SB4WD at Bismark Mine in 2023

Calico 2023

Calico, CA is a great place to go wheeling — plenty of mining history, mild to wild offroad terrain, and also the Calico Ghost Town within a few miles from camp. We had 5 rigs in total — Rob & Dorothy, Doug, Dick, Richard & Christina (and family), Bryan K. Everybody arrived Friday afternoon and evening before dark. It was a pretty mellow night but before sunset went and explored one of the nearby washes to west of camp. That night there was some sounds of thunderstorms and a bit of pitter patter rain.

Saturday was the main day for offroading. The original goal for the day was to complete the “Phillips Road Loop” which would lead us back to our camp where we started. There were some obstacles that were harder than expected, but we all stayed in 2Hi/4Hi most the day. The canyons around Calico are very cool, with varying rock formations, and LOTS of mines everywhere to explore (or drive you vehicle into by accident).

The first stop was at the Kramer Arch. This is natural rock/sand arch that can be driven under but is harder than others in the area — nobody decided to attempt it this trip. After that stop, we were lead into a very cool looking red rock canyon with high walls on both sides. That canyon and road after led us up to Bismark Mine.  While at the Mine we spent some time exploring and got a group photo.

SB4WD at Bismark Mine in 2023
Group visiting Bismark Mine

From Bismark Mine we decided to finish the loop, which led us clockwise east and then south back towards camp. At least in it’s current condition, this loop is something that most/all 4WD could do as long as vehicle has decent ground clearance.

GPS Stats
    11.7 mi            Distance
    3 hrs 35 min  Total Time
    2 hrs 17 min  Moving Time
    1 hrs 18 min  Stopped Time

While back at camp, the group had lunch and bantered for a bit.. Eventually we decided to do some more exploring and go visit Calico Ghost Town. We stayed off the roads from camp to Calico Ghost Town. The group wandered Calico Ghost Town — it was 90-100 Fahrenheit so we stopped for a cold beverage in Lil’s Saloon which is one of the original buildings at the Calico Ghost Town

Cold Beverage at Lil's Saloon in Calico Ghost Town
The group enjoying a beverage at Lil’s Saloon — one of the original buildings in Calico Ghost Town

On our way back to camp, same dirt roads/canyons and part way through the twisty canyon we encountered a Toyota Carolla of sorts and a Prius who had taken the wrong “road” and were stuck. We knew where they were going and had the equipment to help so we used the winch, got them to a point where they could turn around in the canyon, and lead them back out and around on the proper road to where they were going. The Prius got on 2 wheels like a teeter-totter, Doug got to use his winch, we were all in very good spirits from the rescue operation as we rolled into camp .

Saturday night we did have a big fire. Again there were thunderstorms in the distance which were bigger than previous night.  Some rain came that night too but later on after we had went to bed.

All in all this was another great trip to Calico with the Santa Barbara 4-Wheel Drive Club!

Looking at Yermo from Calico Ghost Town