When we started planning our road trip through California, Arizona and Nevada, we knew we wanted to experience a classic ghost town with roots dating back to the days of the silver mines. We discovered Calico Ghost Town where you can walk the streets of the classic western boom town, ride the train, walk through the silver mine and of course pan for gold. Calico Ghost Town is an iconic part of the San Bernardino County Regional Parks and offers something for every western fan and explorer.
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Experience Calico Ghost Town
Our 11 year old son had three things on his western bucket list: saguaro cactus in the wild, tumbleweed and a western boom town. We were able to accomplish all three things on our 2,300 mile, 3 state, 13 day road trip. One of our favorite stops was Calico Ghost Town.
Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since 1881 during the largest silver strike in California. In the mid-1890’s, the mines in Calico dried up and all the miners packed up and abandoned the town turning the area into a “ghost town.”
In the mid 1950’s, the town of Calico was restored to look the way it did back in the boom town time. Calico is now part of the San Bernardino County Regional Parks system and people from all over the world come to experience the history and the beauty of the desert.
Fees & Ticket Information
- There is an entrance fee to the park (Adults $8.00; Youth (4-11) $5.00; Under 3 Free)
- There are four attractions: Maggie Mine, Gold Panning Adventure, Mystery Shack and the Calico Odessa Railroad. The attractions range from $3.00 to $4.50 each but there is a combo you can purchase that will save you money.
Calico Odessa Railroad
The Calico Odessa Railroad lasts approximately 10 minutes and takes you on a trip around the hill to see historical sites, mining equipment and hear history of the Calico Mining Town.
The Maggie Mine was a working silver mine in the 1880s and is the only mine open to the public. There is a 1000 foot self-guided tour that begins with a blacklight display that shows some of the minerals in the local rocks. You walk through the mine and see what is was like when the mine was producing silver ore.
The Mystery Shack experience was one of our favorite parts of Calico Ghost Town. You take a guided tour through the famous Calico Mystery Shack and experience amazing feats and confusing sights. This is a tilted shack where things don’t operate like you expect. Don’t be confused by the name mystery shack. This is not a scary experience. You will laugh and be amazed throughout the entire 15 minute tour.
- Have you ever seen water run uphill?
- How about a broom stand by itself?
- Hear the story of why Harry Dover build this shack.
Experience the fun and laughter that lasts for generations in the Mystery Shack!
The best part of our travels is meeting the people! Our tour guide was so much fun to meet! Even after the tour, we stood around and swapped more stories with him.
Panning for Gold
Of course you have to pan for gold when you go to an old mining camp, right? Learn and experience first hand how the miners of yesterday and today pan for gold in a stream.
Whatever Fool’s Gold or more technically known-Iron Pyrite you find, you get to keep! No one goes away empty handed.
Things to Know
- It is very hot at Calico Ghost Town. Make sure you take plenty of water to drink while you are exploring.
- There are several cafes and restaurants on site.
- Restrooms are available on site.
- Allow 2-4 hours to experience the four attractions. You could easily stay longer if you go through each of the little shops or stay for a meal.
- You could use a wheelchair or stroller on the main street but there are steps into each of the buildings and over to some of the attractions.
Find Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Road
Yermo, CA 92398
Lodging Options for your Visit
When you visit Yermo, you will need to think about lodging. We opted to stay in Bakersfield! Just two hours away from Calico Ghost Town, the SpringHill Suites is a great place to get some rest before you go explore!