Calico Ghost Town


If you’ve ever driven to Vegas you’ve seen it. In the hills off highway 15 as your drive through Yermo. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of Calico Ghost Town. Until, that is, I watched an episode of Road Trip with Heull Howser. He visited Calico with his usual child like enthusiasm, even if he was only in Barstow. So if Heull likes it, I gotta check it out.

On a recent trip to Vegas I did just that. We decided to go on our return trip, hopefully we wouldn’t be too exhausted to stop.

Calico was born in 1881 when a couple of prospectors located claims on Calico Mountain. They named their discovery the Silver King Mine. A total of 20 million dollars worth of silver has been mined here. With rumor that there is about 6 million dollars still located on the mountain. But at a cost of 10 million to mine it, no one has bothered.


The house of glass bottles at Calico

At its height, the town boasted a population of 1,200, 22 saloons, a “Chinatown,” and a well-known red light district.

The town of Calico has burned down to the ground twice and rebuilt. The town was abandoned in the 1930’s and in the 50’s was bought and revived into Calico Ghost Town by Walter Knott, owner of Knotts Berry Farm, and has remained a tourist destination ever since.

I could have done without all the cheesy gift shops with items completely unrelated to the mines. But it had its charm for the parents and their kids. I was more interested in the miles of closed off mines that you couldn’t access than I was with the amethyst geodes in the gift shop.

October is a busy month for Calico with “Calico Days” which features a western parade, burro run, gunfight competition and live music. Then in late October the “Ghost Haunt” takes over the town with costume contests, pumpkin carving, ghost stories and trick-or-treating. And, if you dare, take a bone chilling tour through Maggie’s Haunted Mine!


The entrance to the Silver Mine

Due to hot outside temps, some minors lived in the mine

What’s that lens flare? A ghost maybe?

There is a candy store and a snack bar with pizza and hotdogs. At one point there was a restaurant, but I’m not sure if it’s open. It wasn’t on this Sunday. You can get married here if you want, camp if you wish, pan for gold and make your own candles just like at Knotts Berry Farm.

Calico Ghost town is in Yermo, CA. To get there take the 15 North to Vegas and pull off at Calico Rd and head about a mile into the hills. Entrance fee was $10 per car (although stated as per person entry on their website.)

Author:Matt Mitchell

A lover of everything LA has to offer, Matt created Dig Lounge to tell his friends about all the fun things to do in the city. Matt has worked in the dot com world since 1996, including some of the top online entertainment companies and digital marketing firms. He currently works as a Digital Producer.

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