Calico is an old mining town located in San Bernardino Country in California.
It was founded by four prospectors in 1881 while they were looking for silver rich ground to mine. They found this in the Calico mountain and opened the Silver King Mine.
In the coming years, about 500 mines were opened and a whole town evolved around it with shops post office, bars, hotels, etc..
Calico was a flourishing city with about 1200 citizens and produced over $20 million in silver ore from 1881 to 1894.
The decline started with the silver value loss in the mid-1890's. People left Calico and moved on to prospect elsewhere. That's how Calico became a ghost town.
In 1951, Walter Knott (the founder of Knott's Berry Farm) purchased Calico and started restoring the town on the basis of old photographs. Five buildings remain to be original while the others are restored. In 1966, Knott donated Calico to the San Bernardino Country.
Calico became a California Histrorical Landmark in 1962.
There is a lot you can do in Calico.
Apart from exploring the city, including its shops and Restaurants, the most interesting is probably visiting the Meggie Mine.
You can choose between a self-guides min tour (free) or a guided tour.
The Maggie Mine is a real silver mine that was operated in the 1880s. The tour is just a couple of hundred meters long but you will learn a lot about how miners worked in the old days and you walk along a real mine drift.
Calico also has a campground for overnight stays and some mountain bike trails.
In principle very interesting to see an old, real mining town. Although it is a bit touristic.
If you avoid weekends, it is not too crowded, but the presentation, in general, is pretty touristic with all its shops and restaurants. I would have wished for a bit more authenticity, but overall, it is a cool place to visits (in particular with kids).
Unfortunately, some of the activities within the Ghost Town cost additional.
It's a just a short 3 miles drive off the interstate 15, so why not do it.
You can do a lot of walking on the premise, mostly on dirt roads, it's recommended to bring good shoes.