Phillips Canyon East

Barstow, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 05/20/2018
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 4-7
Length: 2.1 miles
Highest Elevation: 2881 feet
Duration: About 45 minutes
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Barstow
Nearest Town w/ Services: Barstow
Official Road Name: CM7630A
Management Agency: BLM - Barstow Field Office
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Highlight: Phillips Canyon East

From sandy washes to small rock obstacles, Phillips Canyon East is a diverse short trail. You will see unique natural rock formations, great views, old silver mines and rock tailings everywhere you look. The conditions on the trail changes as you go from one area to the next. This is also the fastest route to get to the heart of the Calico mining area.


Route Information

Technical Rating: (4-7)

Rocks frequent and large, 12" and may exceed hub height. Holes frequent or deep (12"). Shelves to 9". Mud 8" deep and may be present on uphill sections. Grades to 25 degrees and sidehill to 30 degrees. Water crossings to 18" and may have strong currents. 1-1/2 vehicles wide. 4WD required. Driver experience helpful.

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Phillips Canyon East is a great trail located in the Calico Ghost Town area. It is one of the less technical trails that connects Mule Canyon to the upper end of Odessa Canyon. It is passable with stock 4WD vehicles, but still offers the novice wheeler some obstacles that may require multiple attempts. The trail starts in a sandy wash and ends with a great view of Odessa Canyon.
There is a lot of dirt bikes and UTVs on this trail.

Seasonal Information

Spring:Trail could be muddy and slick after the rain.
Summer:Trail is usually dry and dusty.
Fall:Trail is usually dry and dusty.
Winter:Trail is usually dry and dusty.


1. Trailhead Phillips Canyon East

When pulling off of Mule Canyon Rd you can take the wash marked CM7630A or continue on Mule Canyon and make a sharp left hand turn at 34.94662, -116.84051. The first of the trail runs down a sand wash in a small canyon. Some parts of the wash are narrow, but you are never far from a place to pass.

2. First Hill (0.5 mi)

Straight ahead the hill is an old asphalt road that has been eroded and rutted for many years. There is only enough room for one vehicle at a time on this part of the trail.

3. Rock Slide (0.65 mi)

Off to the right is the hardest obstacle of the trail. The right side of the rock is less challenging than the left. There is a bypass road on the right as you approach the rock. It too has a tall peak and is not suggested for longer wheel based vehicles.

4. Second Hill (0.85 mi)

Throughout the entire trail you will see old silver mines, and by this point they are everywhere you look. The terrain is still a rutted road. The remnants of the old asphalt are still obvious.

5. Phillips Canyon West Intersection (1.1 mi)

Off to the left is the intersection where Phillips Canyon West intersects with Phillips Canyon East. This is a great place to get out and take in what the Calico area has to offer. On the left hand side there is a mine shaft that is protected by t-post and wire. This will give you a good idea of just how dug out these hills are.

6. Third Hill (1.25 mi)

At night this hill can seem a little sketchy from the top looking down. It is an easy drive to the ridge above Odessa Canyon.

7. Peak (1.5 mi)

This peak is the highest point of the trail. It can give you the best perspective of the area before heading down to Odessa. The path up and down the peak is just a loose shale road with no real challenging obstacles.

8. Odessa Canyon Intersection (2.1 mi)

The road down into the canyon is again loose shale until the last hundred yards or so. This section is not only a pretty steep grade, but has a few big ruts, so take it slow. Once at the bottom its a sandy wash. This is a great area to branch off and reach other canyons. To the left is Odessa Canyon. To the right is the Odessa / Doran Loop and Tin Can Alley(34.97110, -116.84710). Tin Can Alley is an easy drive that will return you back to Mule Canyon.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.946620, -116.840510

Starting Point: Yermo

From Interstate 15 heading north, take the second Calico exit and go left towards the Calico Ghost Town. Approximately 1 mile on the right hand side is a dirt road named Mule Canyon - CM7630. It is clearly marked with a modern street sign. Follow Mule Canyon for approximately 2 1/4 miles. The trail starts on the right hand side and is a narrow wash.


Calico is situated on BLM land. Dry camping is open throughout the area. Wood fires are allowed. Please remember to pack out your trash. RVs and trailers can access Mule, Doran and Odessa Canyons. If dry camping is not your thing, the Calico Ghost Town has a campground with hook-ups and showers. They also rent cabins. For information on camping visit:
Camping: Phillips Canyon East

Land Use Issues

Bureau of Land Management, Barstow Field Office: 760-252-6000

Writer Information

David May

Mapping Crew - California
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I have been a southern California native my entire life. Growing up we spent a lot of time in the Eastern High Sierras, the Calico Canyons and the San Bernadino Mountains. When I got my first car, my free time revolved around it. A few years later I got my first off-road truck. Now I was able spend time doing all the things I loved. Over the years I have had a variety of different off-road vehicles. Some were stock, while others were highly modified. With my son recently getting his own 1st generation Toyota 4Runner, we have been spending more time working on his truck and hitting the trails. Whether exploring, hiking, hunting or camping, being outdoors with my family is how I want to spend my down time. Life is too short to spend it on the couch. Go out there and find your next adventure.


Questions & Answers (0)

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Trail Reviews (1)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We had a ton of fun today on this trail. We ran it backwards from how it’s described.