In 1951, Walter Knott, founder of the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park, purchased Calico. Referencing old photographs, Knott restored many of the original buildings to look as they did in the 1880s. Other structures have since been added or replicated, all with a rustic weathered look that creates a picturesque little town. Mr. Knott donated Calico to San Bernardino County in the late 1960s, and it was designated a California Historical Landmark.
Many of the early silver mines still exist in the hills around Calico, but signs warning of the dangers of entering abandoned mines tell visitors to keep out. The Maggie Mine is the exception. Located right in town, this self-guided underground tour is a safe and fun way to learn about hard rock mining and see pieces of old equipment. Combine this tour with a short ride on the historic Calico & Odessa Railroad.
Calico Ghost Town Regional Park is located off Interstate 15, about a two-hour drive in either direction to Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Although the roads are paved, the desert scenery is sparse, giving it an appropriate “out in the middle of nowhere” feel. But when you see the giant letters spelling CALICO on the mountain peaks behind the ghost town, there will be no doubt that you’ve found it!