unit training, center of operations, or just as a getaway spot. All campsites at Mataguay have KYBO's (latrines), running water, and campfire rings. There are also several large campfire rings on the reservation if you wish to put on a large program in the evening.

Summer Camp

Mataguay has one of the most exciting summer camp programs available at any camp in the BSA! Mataguay has an extensive equestrian program which includes the horsemanship merit badge and trail rides. Other summer program features include real glider flights, geocaching, mountain boarding, COPE and extensive instruction in over 40 merit badges.

Each summer this camp hosts 5-6 week long staff-run scout camps featuring over 40+ amazing merit badge programs. Some scout troops come from far away to the Aviation Merit Badge here at the only BSA Camp anywhere that features real glider flights. Other merit badge programs include the shooting ranges, aquatics, nature centers, crafts centers and more.

Year Round Camp


Besides camping, hiking, and general outdoor fun, there are countless things to do at Mataguay during the year. Programs which are available include archery, swimming at the pool, boating at the lake, .22 rifle, black powder (muzzle loading) rifle, shot gun, and BB gun shooting. For older Scouts COPE and Climbing/Rappelling are available. These programs can be tailored to meet your unit's goals from pleasure use to merit badge, advancement, and other special camp programs. Units can provide their own lifeguards and range masters, or these can be arranged through the Ranch Director.

There are also several annual programs including "Fun with Family" and Memorial Day family camping. Weekend campers can also work toward special Mataguay awards: NRA qualifications, Hiker's Award, and MSR Naturalist.

  • Palomar Mountain - The world famous astronomical observatory located atop Palomar Mountain is a short 15-minute drive from Camp Mataguay. It is usually open for day tours and is a fun way to earn the Astronomy Merit Badge.

Annual Camping Events

Equestrian Trail Ride Program

Mataguay has an extensive equestrian program which includes the Horsemanship Merit Badge and trail rides.

Glider Rides

Camp Mataguay features real glider rides thru it's partner SkySailing at nearby Warner Springs Glider Port.

Backpacking Trails

There are two major backpacking routes that camp overnight at Mataguay, plus many other smaller dayhike trails.

On the grounds of the ranch itself, there are numerous hiking trails and areas to be explored. For those who are looking for more challenging trails, there is the Mataguay Pacific Crest Connector Trail, or a seven mile trail into camp from Barrel Springs.

For more info about these and other local backpacktrails, contact the MSR campmaster.

  1. Mataguay Pacific Crest Connector Trail - Mataguay is located close to California famous Pacific Crest Trail which crosses Highway 79 just a short distance from camp.
  2. Barrel Springs Trail - a popular scouting trail is this seven mile route from Barrel Springs.
Scouts may earn from SDIC this patch by hiking a portion of the trail and completing other related requirements.
  1. Mormon Battalion Trail is one of the Historic Trails of America. The Mormon Battalion, the only religion-based unit in United States military history, served from July 1846 – July 1847 during the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848. This volunteer unit of about 550 Latter-day Saint men was commanded by regular U.S. Army officers. During its service, the battalion made a grueling march of nearly 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego, California. The historic Box Canyon portion of this trail is only twenty miles from Camp Mataguay, along highway S-2.

Other Courses

  • Cope Course - for older scouts
  • NYLT Course - National Youth Leadership Training is BSA's premier youth leadership program. This week long summer course is a demanding curriculum led by youth under adult supervision.


For over 60 years Scouts from San Diego, the southwest, and even across the globe, have come to camp at Mataguay. The beautiful setting, the exciting and unique activities, and our great staff have inspired many Scouts and Scouters.

The Mataguay Valley was originally inhabited by the pre-historic natives known as the Cupeno Indians. They lived a normal tribal life centered around the village at Kupa, now known as Warner Springs.

In 1795 Father Juan Mariner and Spanish Captain Grijalva discovered and settled in the valley. The valley was named “Valle De San Jose” and Kupa became “Agua Caliente Mataguay” (Mataguay come from the Indian words “Amat Awhai” which means “White Earth.” It was in 1836, two years after the missions were secularized and land grants were being given that the entire valley was given to Silvestre De La Portilla. Subsequent grants were given to Jose Antonio Pico, in 1844, and Juan Jose Warner, in 1845 for the same area.

  • June 1958 - The first boy scout summer camp was held here at Mataguay
  • July 2013 - Zions Camp where over 1400 LDS Scouters gather for a week-long scouting jamboree at Mataguay to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the scouting program in the LDS Church. Scouts participated in a number of service projects, competitions, sailing on Lake Henshaw, numerous high adventure venues and a very large number of merit badge programs

Mataguay Forester

These trees and plants are fairly common throughout the camp. It can be usefull to identify plants found on Mataguay Scout Camp. For example to help WEBELOS with their Forester achievement.



Poison Oak

Can be found closest to the stream areas, usually near oak trees.

  • shiny leaves
  • rounded edges
  • different colors
  • three parts

SDIC Council


This district is part of The San Diego-Imperial Council, headquartered in San Diego, California, and serves youth members and volunteer leaders through Scout units in San Diego and Imperial counties of Southern California, as well as a small portion of Southwest Arizona. It is a local council (#049) of the Boy Scouts of America. All youth are invited to join scouting.