This weekend we wanted to do something different and adventurist, so we decided to take a day trip to Calico Ghost Town located in the Calico Mountains of the Mojave Desert region of Southern California.
If you have never been there, I highly recommend a family day trip to this adorable historical town. You and your kids will be amazed by the scenery, the old structures, and the mining sites.
Calico Ghost Town was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, and today has been converted into a county park. At its peak, Calico was at the heart of an impressive 500 mines, extracting more than $20 million of silver ore over a 12-year period.
When silver lost its value in the mid-1890's, Calico lost its population. The miners packed up, loaded their mules and moved away abandoning the town, so it became a "ghost town." Now, Calico Ghost Town is California’s only famous abandoned Wild West settlement.
The fee to get in is $8 for adults, and $5 for kids (3+), and the parking is free. After you park your car and walk in to the town, take an 8 minute train ride in an adorable super old train similar to those used in early mining, which will take you around the mining sites. Then take a walk through the town and take it all in. There are still four to five original buildings that are still standing, and the rest of the town has been rebuilt, which replicate the old structures.
Be sure to explore Maggie Mine, which is an authentic silver mine from the 1880's, with mining exhibits and historical displays. The Mine is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Next, take the kids for a gold panning experience just how the miners did it. Another interesting thing to do is the Mystery Shack Tour. You will be amazed and confused at the same time in the house of optical illusions.
Lucy Lane Museum is also very interesting to see. You will find Artifacts, photographs and documents from Calico’s origin at Lucy Lane Museum. Another fun thing to do is taking an old western family photo at Calico Photo Studio. You will get a 8x10 print for $30 for two people, plus $5 for each additional family members, or two 5x7 photos.
Photo Courtesy of Calico Photo Studio
Calico Ghost Town also offers private and group Ghost Tours every Saturday night, when you can experience the truest accounts of Calico's history and paranormal activity. For information and reservations for the tours, please call 760-254-371.
If you can't get enough of this beautiful old town, take an Extreme Calico Mine Tour, which is a 3-4 hour educational and historical hands-on tour. At this tour, you get to experience the Calico mines as early settlers did.
Another interesting tour is 20 Mule Team Off-Road Adventure. This Extreme Calico Tour will put you on the same road as the famous 20 Mule Team Borax Wagon Train did. You will depart from Calico Ghost Town on a 2 1/2 hour journey back in time. This historical and education off-road tour will take you to the famous town of Borate, a stop at Tin Can Alley, a visit to the Bismark and Odessa mining district and finally a rough journey down the famous Phillips Loop.
There are several shops at the Calico Ghost town with unique gifts and flavors of the west. Calico Ghost Town also offers three restaurants. Calico House is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Old Miner’s Café at the top of the town serves hamburgers, a variety of sandwiches, salads, hotdogs, and more. At Lil’s Saloon, which has swinging doors just like the ones you see in the old western movies, you can order hot dogs, pizza, or variety of snack foods, including Seattle's Best Coffee.
You can also do camping at Calico, rent a cabin, and even celebrate special events. Calico Ghost town is located at 36600 Ghost Town Road in Yermo, California, and is approximately 1 1/2 hour drive from Los Angeles. For more information about Calico Ghost Town, please visit their official website.
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