Odessa Canyon

Barstow, California (San Bernardino County)

Last Updated: 10/26/2020
4.9 / 5 ( 14 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 6-10
Length: 2.1 miles
Highest Elevation: 3200 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Barstow
Nearest Town w/ Services: Barstow
Official Road Name: Odessa Canyon
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Barstow Field Office


Highlight: Odessa Canyon
Odessa Canyon is the flagship of the off-road trails in Calico area near Barstow California. Comprised of many hard obstacles with no bypasses, this extreme 4x4 jeep trail will make you earn your trip to the top. On top of the difficulty, Odessa provides some of the best views in the area. Many people leave this offroad trail only wanting to do it again. But be ready, this trail has a 7-foot waterfall, an extremely narrow rollover spot that you just have to see to believe, and a super tight off-camber canyon in it. With everything this trail 4wd offers, don't be surprised if the trail wreaks havoc on your vehicle. Please note Odessa Canyon is very tight, and it is highly recommended that only a short narrow wheelbase attempt this trail. Narrow vehicles such as Jeep Wranglers, Suzuki's, older Izusu's should be okay on the trail. But Totoya's and other trucks should have an exo-cage to complete the trail unless you are okay with body damage.


Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
The trail has several areas that give this trail a rating of 6. The rocks in the begging are roughly 3 feet around while just up the trail the waterfall is roughly 6-7 feet tall. Past that there are other obstacles such as "Wall Street" that is known for body damage. Also, be prepared for Pucker Pass which is a narrow section of trail on a left turn.

Technical Rating

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks less than 36" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 36" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 84" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
Read more about our rating system

Community Consensus

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Odessa Canyon is a trail for the experienced drivers with built rigs. This overland / rock crawling trail offers a near 7-foot waterfall, a narrow off-camber canyon just wider than your Jeep, and the scariest obstacle in the area... a washout over a small cliff. It is common for people to make an overland trip out of Calico, many times they will run Doran, Odessa, Phillips, and then head over to Afton Canyon and parts of the Mojave Road.
Flash floods are a major concern on this trail, never travel on this trail if rain is in the area or possible.


1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Odessa starts out in a narrow red rock canyon just wide enough for your vehicle. The colors of this canyon are jaw-dropping and many people will just hang out here because of the view. Prior to arriving at this trailhead, there are 3 mud arches on the left side of the trail. 1 has collapsed, but 2 remain. These mud arches are large enough for a Jeep to drive through.
2. First Hard Spot (0.11 mi)
The first hard spot of Odessa is probably the easiest of all the hard areas of the canyon. Even though I say easiest, there is nothing easy about his one area. The area is full of 36+ inch boulders and narrow spots that a JK will struggle with. Make sure you have rocker protection and don't mind scratching your rims.
3. 2 1/2 Foot Waterfall (0.53 mi)
This little waterfall is the first in a series of waterfalls. It is fun to drive up and easy in comparison to those that follow.
4. 7 Foot Waterfall (0.61 mi)
If you haven't turned around yet, you might now. This 7-foot waterfall is not just a spectacle to view but also hard to get up. The problem is that if you fail, you can either roll back into a cliff destroying your passenger quarter panel or roll over your right rear tire. Make sure you use a spotter or know this obstacle well before attempting.
5. Narrow Canyon (0.91 mi)
Many people call this one spot Wall Street. Even though it isn't, this is one of the coolest sections of the trail. At just 8 feet wide, a 35 degree side angle, and 100 foot plus sheer cliffs, this one part of the trail will give you some thrills and maybe some heartache. Be warned this is a rollover spot, and there is also a great chance of doing body damage.
6. 3 Foot Waterfall (0.99 mi)
Another little waterfall that is fun to go up.
7. Washout - Pucker Pass (1.04 mi)
This might sound funny, but many people will not try this last obstacle. They would rather turn around and go down the trail at the risk of doing all that body damage than face this one spot. Why do you ask? It is simple...the trail is elevated roughly 20 feet off the canyon floor where the washout happened. The washout itself is about 7 feet wide which is wider then most vehicles on the road. But what you don't realize is that it is in a corner and when attempting this one obstacle, there is a very high risk of your rear tires sliding off the cliff possibly resulting in you and your vehicle plunging over the driver's side off the cliff and landing not so comfortably on the roll cage. If your cage is strong, you might be okay. If not, well...you can only hope for the best.
8. Phillips Climb (1.36 mi)
The exit to Philips Canyon, this hill climb might stain your pants. In the middle of it are several medium sized waterfalls (2-4 feet) that can easily cause things to go wrong. If you are uncomfortable with this climb, continue up to Tin Can Alley and back track that way. For more information on Phillips Canyon West, please visit: Phillips Canyon West For more information on Phillips Canyon East, please visit: Phillips Canyon East
9. Hard Option (1.52 mi)
This narrow but fun canyon is a short but difficult obstacle. You run the risk of doing body damage in this tight little area.
10. Easy Climb up to Phillips Canyon (1.72 mi)
This is the alternate route to Phillips Canyon West
11. Doran Canyon Cut-off (1.9 mi)
Doran Canyon Cut-off is to the left. For more information on Doran Canyon, Doran Canyon
12. End of Trail - Tin Can Alley (2.1 mi)
This is the end of the trail, to the right is Tin Can Canyon. If you continue straight it takes you to a locked gate. For More Information on Tin Can Alley, please visit: Tin Can Canyon

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Yermo, CA

From Highway 15 in Barstow, exit the second Ghost Town Road off-ramp. Take Ghost Town Road north roughly 2.5 miles passing Mule Canyon on the right. Turn right onto the dirt road (Odessa Canyon), and you will see a sign just off the road with a map (34.939767, -116.858813). Enter Odessa / Doran Canyon and stay on the dirt road for roughly 3/4 of a mile until you reach the trailhead. Please note, the canyon splits to the left. This is where you will find Doran Canyon's GateKeeper.


At the base of Odessa Canyon is several large areas perfect for dispersed camping. These areas are large enough for RV's and 5th wheels thus making it a good spot to gather friends and family. 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 http://cms.sbcounty.gov/parks/Parks/CalicoGhostTown.aspx
Camping: Odessa Canyon

Trail Reviews (15)

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Josh Noesser

Mapping Crew - California

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.
For individual use only, not to be shared.