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
OMW how awesome is that Calico’s Bottle House. I would love to try build something like that. The whole town looks amazing too. So worth a stop over
The bottle house looks interesting and it was built with bottles only as there was no other material in the desert beside empty bottles back in the olden days. Now, it is a gift shop, selling pets/dog related things.
Calico Ghost Town sounds like a cool trip for cheap. The views are so nice! I really like the building made from glass bottles. I can’t believe all the food you get!
There is a western restaurant at Ghost town which serve good food with reasonable price. The waitress are wearing old western period costume, pretty friendly too. Their peanut which is free flow served at the table, tasted wonderful too! One thing I was surprised was you throw the peanuts shells or skin at the floor. Pretty cool!
How amazing to visit a real ghost Town! We don’t have this kind of thing neither in my home country nor in my current country of residence! It looks fascinating!
It was a cool visit for me and also the first time to visit a ghost town. Quite fascinated at the view and the old western town built due to silver rush. Pretty awesome as it was still well maintained after so many years.
What an interesting place to visit! It reminds me of a Wild Wild West movie, where you would expect cowboys to jump off their horses and provoke each other to a duel. I’d love to visit Calico!
It is really look like Wild Wild West Movie and few guys dressed in cowboy with ‘gun'(fake) walking around in the ghost town, they are the staff for gold mine tour.
Oh wow this looks amazing! I love how cute everything looks like the school house. I would love to wander through this ghost town. I bet it would be quite creepy att night!
Ghost town operate from 9 am to 5 pm. If it does open at night, I am sure it is so creepy. The old school house is the replica, is one of the most photogenic spot in Ghost town.
Oh a ghost town?! Wow must be amazing to see this, it definitely looks eerie.
What an amazing resource. Will save it for future reference.
I absolutely loved that Calico’s Bottle House! It looks quite splendid! I’d love to visit this Ghost town! Is there food available too?
Yes there are few eating place in Ghost town. One of the restaurant I went into serving western food, friendly staffs dressed in old western costume. We ordered the signature fried chicken with fries and beef steak. Good old western vibe in the restaurant and nice deco too.
We did this drive last year but seemed to have missed Calico Ghost town. Pity, it sounds really interesting.
I enjoy seeing your photos. It seem like you really had an amazing trip there in Calico Ghost Town. Even years pass by it still well-maintained. and that is really amazing!!
Now this is my idea of a good time. I’d love to check this place out
It is so amazing to visit a real ghost Town. Calico’s Bottle House looks awesome. I am loving all the pictures, the place is so scenic as well as lonely, giving those ghostly vibes 🙂 Would love to visit it.
This definitely looks like a fun little town to explore! I find old towns like this extremely fascinating!
Wow, this looks like a filming set. I wonder if it will be scary at night as is is being called a Ghost Town. Definitely a nice and insta-worthy location!