Patterson Guard Station

Modoc National Forest

*Altitude is 7,080 feet above sea level* 

Set on the edge of a meadow surrounded by Aspen, Fir and Pine trees, Patterson Guard Station has stood since 1921. It served the Modoc National Forest as a fully staffed fire office and guard station until 1981.  

Just a few footsteps from the Summit Trail and one-quarter mile from the wilderness boundary, Patterson Guard Station can be your basecamp for trips into the South Warner Wilderness or the perfect place to disconnect and relax. The cabin only has one set of bunkbeds (two mattresses). There is a large turn-around parking area directly adjacent to the cabin which can accommodate camper trailers, smaller RVs and gooseneck horse trailers. No hook-ups. If your party exceeds 8 persons, the adjacent Patterson Campground offers 6 developed campsites for $15/night. 

Click here to view the full reservation calander and additional details not included on this page.

Patterson Guard Station was restored in 2022 thanks to funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The guard station is currently equiped with one bunk bed (two matresses). There will also be two chairs that each convert to a single bed. Pots and pans will be provided. Pets are allowed. The guard station features a new refrigerator and oven/range fueled by propane (provided). New floors and a wood-burning stove (firewood provided) make this facility almost as cozy as your own home. Potable water is not available on-site. Non-potable water may be available but visitors should bring all the water needed for drinking and washing. An outhouse stands roughly 100 feet from the front door, across the driveway. Entering this facility requires walking up at least two stairs to enter the back door, three stairs up to the front porch and door. As your reservation approaches, you will be instructed on how to obtain codes/keys to the entry gate and guard station doors.


Check-in is 2pm and check-out is 11am. Maximum occupancy is listed at eight (8) but when it comes to sleeping arrangments, the guard station will only accomdate four (4) persons. 

Need to Know

Natural Features

The Warner Mountains form a prominent Northwestern boundary of the basin and range geologic province that envelops the entire state of Nevada. This range was once a sedimentary basin between volcanoes of the ancestral Cascade Range until the Warners went through their own phases of active volcanism between ~28 million years ago until as recently as 2 to 3 million years ago. Dramatic uplift on the eastern side of this range provides breathtaking views, best seen from Surprise Valley, east of the Warners. 

South-facing slopes in the Warner Mountains are often dry and host Lodgepole and Ponderosa Pine, Juniper trees and Sagebrush. North facing slopes are wetter and host Fir trees. Aspen trees are found along streams and boggy areas beside Corn Lillies that can grow up to 5 feet tall before drying up by mid-summer.  

Nearby Attractions


Hiking & Horseback Riding

The nearby trails within the South Warner Wilderness offer wild landscapes and solitude for hikers and horseback riders. The Wilderness Act of 1964 prohibits the use of motorized and/or mechanized equipment within the Wilderness area (limited exceptions are provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act). South Warner WIlderness maps are advised and always available at the Modoc National Forest Supervisor's Office in Alturas, Calif. Maps may also be available at the Likely General Store in Likely, Calif. 

Off-Highway Vehicles

Many of the roads near Patterson Guard Station, outside of the wilderness area, are open to Off-Highway Vehicles. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available online and at the Modoc National Forest Supervisor's Office in Alturas, Calif. 


Blue Lake, 9 miles west, features a boat ramp and dock for motorized and non-motorized watercraft. Help keep this lake clean by following the California Invasive Species Prevention Program Please respect the 10 mph speed limit on the lake. If speed-boating is your thing, consider launching your boat at West Valley Reservoir instead.  

Contact Information


Patterson Guard Station 225 W 8th St. Alturas CA 96101

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 530-233-5811

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

From Alturas, California, travel South on U.S. Highway 395 for 18 miles to the town of Likely and Turn left (East) onto County Rd 64. Continue for 9 miles toward Jess Valley and stay right at the fork toward Blue Lake (Blue Lake Road), this road is not maintained for winter travel. The pavement ends in approximately 6.5 miles, and the road becomes Forest Road 39N01 (South Warner Road). Continue 7.5 miles and turn left (North) at the sign for Patterson Campground (Forest Road 39N28), stay left to reach Patterson Guard Station.

Available Campsites

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