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part ofMalheur National Forest, US Forest Service
Status: Open through Thu Dec 31 2015   Season Dates


Sunshine Guard Station is situated along John Day River in the Malheur National Forest at an elevation of 3,700 feet, about 43 miles northeast of John Day, Oregon. The former guard station was built in 1936 and until the 1990s was used alternatively as a bunkhouse or a work station for fireguards.

The guard station can be accessed by vehicle. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements and safety, and must bring several of their own amenities.

Natural Features:

The guard station has a view of the Middle Fork of the John Day River. The Vinegar Hill Forest/Indian Rock scenic area is nearby. The 25,000-acre area is a 10 mile ridgeline that comprises the summit of the Greenhorn Range in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. Outcrops of serpentine, rhyolite, basalt, granite and shale can be seen. Agates can also be found on some of the rocky slopes.

Wildlife includes elk and deer, songbirds and, in the river, steelhead and trout. Nearly every type of alpine wildflower found west of the Rockies can be blooming at different times in this area.

Magone Lake is about 20 miles west of the guard station.


Recreational options include fishing for steelhead and rainbow trout in the John Day River. Restrictions apply; visitors should refer to Oregon State regulations.

There are hiking trails and back roads to the north of the guard station that lead into the nearby Vinegar Hill Forest/ Indian Rock scenic area.

Wildlife viewing is popular, as is scenic driving.


This rustic four-room cabin sleeps up to six and has a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. The living room is furnished with a couch, two chairs, a coffee table and an end table. The larger bedroom is furnished with a queen-sized bed and a closet, while the smaller bedroom offers a queen-sized bed and a chair.

The kitchen is furnished with a table and four chairs, electric refrigerator and stove. Electric heat and lights are provided, and a vault toilet is located next to the cabin.

There is no drinking water in the cabin. Guests must bring their own water for drinking, cooking and washing.

Roads to the guard station are paved and maintained for summer and winter access.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Cooking Pots
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Area
  • Refrigerator
  • River Access
  • Stove
  • Table and Chairs
  • Vault Toilets
Less Than 1 Mile
  • Biking
  • Hiking
Within 10 Miles
  • Hunting
Know Before You Go
  • The cabin does not have drinking water; guests must bring their own water for drinking, cooking and washing
  • Guests must bring trash bags and pack out their own trash
  • Guests must clean the cabin before their departure
  • Guests must bring sleeping bags/bedding and pillows, as well as a flashlight or lantern for emergencies, first aid kit, washcloths and towels and dish soap
  • Entry to the cabin is by combination lock; the combination to the guard station will be in your confirmation letter
  • Please contact the Malheur National Forest Recreation department before arriving at the cabin rental to check on any restrictions or conditions, such as fire or road closures, weather or storms
  • Guests should be prepared for winter driving conditions during winter months
  • Most of this area is closed to snowmobiles, except on open road, to protect winter range for elk and deer
  • This is bear country; food should be stored properly; learn more about bear and other safety precautions
  • Learn more about the The Malheaur National Forest
  • Don't Move Firewood: Please protect Pacific Northwest forests by preventing the spread of invasive species. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that can threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference by obtaining and burning your firewood near your camping destination. Visit Dontmovefirewood.org for further information.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
44.66139, -118.70056
44°39'41"N, 118°42'2"W

From John Day, Oregon, travel east on Highway 26 approximately 28 miles to the junction of Highway 7. Turn left on Highway 7, travel one mile, and then take the first left onto County Road 20/Middle Fork Road. Travel 13 miles on County Road 20/Middle Fork Road then turn right into the facility grounds.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Prairie City Ranger District - 327 SW Front St., P.O. Box 337
Prairie City   OR  97869

Phone Number:

Information:  (541)820-3800
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Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration