Calico Mule Canyon



Just off the I 15 about 20 miles east of Barstow California is one of the most unique places on the planet. The Calico mountains contain tons of locations to explore. Mines prehistoric man digs, and numerous geological wonders. Every square mile is loaded with something new and interesting.

On 2/28/2003 two of the more ardent rockhounds from the Sierra Pelona Rock Club ventured into Mule Canyon in the Calicos in search of rare minerals and distraction. Myself and Ron Lawerence got an early start out of Valencia and were in Mule Canyon in no time, away from kids, traffic, honey do lists, and people in general. There were a few gun enthusiasts sharpening there shooting abilities. Be careful when going over blind ridges, you may end up behind a target with Sadam's face on it and looking at the business end of a handgun.

    If you are coming east from Barstow take the second Calico exit to Calico road and at 1.2 miles you will come to Mule Canyon Road. Follow it about .8 miles and you will come to a turn out where there is supposed to be a collection site for Silver Lace Onyx and Honey Onyx in the hills to the north. We never found any onyx but we did discover a truly amazing site. This area is quite an unusual collection of colorful hills and canyons. Bring your camera, you will be glad you did.

At about the 3.7 mile mark after starting on Mule Canyon road you will come to an odd shaped rock to your left were a road veers left )gps coord n34d 57.44m, w 116d 48.60m). This is Tin Can Alley road, named after a dump were miners left there trash. All that remains is the rusted out pile of tin cans, hence the name. We will come back this way but first we are going to a spot called Sulfer hole collecting site just a few hundred yards past this turn off and on your right at gps coord n34d 57.294d w116d 48.390 . Look for the yellow brown stained earth below a rock out cropping. In the out cropping and above you will find Jasper, Jasp- Agate and an Onyx like stone that looks promising but not identifiable,

At about 4 miles up Mule Canyon (about .5 miles after Tin Can Alley you will come to the old Borax Mine. The tailings are evident for quite a ways to your right . The first tailings to the right have been processed (roasted) and offer no good minerals. The second tailings are better but the last set that are a little higher up the mountain offer the best specimens. The borate shale minerals are found in the layered seams on the hillsides. Nice specimens of Ulexite, and Borax can be found with a good eye and a little digging.

.If you continue down Mule Canyon about 1.2 miles past the big rock at Tin Canyon Alley turn off you will come to the next collecting site called Palm Ridge. On the right you will see spots were collectors have been digging on the hill side. There is also an old rusted out sign that might have been a claim marker or just an invitation to dig petrified palm root out of the white ash layers of the hill. Only very small pieces are available as float, but larger specimens are buried in the hills.