Somewhere in between Los Angeles and Las Vegas on our Great American Road Trip, my dad pointed out a sign for an attraction called Calico Ghost Town. “It’s an old mining town on the side of a hill. Your mom and I went there thirty years ago,” he said. It sounded cool, so we pulled off at the exit and headed towards the hills.
When I heard “ghost town” I expected something more…abandoned. Instead, it turns out that Calico Ghost Town is a lively family attraction owned by Knott’s Berry Farm. The place was popping, despite temperatures in the upper 90’s.
Calico Ghost Town was also very much alive in the late 1800’s, when it was the site of a thriving silver mining industry. In 1890, 3,500 people made Calico their home. However, after the Silver Purchase Act, the price of silver dropped and the mines were abandoned. By 1900, Calico was a ghost town. In 1951, Walter Knott bought the town and restored many of its remaining buildings. Now Calico Ghost Town is a roadside attraction with food, mine tours, and reenactments.
The drive into Calico Ghost Town, where apparently the Gorillaz video for “Stylo” was filmed.
“CALICO” written on the hill above the ghost town.
This bottle house was pretty cool.
A small train ride in Calico Ghost Town.
Because of the lack of available lumber, some dwellings in Calico were built into the side of the hills.
I never realized that term “Gloryhole” originally came from mining…
A view of Calico Ghost Town from the lookout.
If you don’t like animatronic cowboys and mannequin miners, Calico Ghost Town probably isn’t for you!
This creepy mannequin is sleeping with one eye open, presumably to keep an eye on his silver.
Calico Ghost Town is a cool pitstop. I mean, I wouldn’t have driven from LA just to go there. However, if you’re already driving between LA and Las Vegas, it’s worth checking out.
Visiting Calico Ghost Town
- Calico Ghost Town is located in San Bernardino County off of Interstate 15, 3 miles away from Barstow and Yermo. It’s a 2-3 hour drive from Los Angeles and 2 hours from Las Vegas.
- Cost of admission is $10 for adults. Parking is at the base of the hill. A shuttle is available to take patrons up to the town.
- Calico Ghost Town is located in the Mojave Desert. It’s hot and dry, to dress accordingly.
- Wear sneakers or hiking shoes. In order to see all of the park, you’ll need to climb the dirt paths among the hills.
- Parts of the park are inaccessible to those with mobility issues (or people who only packed boat shoes, like my dad).
- More information about Calico Ghost Town can be found on their website.
Have you ever been to a ghost town? Let me know in the comments!
Also, be a pal and pin this image below!