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By: Dave Helgeson

Places to Ride: Calico OHV Area Near Barstow, CA

Ghost Town of Calico
Ghost Town of Calico

Heading up Odessa Canyon
Heading up Odessa Canyon

Stay on the Trails
Stay on the Trails

Bring the wife, kids, ghosts, and goblins; there is something for everyone at Calico!

Regional Parks of San Bernardino in conjunction with the Bureau of Land management bring together a unique opportunity for ATV riders. An historic ghost town is surrounded by some of the most scenic riding you will find anywhere; combine to make an enjoyable time for every member of the family.

A brief history on the town of Calico:

Calico, developed in 1881, was one of the largest silver strikes in California. Located on the lower slopes of King Mountain, the town was named for the assortment of colors in the mountain that were "as purty as a gal's calico skirt." Calico glory years were from 1881-1896, but the silver rush ended in 1896 and by 1904 Calico had become a ghost town. Today the historic silver mining town survives as one of the few original Old West mining camps. Special events are held throughout the year and Ghost Haunt around Halloween is the one time of year where Calico Ghost Town actually becomes a ghost town. This is a great time of year to ride, plus the kids can put on their costumes and trick or treat, too!  More information on special events can be found at

Riding: If you or your spouse enjoys scenic riding areas, then Calico is the place to ride. The colors that gave the town its name continue in the surrounding hillside and canyons. You will be riding through reds and oranges with the colors changing as you negotiate each corner through the canyons. Be sure to ride Odessa Canyon where the road is only wide enough for one full-size vehicle, and the canyon walls go straight up. There are also old haulage tunnels along the route that off-roaders have utilized as through routes. There are multiple loop opportunities, from an hour or two to all day; so pack a lunch and enjoy. The area is open to off-roaders of every type, so be prepared to encounter SUVs, UTVs, dirt bikes, and more. I encountered a father and son riding ATVs with mom bringing up the rear in the family Suburban! When you grow tired of riding, be sure to check out the Calico Ghost Town. A small admission is payable to Regional Parks to enter the ghost town. The riding area is free.

A map can be found at:

An additional map (showing a few more trails than the online version) is available at the pay station to the ghost town.


Dispersed camping at the trailheads and along the trail or a developed campground with utilities is available at the Calico Ghost Town.

Getting There:

Calico is located about 10 miles northeast of Barstow off Interstate 15. Exit via Ghost Town Road or Calico Road and head north to the staging areas.
Odessa Canyon access is at: N34 56.383 W116 51.528
Mule Canyon access is at: N34 55.262 W116 50.930


Food, gas, lodging, and all other services are available in nearby Barstow.

Colorful Scenery

The Narrows
The Narrows

Watch out for Other Users
Watch out for Other Users

Rules and Regulations:

  1. PACK IN / PACK OUT. Littering of any kind punishable by law.
  2. Please use common sense when shooting. Shooting is not allowed in Calico Regional Park or Odessa Canyon (1st large canyon east of Calico Ghost Town campground). Shooting is allowed in all other parts of the Calico Mountains. It is illegal to shoot across any road or trail or from any vehicle. Shooting at glass or other breakable items that will cause litter is illegal. You must shoot into a solid soft background. Please remove all targets and shooting debris when finished.
  3. OHV riding is allowed but restricted to existing open roads only in the Calico Mountains. Hill climbs, riding in the mud hill areas, and across open desert not on a road is illegal. Green or Red Stickers are required on all Off-Highway Vehicles (38010 CVC). Green stickers are valid year around. Red stickers are limited to ride only October through June. You must wear a helmet at all times (38505 CVC). No operator of an all-terrain vehicle shall carry a passenger while operating on public lands (38506 CVC). Maximum speed is 35mph on open roads. Maximum speed limit is 15 mph in or near any campground unless otherwise posted.
  4. It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or any drug to drive a vehicle on or off-road.
  5. No mine is stable or safe. Exploring mines is not recommended and may put you and others into a dangerous and life-threatening position. Many vertical shafts exist that you may fall into. Some mines are on private property and exploring these mines is trespassing.
  6. Horses, hikers, and non-motorized vehicles have the right-of-way over all motorized vehicles. Jeeps have the right of way over ATVs and motorcycles.
  7. All campfires must be built inside a campfire ring. Please keep all campfires to a reasonable size. There is no burning of objects that creates toxic fumes.
  8. ATVs must be equipped with an U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrester and adequate muffler, both in working order. (PRC 4442).
  9. You may not drive a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the safety of other persons or their property.
  10. Lights:  Any vehicle operated between sunset and sunrise must display at least one headlight that enables an operator to see clearly 200 feet ahead and one red taillight visible for 200 feet.

For Additional Information:

Calico Ghost Town
P.O. Box 638
Yermo, CA 92398
Fax: 1-760-254-2047

Bureau of Land Management
Barstow Field Office
2601 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311
Phone: (760) 252-6000
Fax: (760) 252-6098
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F

Be safe, enjoy, and I hope to see you on the trails.

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