How to visit Calico Ghost Town, the ghost town in California

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Pau Monfort
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Located in the Mojave Desert, Calico ghost town is a small ghost town that bears witness to significant mining activity in the region at the end of the 19th century.

After being abandoned, the city was restored and became a major attraction in California, a must for lovers of the Old West.

Calico depicts the typical ghost town of the imaginary American West, represented in the classic spaghetti western films by Bud Spencer, Terence Hill and Sergio Leone. The city has a unique street, uphill, with shops, restaurants and buildings typical of that era.



It's not very big, but it's very photogenic. In every corner you can take a beautiful photo. In addition, there are various attractions (for a fee) that make the visit even more impressive. We are slightly away from Bodie's charm and authenticity, but if you make the journey from Las Vegas a Los Angeles and vice versa, it's definitely worth a stop.

History of Calico Ghost Town

Calico is an old mining town founded in 1881. In a few years 500 mines arose around the city which in 12 years produced over 20 million dollars in silver. When silver lost much of its value at the end of the nineteenth century, the miners who were the only inhabitants of the city packed their bags and left. Since then the city has remained uninhabited, becoming one of the most fascinating ghost towns in the United States.

In the 50s Walter Knott, a well-known entrepreneur in the area, bought Calico and restored all the buildings in the city to make it identical to how it was in the years of the "rush" for silver.


Be aware that there are only a few "real" buildings (Lil's Saloon, Town Office, Lucy Lane house, Smitty's Gallery, General Store and Joe's Saloon), the others have all been rebuilt on the foundations of the ruined buildings.


Calico was declared Historical landmark in the 60s. In 2005 it was declared by the then governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Phantom City of the Silver Fever (the ghost town of silver fever).

What to see in Calico Ghost Town

Today the city has been transformed into a park and, although almost entirely restored, it still retains that genuine Old West air, certainly worth a visit. It's also a great way to see how the miners of the silver rush lived.

Calico Ghost Town –

Calico it is built around a main thoroughfare, Main Street, which is 400 meters long. On each side, you will find buildings (or replicas) dating from the late 19th century. Most of them are home to shops, restaurants or cafes. Do not miss the replica of the school, in the heart of the city.

The main street is sometimes the scene of cowboy shows and period costume entertainment. The city also hosts various festivals throughout the year, such as the Calico Spring Festival in May and on Calico Days in October.

Everything is quite touristy and sometimes it is difficult to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a ghost town as the activity is intense. For this reason it is advisable to visit in the early opening hours or towards closing, when there are fewer visitors.


If you have time, in addition to visiting the dusty streets of the city where you can admire the ancient and typical buildings of that period, you can visit and try various attractions. Among the main ones: the Lucy Lane Museum Maggie’s Mine Calico-Odessa railway. You can also discover gold or silver mining techniques and take various tours.

Every Saturday evening it is possible to make a Ghost Tour: a guided tour, at night, of the city or the mine. Each tour lasts approximately 1 hour. Tickets, ranging from $ 5 to $ 10 per person, are on sale at Maggie's Mine.


When to visit Calico

The area at midday and in summer can have very high temperatures. It is advisable to visit it in the milder seasons, such as winter, spring or autumn.


If you happen to be in the summer try to arrive early in the morning. It is recommended that you bring a hat and plenty of water.

business hours

Calico Ghost Town is open tutti i giorni from 9:00 in the morning to 17:00 in the afternoon, except on Christmas day.

Admission prices

  • Admission costs $ 8 for adults aged 15 and over.
  • For children aged 6 to 15, the entrance fee is $ 5.
  • Children under 5 get in for free.

The entrance ticket does not include the various attractions, which in any case can be purchased separately and have a low price.

How to reach us

Calico is located in San Bernardino County, approximately 10 miles east of Barstow along Interstate 15 (Ghost Town Road exit).


Once off the main road, when you are in Ghost Town RoadLooking north towards Calico you will see a huge "Calico" sign in the mountain, a bit like the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.

There is no public transport leading to Calico, the only way to get there is with a 'rental car.

The "ghost town" of Calico is located on the connecting road Los Angeles a Las Vegas, in the middle of the Mojave desert. To get there, take I-15 and take the Ghost Road Town exit. Ample parking is available outside the park.

Accomodation

If you want to sleep, there is a campsite here, with a camping area and tents for hire. If you are looking for more comfort the nearest towns are Barstow and Yermo offering various good standard hotels and motels at reasonable prices.

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