By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Located in the First District community of Yermo, roughly 10 miles north of Barstow, Calico Ghost Town was named for the rainbow-colored hills that produced one of the richest silver strikes in California history. Home to 1,200 residents by 1887, this was a wild and wooly place with 22 saloons, its own red light district and several fine restaurants.
Calico produced more than $20 million in silver, and was deserted by the 1930s. Walter Knott (of Knott’s Berry Farm) purchased the crumbling town in 1951 for $13,500, restoring it to its former glory. It is now run by San Bernardino County’s Regional Parks.
Calico has five surviving original buildings: the Park Office, Lane’s General Store, Lil’s Saloon, and the Zenda Mining Company. Plan on a full day to explore the park. You can go gold panning, defy gravity in the Mystery Shack, or explore the East Calico Hiking Trail, where you’ll find unique cabins carved into the rocky hillside. Adventure seekers can check out the park’s many mountain biking and off-road trails. All ATV’s, dirt bikes, buggies, and UTV’s are allowed on Calico’s trails.
Around lunch, you can grab a burger at Old Miner’s Cafe, or enjoy an old-fashioned sarsparilla at the Calico House Restaurant.
New for January 2021, Calico Ghost Town is introducing 30-minute Historical Tours on select weekends. The tours share interesting facts and lore about the ghost town from its beginnings to current times. Visit Lanes General Merchandise for information and tickets.
Note: Most of Calico Ghost Town’s shops and restaurants are open with COVID precautions in place.