By: Dave Helgeson
Places to Ride:
Calico OHV Area Near Barstow, CA
Ghost Town of Calico
Heading up Odessa Canyon
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: www.calicotown.com/ohv/images/topomap.jpg
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.
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
Odessa Canyon access is at: N34 56.383 W116
Mule Canyon access is at: N34 55.262 W116 50.930
Food, gas, lodging, and all other services are
available in nearby Barstow.
Watch out for Other Users
Rules and Regulations:
- PACK IN / PACK OUT. Littering of any kind
punishable by law.
- 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.
- 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.
- It is unlawful for any person who is under the
influence of alcohol or any drug to drive a
vehicle on or off-road.
- 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.
- Horses, hikers, and non-motorized vehicles have
the right-of-way over all motorized vehicles.
Jeeps have the right of way over ATVs and
- 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.
- ATVs must be equipped with an U.S. Forest
Service approved spark arrester and adequate
muffler, both in working order. (PRC 4442).
- You may not drive a motor vehicle in a manner
that endangers the safety of other persons or
- 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
For Additional Information:
Calico Ghost Town
P.O. Box 638
Yermo, CA 92398
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