This article is about Colton, a city in San Bernardino County in Southern California. There is also a village called Colton in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, situated about midway between York and Leeds.
Colton was founded in 1875, and is probably best remembered for a confrontation, the "battle of the crossing", which took place on September 13, 1883 at the intersection of two rival railroads in the city. Virgil Earp, brother of the famed lawman Wyatt, took part as a security guard hired by one of the railroad companies.
Colton today is a typical mid-sized Inland Empire city. It was effectively divided into two by the construction of the I-10 freeway in the late 1950s, with the main part of the city, including the downtown area, being to the north of the freeway, bordering San Bernardino to the east and Rialto to the west. South of the 10 is an area nicknamed "CoLo" by the locals, in reference to its proximity to Loma Linda, which is mainly residential apart from a few businesses and a couple of strip malls along Washington Street and Mount Vernon Avenue.
The local economy is dominated the Arrowhead medical center and the Ashley furniture factory and distribution center, with most other jobs being in local government (including the school district). Colton is not an obvious tourist destination, and it is likely that most visitors to the city will be doing so either on business or to visit family. Nevertheless, the immediately vicinity does offer some interesting leisure opportunities for the traveler who is prepared to seek them out.
The nearest and most convenient airport for Colton is Ontario (IATA:ONT). Delta, American, United and Alaska/Horizon offer services from the full range of US and international destinations via their hubs. Colton is about a 20-minute drive along the I-10 freeway from ONT. The airports at Palm Springs (IATA:PSP) and Orange County (IATA:SNA) are also within an hour's drive of Colton. Los Angeles International (IATA:LAX) is about 90 minutes' drive in the middle of the day, but the notorious traffic congestion in the LA metro means that the journey can often take a lot longer at peak times.
Interstate 10 and Interstate 215 intersect at Colton. The journey east from Los Angeles on the 10 takes about 70-80 minutes in the absence of heavy traffic. State Routes 60 and 210 can be used as an alternative if the 10 is heavily congested (which it frequently is). Greyhound buses serve neighboring San Bernardino.
San Bernardino, immediately to the north of Colton, is served by a combined Metrolink/Amtrak station. Metrolink trains to and from Los Angeles (Union Station) run hourly throughout most of the day, and there is also a more limited service to Riverside and Orange County. Most addresses in Colton are a 10-15 minute taxi ride from San Bernardino station. Do not leave your car parked in the Metrolink station's lot: several are stolen from it every day.
The most efficient way to get around Colton and the surrounding area is by car. For visitors arriving by air, bus or rail, the major rental chains have branches at all the nearby airports (see above), and in San Bernardino. There is a limited bus service operated by Omnitrans within Colton and the surrounding cities. The San Bernardino Express (sbX) bus links Colton with the CalState San Bernardino campus, downtown San Bernardino and Loma Linda. Colton is served by numerous taxi operators, many of them based in San Bernardino.
Note that the speed limit on most of Colton's streets is 40mph, whereas in most of the bordering cities, it's 45mph. In recent months the Colton Police have acquired a reputation for lying in wait, especially on Washington Street and the Colton end of Redlands Boulevard, and pulling over unsuspecting drivers for speeding as they cross the city line. Keep a close lookout for speed limit signs as you enter Colton from Loma Linda, San Bernardino and Grand Terrace.
Another of the Earp brothers, Morgan, whose assassination in Tombstone was avenged in Wyatt's "vendetta ride", is buried in Colton's Hermosa Cemetery.
The Colton area is conveniently located for shopping and attractions. The Ontario Mills, Inland Center, Citrus Plaza and Moreno Valley malls are all close to Colton. Attractions such as the California Speedway, California Theater of Performing Arts and Historic Route 66 also surround the city.
There are a number of restaurants located in the strip mall at 1091 Mount Vernon Avenue. Ravi's India Cuisine is a highlight and a local institution. The sambar soup is a must try!
The 10 freeway marks a significant dividing line, with the "CoLo" part of Colton to the south being relatively safe, but the downtown area to the north has above average rates of home invasions, street and vehicle crimes (much of it gang activity spilling over from neighboring San Bernardino, which has one of the highest crime rates in the country). The theft of older, less secure vehicles, which thieves target because they are easier to steal and have a high black market value for spare parts, is a serious problem in this part of town. If you are visiting Colton in a vehicle that is more than around five years old and/or does not have a good security system fitted, it is not a good idea to leave it parked on the roadside or in an unattended lot.
The San Bernardino Mountains offer some picturesque driving and sightseeing. Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake are both about a 60-75 minute drive from Colton. Palm Springs is about an hour away, San Diego two hours and Las Vegas four.