Odessa Canyon

Barstow, California (SanBernardino County)
Last Updated: 05/09/2018
5/5 (5 reviews)
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 6-10
Length: 1.3 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:
Management Agency:
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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

Technical Rating: (6-10)

Severe conditions. Extreme caution recommended. Impassable by stock vehicles. Winching required. Trail building necessary. May be impassable. Impassable under anything but ideal conditions. Vehicle damage probable. Personal injury possible. Extreme caution necessary.

Read more about our rating system


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.

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. Trailhead

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 (0.1 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 (0.5 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 (0.6 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 (0.8 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 (0.9 mi)

Another little waterfall that is fun to go up.

7. Washout - Pucker Pass (1 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 (1.1 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 (1.1 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 (1.2 mi)

This is the alternate route to Phillips Canyon West

11. Doran Canyon Cut-off (1.2 mi)

Doran Canyon Cut-off is to the left. For more information on Doran Canyon, Doran Canyon

12. End of Trail - Tin Can Alley (1.3 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

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.948123, -116.851527
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.


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

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.


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Trail Reviews (6)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I've done this every year with Wranglerforum (the Doran-Odessa Loop) and it never ceases to be fun! Don't try this trail without someone experienced getting through the obstacles. Also, you'll need a 4" lift, lockers, and someone in the group experienced in recovery or getting a stalled vehicle up the waterfalls. Other than that, it's a piece of cake!

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:
Went out to record some of the trails in 4k, had a blast playing on the trails. Was able to run Doran and Odessa in a couple hours doing all the hard obstacles. Thus a great day.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Even though this was my first run on Odessa it did not fail to meet up to the challenge. This is a difficult trail for a vehicle that is not lifted and at least 33" tires. I would recommend at least 1 locker, skid plates, a winch, and experience. The trail conditions can change with the weather and the current conditions provide loose rock, sand, small to large boulders, a difficult waterfall that may require stacking depending on your vehicle. This trail has a steep off-camber narrow canyon that if you don't pick the right line can cause damage to the driver's side of your vehicle, hug the right side if you can. The last obstacle is a washout that is rock but has some loose stuff on top that if not cautious can lead to slipping off the trail and rolling into the wash below; narrow vehicles will make it. 1 picture provided shows the front of a Jeep that tried to climb up from the wash in the washed out area and can show how narrow the trail is between him and the wall.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Some of the Videos from exploring the area.