Mule Canyon

Barstow, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 10/18/2017
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 1-2
Length: 6.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 2663 feet
Duration: About 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Barstow
Nearest Town w/ Services: Barstow
Official Road Name: CM7630
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Barstow Field Office
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Highlight: Mule Canyon

Mule Canyon is a dirt road that cuts through the southern section of the Calico Mountains. Being one of a few roads near the original Calico Ghost Town, Mule Canyon is well traveled and can easily be traversed by most 2WD vehicles. From the moment you pull onto the canyon you will be driving on an open desert road, then a canyon wash, a hard pack windy trail through mud hills and finally an open valley before intersecting with Sunrise Canyon Rd. It offers easy access to explore Calico's old mining areas as well as intersections at Phillips Canyon West, Phillips Canyon East and Tin Can Alley.


Route Information

Technical Rating: (1-2)

Dirt road. Dry, or less than 3" water crossing depth. Some ruts. Slight grades, up to 10 degrees. 2WD under most conditions. Rain or snow may make 4WD necessary. Usually one and a half to two vehicles wide.

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Mule Canyon is a great overland trail. The first time you drive through the canyon you will notice that the diverse terrain changes several times on this short 6.5 mile trek. The colors of the hills are best viewed near sunrise or sunset.
There are lots of dirt bikes and UTVs on this trail.

Seasonal Information

Spring:Trail is very muddy and slick after rain showers
Summer:Trail is usually dry and dusty
Fall:Trail is usually dry and dusty
Winter:Trail is usually dry and dusty


1. Mule Canyon Road Trailhead

Off to the right, the trailhead is easy to spot thanks to the modern reflective street sign. Once on Mule Canyon there is a kiosk on the right with information about the area. This first 3/4 mile of the drive is through open desert before heading into the canyons.

2. Phillips Canyon West / Camping Area (1.9 mi)

The trailhead for Phillips Canyon Wash is on the left hand side. Off to the right is a developed camping area. There are no facilities here, but it is an area that has been cleared and graded. There are fire pits throughout the entire area. Mule Canyon is a well traveled road, so if you camp here, you will see a fair amount of traffic.

3. Phillip Canyon East (2.4 mi)

There is a wash on your left. That is Phillips Canyon East. You could have got into the wash about a hundred yards back on the left or make a hard left here. The road is more obvious from this point.

4. Mud Hills (3.1 mi)

This area is unique. There are mud hills everywhere you look. You will notice the terrain change as you enter and exit this area. This is where a lot of people shoot in their own private canyon.

5. Shortcut to Tin Can Alley (4 mi)

Here is a road that sweeps down and to the left. This is one of the quickest ways to the top of the Doran / Odessa Loop. It is also rated as 1-3 difficulty, so it can be traveled by almost any rig. It merges into Tin Can Alley.

6. Tin Can Alley (5 mi)

Tin Can Alley is on the left. It is not marked, but a large boulder is at the intersection. Tin Can Alley is a great little side trip if you have the time. This is where the miners trash was dumped. Some remnants of the tin cans are still there on the left just 50 yards from Mule Canyon.

7. Sunrise Canyon Road (6.5 mi)

This is the end of Mule Canyon. Interstate 15 can be reached by going right. To the left is Coyote Dry Lake Bed. You can also intersect with Fort Irwin Road just past the dry lake bed.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.921179, -116.848773

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 green reflective street sign.


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: Mule Canyon

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.


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