Sunday Road Trip - Calico Ghost Town

It's raining outside, seems like a good time for another road trip.  This time, we're heading out into the Mojave desert to Calico Ghost Town, located in Yermo, California.  Most people are probably more familiar with the Calico Ghost Town at Knott's Berry Farm.  There's a definite connection between them.

I love going to places like this.  It's out in the middle of nowhere, the air is clear and you can find and learn some history mixed in among the touristy stuff.  A relaxing, low-key getaway.  Also a fun place to take photos.

Calico got its start in 1881 as a silver mining town.  After the price of silver dropped, the town turned into a ghost town by 1904.

In 1951, Walter Knott, founder of Knott's Berry Farm, bought the town and restored it.  Calico Ghost Town will seem very familiar if you've been to the Knott's version.

In 1966, Walter Knott gave the town to San Bernardino County, California.

Both towns have their Bottle House.

For you old time Knott's fans that miss the long gone Haunted Shack, this Calico still has one called the Mystery Shack.

Above is a partial overview of Calico.  The town extends farther to the right out of the photo.  Calico is slightly more than one street with original, restored and recreated buildings housing stores, gift shops, restaurants and museums.

At the end of the street, you'll find the old Calico Schoolhouse.  You can't go inside but you can look through the windows.

The day I was there, the sheriff put on a quick draw and shooting exhibition.

For an additional fee, you can take a ride on the Calico and Odessa Railroad (above) for a very scenic tour of some historic areas just outside the main town, take a tour of the Maggie Mine or go through the Mystery Shack mentioned above.

Other things you can find at Calico Ghost Town:

-Camping near the entrance to town - if you want to stay longer than than a one day road trip.
-Town cemetery.
-Various events - The Ghost Haunt is taking place this month, Heritage Fest at the end of November, Christmas in Calico in December.  See their website for all the info.

Road Trip details:

Mileage from Monrovia, CA:  About 115 miles.
Travel time:   About 2.5 hours depending on traffic.
Calico Ghost Town is out in the desert.  Depending on when you go, it could get very hot or very cold.  Dress accordingly.

*I have since re-visited Calico Ghost Town and a new set of photos can be found here in a post dated February 10, 2013.


Oh, I love this. I've never been to Calico. So it's a combination of the original interspersed with faux structures? Can you go inside the bottle house?

The photos are beautiful. You caught this at a perfect light and cloud cover
Anonymous said…
Very nice post!
Keith said…
Pas Adj: It's a great place. There are some original buildings, the rest of the town was restored and recreated as faithfully as possible. I've been there a few times and I could not pick out the originals just by looking.

Part of the town burned down in 2001 and was rebuilt. None of the original structures were involved in that fire.

The bottle house here has no gift shop inside. It's kept locked up tight.

Some say the town really is haunted...

Anon: Thank you!

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