Phillips Canyon West

Barstow, California (SanBernardino County)
Last Updated: 05/09/2018
5/5 (4 reviews)
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 4-6
Length: 1.45 miles
Highest Elevation: 3127 feet
Duration: About 1 hour 20 minutes
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Barstow
Nearest Town w/ Services: Barstow
Official Road Name: 7630A
Management Agency: BLM
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Highlight: Phillips Canyon West

Phillips Canyon is the 3rd hardest trail in the Calico mountain range network. Phillips Canyon is a narrow path, just a single vehicle width with several hard obstacles. Some of these obstacles are a double 3 foot waterfall, rocky hill climb with 1-4 foot ledges in the middle, narrow canyons with large boulders, and a long even steeper hill climb with 3 foot ledges in the middle. But the obstacles are not what most people remember of Phillips Canyon. Phillips Canyon has some of the most amazing views in Southern California including red rock canyons, mud hills you can explore, sand stone canyons, natural stone arches, and old silver mines. Beside the trail, there is ample things to do in the area including Calico Ghost Town, the robust trail network in calico, exploring abandon mines, the Mojave River / Road, and exploring the Mojave Desert.


Route Information

Technical Rating: (4-6)

Quite rocky or deep ruts. Rocks to 12" and frequent. Water crossings may exceed hub depth with strong currents. Shelves to 6". Mud may require checking before proceeding. Moderate grades to 20 degrees. Sidehill may approach 30 degrees. 4WD necessary and second attempts may be required with stock vehicles. Caution may be required with wider vehicles.

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Phillips Canyon is part of the Calico Ghost Town Trail Network connecting to Odessa Canyon/Doran Loop. The trail provides a wide verity of challenges that even the most experienced driver can find challenging. The trail offers 1 double waterfall, several hill climbs, mines, narrow canyons, and some of the best views of Calico. The trail passes through several old mining areas, red rock canyons, stone roads, and drive along the spine of the hills. The trail also provides probably the best view of the Skull of Odessa Mine. If you plan on exploring mines, always make sure you travel in a pars and someone else knows where you are going... Don't forget the flash lights. Due to the nature and history of the area, never travel in the canyons if rain is in the area.

Seasonal Information

Spring:Early spring can be mild while late spring is Hot
Summer:Easily over 100 in the days
Fall:Early fall can be extremely hot cooling off to warm days in late fall
Winter:It can be very cold with snow at times


1. Starting Point

This is the Starting Point of the Trail. The trail heads North along side of a valley where you can find an old Buick. 34.950294, -116.844594

2. Kramer Arch

Before heading up the trail, you should take a gander over to of the few natural arches in area. Karmer Arch is a amazing natural structure that you can fit a jeep through. Take your time going through it, there is an uneven spots going down or up and has caused many people a bad day. 34.950968, -116.843293

3. Double Waterfall

This is the first and probably the hardest obstacle you have to do on the trail. It is a set of two ledges roughly 3-5 feet tall. It is likely you will drag your front bumper or rear bumper going up or down. You also have to be careful for the small cliff on both sides.

4. Red Rock Canyon (0.2 mi)

The trail continues along inside some narrow red rock canyons that provide an amazing view.

5. First Hill Climb (Alternate Route) - Right is Phillips Canyon East (0.5 mi)

The first hill climb is an alternate route to the left. The right takes you to Phillips Canyon East. This obstacle provides a challenge to even some of the most experience drives. This route provides several different lines that can go from mild to hard.

6. Phillips Mine and East Connection (0.6 mi)

One of the many mines in the area, this trail runs along a decent mine network. Always travel in pairs, make sure someone knows where you are going, and don't forget to bring a flash light. Also, Phillips Canyon East connects at this location.

7. Skull of Odessa (0.7 mi)

A great look out at the Skull of Odessa Mine

8. The Drop (Alternate Route to Odessa) (1.05 mi)

The Drop is an alternate route to Odessa (The fastest way). This is probably the hardest hill climb / drop in the area. It is very steep and on loose gravel with hard rock underneath. It is advised that only an experienced drivers try going up the hill.

9. The End (1.45 mi)

The end of the trail where it connects to Odessa. From here you can go back down the canyon with some mild off-roading to get back to Odessa Mine Network.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.950294, -116.844594
From Highway 15 heading North/East. Exit the second calico exit and head North towards Calico. Take the first dirt road North (Mule Canyon) 34.921333, -116.848928 (0.0 Miles from start). (Go ahead and air down here, recommend low tire pressure due to shale). As you are going up the Canyon, go left at the big-ish Y 34.940444, -116.839785 (1.6 Miles from start). Follow trail up and stay right 34.944489, -116.844829 (2 Miles from start). Follow trail up and stay right 34.947250, -116.844736 (2.3 Miles from Start). Proceed up old broken asphalt road. The trail head is in front of you 34.950294, -116.844594 (2.6 Miles from Start).


Calico offers several types of camping. The area around Calico Ghost Town is BLM land. This allows you to tent camp anywhere you like with wood camp fires. Please keep in mind that there are lots of trails out there and try not to camp on a trail. Also, remember to pack up all of your trash and take it with you. For those who enjoy something a little more comfortable, you can easily drive RV's & 5th Wheels into the canyons Odessa, Doran, and Mule. If roughing it isn't your thing, Calico also offers a campground with hookups and cabin rentals. You can find more information about the campground and cabins at
Camping: Phillips Canyon West

Land Use Issues

***BLM has plans to close most of the trails in the area, please call Matt Toedli at 760-252-6026 and voice your opinion***

Writer Information

Josh Noesser

Mapping Crew - California
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Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to four wheeling when he road with one of his friends dad up Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Valley at age14. After nearly 3 different roll overs later and a half dozen intense waterfalls, Josh was hooked. At 16 he purchased his first Jeep a CJ 7 and by 17 was putting his first locker in it. Currently, Josh is the owner and CEO of Nybble, an IT Solutions Company based in Orange County, California. Nybble isn't your normal IT company where everyone stays in and plays video games. Nybble's average company trip is out on the trails since a good amount of his staff enjoy wheeling too. As Josh likes to say, he offers the only IT Company with the ability to provide services in extreme locations. "If you want a server at the top of The Hammers, we will take care of that for you." Today you can find Josh out on the trail behind the wheel in one of his three different off-road vehicles. See the vehicles below for more information. If you ever run into Josh, please say high, he is a very friendly person and is always happy to have a new person join the group.


Questions & Answers (1)

Q: on your heads up display, what program or app are you using to show elevation, speed, course, ect...
–Jon (02/04/2018)
A: It is part of Sony Action Cams software you can download from there site.
–Josh Noesser (02/04/2018)

Trail Reviews (5)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This is a great intermediate trail and an excellent place to teach newbies how to rock crawl. You can camp at Calico for the weekend and spend a couple days helping new guys learn the basics on this trail. There are so many trails that you will not be bored.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Love this place. Tons of fun. All the obstacles are so much fun. Can't wait to go back after it cools off. My Falken Tires did their job and more.... #FalkenTires

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
An absolutely beautiful day on the trail. The paid campgrounds were full, but not many on the trail. The trails have been built back up evidently from lots of rock stacking by previous visitors. This is a wonderful time of the year to visit Calico, CA.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
He'll of a trip. It was hot!!!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Phillips was all torn up. It appears a flash flood has gone through there and changed the trail quiet a bit. The double water fall was tore up, so was the hill climb. Even the flat areas that allowed fast movement are so messed up that you have to be in 4 low.