And just when you think the surroundings of Vegas have surprised you enough, you discover an incredible historical destination, full of mysteries and sinister legends about the Old West. Interested? Then you need to visit the ghost town, Calico Ghost Town, located two and a half hours from the center of the Strip in California.
For those who like to learn about the history of curious places, this destination will please you very much! Recommended for the whole family, this authentic silver mining town is part of San Bernardino County, a system of Regional Parks visited by people from all over the world.
Boasting impeccable natural beauty in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Calico keeps alive the history of the region, which in the past, in 1881, was normally inhabited after the start of silver mining in the town.
The place, which had various shops, hotels, a post office, a bank, a butcher, bars and restaurants, even had its own jail. Until 1885, Calico had a population of 1,200 inhabitants, but it wasn’t until the silver trade declined in 1896 that the town’s economy was wiped out at meteoric speed, causing people to migrate to more profitable cities, leaving the town in the lurch.
It was only after being bought by Walter Knott in 1950 that the village was donated to San Bernardino in 1966. It became a State Park in 2005 by the governor of California at the time, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the Ghost Town of the Silver Rush.
Visiting the place is synonymous with lots of fun and plenty of leisure options. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with the exception of Christmas), you can count on restaurants, camping space (if you want to extend the experience), outdoor activities and divine little shops to buy souvenirs.
It’s worth mentioning that the place has been restored and always tries to provide adequate facilities for all tourists, so not all the buildings you’ll pass by are original, many of them (in fact most of them) are replicas, very well done by the way. Take note of the five originals: Lil’s Sallon, Town Office, Lucy Lane House, Smitty’s Gallery and Joe’s Saloon.
Okay, let’s move on to the practical part: the main activities on offer. Suitable for the whole family, every part of the city has a fun and unforgettable entertainment option!
1 – As it was originally built with a focus on the silver mines, this is one of the tours offered by the site. Accompanied by guides, tourists will learn more about the history of the mining and rock excavation process.
2 – Another good alternative within this educational proposal is to visit the city museum. Located on Main Street, the building has undergone many changes over the years, but visitors can still see features such as windows, electrical wiring and furniture that belonged to the Lane family, who lived in the town from 1920 to 1960.
3 – One of the most popular attractions is the train ride through the city called the Calico-Odessa Railway. The great thing about touring the ruins is that you can ride on a model identical to the one used when the mines were excavated.
4 – For the bravest, Ghost Tours is the way to go. After dark, you can take a guided tour of Main Street to hear the haunted stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, but be aware that the tour only runs on Saturday evenings, with different times available.
5 – For those who want to feel like they’re really in the old west, the advice is to enjoy a pleasant horseback ride through Calico Ghost Town. Here, the only restrictions are that you must be over 7 years old and the weight limit is 117 kilos.
6- Do you want a motorized adventure? Mountain Bike Trails is the alternative you’re looking for. Mountain bike trails are available for tourists you can have a choice of even more privileged mountain views.
Offering 265 areas for camping tourism, the options range from trailer rentals to group camping tents. The facilities include hot showers, toilets, barbecues and outdoor heaters. Check out the options:
Inns and Bunk House
It has six cabins available for rent, each of which can accommodate up to four people. It has heating and air conditioning. Bed linen is not provided and pets are not allowed.
Here you can house up to six people. The room offers heating and air conditioning plus a bathroom. The difference is a private kitchenette. In this option, bed linen is not provided and pets are not allowed.
In this package you can have a large tent, but the minimum number allowed for use is of 12 people and a maximum of 20 people. Heating and air conditioning included. Bed linen is not provided and toilets with showers are located outside the tent. Pets are not allowed.
Stores and restaurants
There are fourteen stores for buying gifts and three main places to have a good meal. When it comes to shopping, you’ll find everything from stores selling handicrafts and typical food to places selling fossil objects and minerals.
In terms of gastronomy, the establishments start with the Calico House Restaurant, which has breakfast, lunch and dinner on the menu, with an emphasis on decoration set in the 1880s.
If you’re looking for more casual and quick dishes, the Café da Old Miner located at the top of the city is ideal! With hamburgers, salads, hot dogs and ice cream.
At Lil’s Saloon, you feel like a real cowboy! That’s because the bar is totally themed, making you enter a real Wild West location. Hot dogs, pizza, soft drinks and snacks are served there.
Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Estrada
Yermo, CA 92398
Text: Alice Camargo