Calcite Mine Trail

4.2/5 (11 reviews)
Salton City, California (San Diego County)
Last Updated: 09/26/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

The Calcite Mine is a historic landmark and off-road trail in the Truckhaven Hills in the desert of Anza Borrego State Park located in the southeast corner of California. Because of the uniqueness of the mine, many people stop here when doing overland trips through the deserts of Southern California to take in the beauty of the area and the history. Getting to the mine is a moderate 4x4 trail with several obstacles that require a person to pick the appropriate line for their vehicle. This is a very short off-road run, perfect for a night run or a quick day trip if either dispersed camping or driving through the area. There are also several slot canyons in the area surrounding the Calcite Mine that make for a great hike.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

***Unconfirmed but likely - the trail has been graded and is now easy. We lowered the rating till we can confirm this so there is still a small chance of an obstacle on the trail*** Several obstacles are on this trail, including some rock crawling, off-camber sections, hill climbs, and many small washouts along the cliffside of the trail. Along the route are several slot canyons, ledges, hill climbs, sand, and exploring. The narrow shelf road trail has many washouts, requiring close attention to the trail. Please pay attention to the trail at all times to avoid the possibility of driving over the edge.
This can be a popular trail at times throughout the year, please watch out for traffic.

Trail Reviews

4.2/5 (11 reviews)
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 12/28/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Great, quick trail with awesome views at the top. Very easy--softroader capable, but knobby or A/T tires will make the drive more comfortable and will give you confidence over several rocky sections. I agree that 2WD vehicles can make it, but you'll be happier with a little extra clearance an SUV will give you. Regarding the Calcite "Mine" at the top--it is indeed a surface strip mine--there are several large gouges in the earth above the parking area and there are crystals everywhere underfoot: your kids will be being going bananas collecting rocks.
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 12/10/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

A nice drive up a shelf road. Nothing too difficult, a few small rocks here and there... a decent hill climb, but not much else to cause concern. You do get decent views of the entire Truckhaven area and beyond from the top. As for the previous reviewer talking about no "mine"... this is not a type of mining that required digging of shafts... it was more like strip mining they did. Their efforts at mining this helped us beat the Nazi's, and left the hills with weird little ribbons. A cool spot that you pretty much have to see if you head out this way.
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 12/04/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Easy Trail, no longer a difficult drive. Nice Views at Mine Area. No could not find a mine shaft opening.
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 02/04/2021

I can conform the road has been graded. Even 2WD with moderate clearance would be perfectly fine for this trail. Calcite is everywhere up there. Nice views and hiking options.
Trail Review: Calcite Mine Trail - Paul Crawford
Trail Review: Calcite Mine Trail - Paul Crawford
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Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/31/2021

I love this little route. Mostly because of the history of the World War II effort and this mine. Anza Borrego park and World War II So how does World War II war effort factor into Anza Borrego Desert? Literally within 5 miles of where our RV is located we found an interesting 4 x 4 route. The route is called the calcite mine trail. Earlier investigation didn’t intrigue me so it wasn’t on my list. As I started to research calcite and what calcite was used for that’s why and it peaked my interest. This calcite mine was developed during World War II, general Patton‘s troops built the original road that leads north from here to the former calcite mine. This was the top producing calcite mine in North America. It was important to the war effort, because calcite is a form of calcium carbonate. When you strike calcite Kristal, it will break into pieces that have exact angles and clear flat sides that provide double refraction properties. The Polaroid company processed these into optical ring sites for the military. Gunners and torpedo bomber’s depended on calcite Ring sites for the most accurate aim available. Today you can wander around the area and you’ll find honeycombs of the calcite veins and lots of empty pockets where the minors have been. Initial thought was they look like slot canyons, but they are actually where the minors were following the veins of calcite. I should also add that the road has been repaired so there are no obstacles on this road. Four-wheel-drive is recommended but I do think you could do this trip in a 2 Wheel Drive.

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