An Impromptu Stop
It is only about 2 hours drive from Las Vegas to Calico Ghost Town. Our original destination is Fresno/Yosemite which will take 6 hours to arrive so we thought Calico Ghost town is just a good break hence we made an impromptu stop. Good thing about self driving is you can be flexible and stop at anywhere you wish to see.
Calico use to be an old western mining town that has been around since 1881 during the largest silver strike in California. But then silver lost its value in the mid 1890’s, the mines packed up and moved away abandoning the town that once gave them plenty of fortune. It became a ‘ghost town’.
After you turned out from the highway, you still to drive for another 10 minutes, then you will see the word written in white – “Calico” on top of the mountain. There is no other road so you will not go to the wrong way.
Calico ghost town is located at San Bernadino County, California, a few miles east of Barstow off I-15. Exit I-15 at Ghost Town Rd.
There is a board showing how the ghost town look like before you pay for your entrance fees. You will be expected to see houses or shops line up facing each other and built uphill.
There is an entrance fees, adult pay $8.00 and Youth (6-15) paid $5. Parking is free.
Parking lot is at the foot of the hill and walk up to Calico ghost town.
There are a few things to do in Calico Ghost Town such as Mystery Shack, a mind-bending spot where optical illusions make water look like it’s running uphill – this would be kids favorite! Or try Maggie Mine Tour – exploring a real silver mine tour underground.
Historical Landmark in California
Walter Knott purchased Calico from the Mining Company in 1951. Knott then restored many of the original buildings on the original sies to look as they did in the 1880’s. All were rustic weathered look that creates a picturesque little town. Knott was generous enough to donate the Calico to to San Bernardino County.
The town had a wide variety of businesses and shops, hotels, a jail, 22 saloons, a Chinatown, and a redlight district during it heyday.
Old Town Hall
Fire Hall & Fire Engine
Take a look at the notes pin the board and have a good laugh.
A lady dressed in time period costume walking in Ghost Town. Her pale skin does look like ‘ghost’.
Gold Panning Adventure
One of the activities you can do is gold panning and see how much you can pan.
Hyena House hotel
The wooden house built at the corner of the cliff is called Hyena House Hotel, also the first hotel built back then. See, there is a old carriage in front of Hyena House Hotel (old wooden house), that carriage is use to carry the VIP/guests up to stay in hotel.
Trail going up wasn’t too bad.
Climbing up to check out the whole ghost town.
View of Calico and the Mojave Desert below
The price list for the groceries.
Replica of Schoolhouse, 1880’s
Walk over the wooden bridge to reach the old school. This is one of the best spot for photo opportunity.
Calico Green Bottle House
Check out Calico’s Bottle House, built in 1950’s during Walter Knott restoration. Back then miners used whatever available to create a shelter when wood was not plentiful. They recycle beers/whiskey bottles, what a great idea. Back then, people already knew how to recycle & reuse. Now, it is a gift store, selling mostly thing related to dogs theme.
Calico and Odessa Railroad
Explore more of mine area with the small train, the train brings you up to the further part of the mining area, away from the town.
Chinese Bath Tub
Lunch at Ghost Town
Free peanuts were served at the table and peanuts skin were thrown at the floor. This is how they do it in Ghost Town 🙂
Ghost Town Fried Chicken & Beef Steak – super big portion.
Final thought :
If you are driving to Fresno from Las Vegas, or heading to Las Vegas or Death Valley, this is a great stop at Calico Ghost Town. Make a turn in and check out this historical old mine town. Children and adults can enjoy as there are many activities to do at Ghost Town. It is quite touristy but that is the fun part. You also get to learn about the people who lived there and the history of Calico. Life was tough back then and try think about the hardships and differences between our easy lives now and their day to day struggles just to survive in the harsh desert.
Summer can get extremely hot, so pick a colder season to visit!
Nearby Attractions :
- Grand Canyon West Rim – Skywalk
- Road Trip Grand Canyon West
- Las Vegas Strips
- Las Vegas China Town
- Las Vegas Mandalay Hotel Casino – Michael Jackson “One” show