Colton Guard Station

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Photo of Colton Guard Station.

The Colton Guard Station is located in the Colton Hollow area, approximately 5 miles west of U.S. Highway 191. It is near Vernal, Utah, in the Ashley National Forest. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the complex in 1933 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal instituted during the Great Depression. It was a residence for rangers who patrolled the forest on horseback prior to the age of modern vehicles. 

The Ashley National Forest Vernal Ranger District has chosen to rent this guard station to the public so that guests can enjoy a rustic experience similar to that of the first rangers. Colton Guard Station is open for reservations all months of the year, except November, April and May. 

The cabin can be accessed by vehicle throughout warmer months and during the winter, access is by snowmobile, cross-country ski or snowshoe travel. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.

Natural Features:
The complex sits in Colton Hollow, at an elevation of 8,500 feet. Aspens and pines surround the site, offering nice shade. Wildlife and summer wildflowers are abundant in the area.

In summer months, numerous hiking, biking, horseback riding and off-road vehicle trails crisscross the area. In winter months, endless snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities are right out the front door. Other activities in the area include birding and wildlife viewing.

A cabin and bunkhouse are located within the complex. The cabin can sleep four people on one twin-size bunk and one double-size futon. No linens, bedding or pillows are provided. The bunkhouse behind the cabin can sleep up to eight additional people, on several provided twin mattresses. Tent camping is allowed outside. The maximum capacity for overnight guests is 12 people. 

From mid-June to mid-September, the cabin has running water and a flush toilet. The kitchen has basic amenities including a sink, propane stove/oven, refrigerator, table and four chairs. A basic assortment of pots, pans, dishes and utensils is provided, but guests are encouraged to bring their own supplies. The cabin has a wood-burning stove for heat. A campfire ring with grill is located outside. Solar lights are provided, however, due to varying weather conditions, they are not reliable. Please be prepared with battery powered lanterns or flashlights. 

From mid-September to mid-June, most amenities are shut off. There is no water and no indoor toilet. The refrigerator is also turned off during that time. The operable amenities include the propane cook stove, wood-burning stove and outdoor vault toilet.

Nearby Attractions:
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is known not only for its beautiful red cliffs, but also for its world-class fishing for lake, brown and rainbow trout. Boating, water skiing, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and scuba diving are popular activities on the reservoir, which can be accessed within 30 miles.

Activities and Amenities Within Facility 

  • Parking Area
  • Propane
  • RV Parking

Location Map

At a Glance

Reservations: Reservations can be made up to 120 days in advance. This site can be reserved by calling Toll Free 1-877-444-6777 (International 518-885-3639 or TDD 877-833-6777)
Area Amenities: Toilets,Drinking water
Fees $60/group size of 4 people.
Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Vernal, Utah
Water: Potable Water
Restroom: Flushable Toilet, Non-flushable (vault) Toilet
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:
  • The cabin is secured with a combination lock, which is provided upon reservation; call the District Office at (435) 789-1181 three days prior to your reservation to confirm the code 
  • Level parking is provided for a maximum of two RVs or camp trailers 
  • Wheeled vehicle traffic is allowed access to Colton Guard Station from approximately May 16 to December 19; snowmobile, cross-country ski or snowshoe travel is required from approximately December 20 to May 15 
  • Off-road vehicles are allowed only on authorized roads, trails and routes as identified on the Ashley National Forest Vernal Ranger District Travel Map.
  • Don't Move Firewood: Help prevent the spread of tree-killing pests in our national forests by obtaining firewood near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit

General Information


Follow the mileage indications below and look for signs when traveling to Colton Guard Station. Leave with plenty of time to arrive at the guard station before dark.

From Vernal, travel north on U.S. Highway 191/Vernal Avenue for approximately 20 miles. Turn left (west) on Forest Road 020. A paved parking lot with a restroom is located at the intersection. Continue northwest on the paved Forest Road 020 for approximately two miles. Turn left (southwest) at Forest Road 019 and continue for less than a mile, reaching an intersection (Forest roads 028 and 019). Turn left, continuing south on Forest Road 019. Continue approximately 1.75 miles, where the road turns sharply to the right (west). Follow the hairpin turn down into a ravine to Colton Guard Station.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Camping & Cabins

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RV Camping

Cabin Rentals

The cabin can sleep four people on one twin-sized bunk bed and one double-sized futon. No linens, bedding, or pillows are provided. A bunkhouse behind the cabin can sleep additional people on several provided twin mattresses. There is ample room for tent camping outside. During the summer the cabin has running water, a flush toilet, and a shower. The kitchen has basic amenities including a sink, propane stove/oven, refrigerator, table, and four chairs. A basic assortment of pots, pans, dishes, and utensils is provided, but bringing your own supplies is encouraged. The cabin has a wood-burning stove for heating. There is a fire ring with grill located outside. Most amenities are shut off during the winter.


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Nature Viewing

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Winter Sports

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Drinking water
Toilets Flushable and non-flushable (vault) toilets.
Areas & Activities

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