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Calico Jasper

NextCastle Butte Petrified Palm
This area is well worth the trip just to see and appreciate the beauty Mother Nature has bestowed on the hills surrounding Calico. While you are partaking of the beautiful scenery, you can collect some very worthwhile jasper to take home as a momento of your visit to this region of colorful history and landscape. Here we give directions to an area where the material is easy to reach and readily recognized. There is a lot of very good gemstone material in these hills and a little exploration can uncover many fine pieces.

Type of material found

Petrified Palm
Petrified Palm
Satin Spar

Description of material

Jasper and agate pleasingly combined in a rainbow of colors--red, pink, orange, gold, with yellow predominating. Attractively patterned; quite suitable for cabbing and tumbling.

Equipment needed

Rock hammer (and camera if you like to photograph natural beauty)

How to get there

From Barstow go east on Highway 15. Exit on Ghost Town Rd. offramp. Turn left onto Ghost Town Rd. Immediately you will see the richly colored hills from wence Calico gets its name. Follow this paved road north. You will pass the entrance to Calico ghost town at 3.4 miles. This is well worth a visit if you have time.

Continue on paved road another 1.8 miles from Calico to well maintained dirt road on left marked Mule Canyon Rd. Turn here and follow Mule Canyon Rd. into one of the most breathtaking naturally colored areas in this part of the country. As you round the curves of Mule Canyon, you'll be treated to the many purple, green, orange, yellow, gold and chocolate brown hued Calico Mountains. Also note the interesting rock formations clinging to the cliffs. At 1.6 miles a road marked "No trailers beyond this point" and "One Way" takes off to the left. This is a short loop drive through some very scenic areas. This road rejoins the main road .5 mile up Mule Canyon (at sign: "Do Not Enter"). From this point, continue .4 mile to a road on left going abruptly up hillside. Take this road .1 mile. It is rather rocky, but be cautious and take it easy and you will reach a spot where you can pull off on left. All around your car will be the jasp-agate material. This area may have been under claim at one time, but on our last trip no restriction were made on collecting.

Updated location directions

Thanks to Bill and Jay McDannell & Joey and Kari Atkins

About a mile or so up Mule Canyon Road beyond the turnoff to the jasp-agate site you will see the distinctive blue-gray tailings from an old mine on the slope of a hill to your right. There is a turnoff here which is blocked at the base of the tailings by a huge boulder.
Park here and hike about a half mile up the wash, staying on the most prominent trail where many desert buggies have traveled.
At the end of this hike, at the top of an uphill portion just before the desert buggy trail does a wide sweep to the right, you will find large exposed seams of ulexite to your left front. To your right front you can find many small, round concretions in the soft dirt. If you follow the sweeping right curve, you will discover large quantities of transparent gray-green crystalline rocks that I believe are colemanite throughout the slopes to your left.
A few hundred feet farther along, as the trail begins to descend, climb the slope to your left to find jasper and agate, some of it dendritic. The last bit of good news is that the trip back to your car will all be gently downhill.

Calico Jasper

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Original Page Created: 25 Dec 97

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