Calico, CA....Odessa Trail and Bismark canyon trail...Solo. Report Video and Pictures


Video is UP !!
or youtube

Definately wanted to avoid looking like this guy.....not to mention the small heart attack he must of had. It was scary but I managed to get thru there okay. I did almost crap my pants....that was the one time not having a spotter freaked me out.


On my way back from Las Vegas for NAB convention after having already Just done the Mojave Road........ I decided to accept the adventure and challenge that would be to try a famous Odessa cyn>Bismark cyn loop in the cowboy mining ghost town of Calico.

Boy was I in for a surprise!

I was by myself. the trail is about 6 miles hard can it be right? It took me 6 hours!!!
(stopping to eat, drink, take pictures and setup cameras for filming)

The pictures just do not do justice to how hard and extreme the trail was....almost **** myself a few times. Definitely not doing that again by myself!

I say extreme, but I realize it's not that hard for some folks out there.....mind you I was alone, this is literally the third trail I have done in my FJ or in any 4x4 !!

My trail list so far.
-Rowher Flats (solo)
-Mojave Road (solo)
-Odessa&Bismark cyn, Calico. (solo)

I felt a false sense of security for the following reasons.
-All the videos on youtube made it look doable.
-My guide book was VERY misleading..."a couple of ledges" doesnt translate when you see it in real life and your on your own.
-I had a spare tie-rod and tools.
-Did I mention the videos on youtube are misleading....never trust what you see. If there is one thing I've learned is that Images can NOT convey the difficulty of a trail......maybe if they were 3D !!

On the other hand I felt confident I could do it because...

-I have spent years riding a motorcycle off road. (Help me read terrain)
-I have just upgraded my FJ with a bunch of stuff and this is why I bought the car.
-I have spent years competing in bicycle observed trials. This in particular is the most helpful. Anyone that is familiar with the sport of Trials riding will understand.

You have to pick a line thru rocks and obstacles and you can't put your foot down.... just do a search on youtube and you will be amazed. Kind alike "rock crawlin on 2 wheels" but harder.

It helps me look at an obstacle .....visualize where my tires have to go and how my placement affects the next section...

here is me many years ago during a you an idea on what we had to do....

This one was at the Mommoth NORBA national event.....big drop.

Anyways....I think it helps me....cause I can look at an obstacle a picture a line thru it...I know that if my left tire is here my right tire will be on that rock etc.... I like to think the fact I did these trails alone might prove my point. It's the same think just with a 4 wheels and a motor! I went.

The entrance to the famous ghost town of Calico.

Starts easy enough....

Stopped by the famous arch for a photo op!

Entrance to the Odessa Canyon trail....walls start closing in on you.

and things start getting rocky.

All the red dirt and rock makes you feel like your on to be by yourself on a weekday.

The canyon is deep.....and now truely one way....would be hard to even try to turn the car around. very tight.

One more of the many ledges just can't get a grasp on how tall this is from the photo....for me as a beginner anyway.

....made it up.

The colors on the rocks are amazing



Now this very narrow passage is what had me almost ****ting my pants.....being by myself didn't help either....

I made it thru ..... but when the car dips down in the left rear you just feel like you definately going over the embankment....

It didn't help that I watched this video before I left my house.......Did want to even get close to what he did!! OMFG !!!!!! crazy ********....he did save it...

Calico, Crazy Man With Nothing to Lose - YouTube

My know your on a good trail when the sidwalls of your tires start showing more wear than the center!

Got to the top of Odessa.....finally.....and I could breath a sigh of relief...

Was tempted to go in and explore....but being by myself...that would be a VERY stupid idea.

The colors were amazing

mines everywhere.

Feels like being on mars there...all alone.

View from the top.

So I headed back down Bismark canyon...

Came across this boudler in the middle of the trail....tight squeeze on either side of this bolder...well here goes...

you can see just how tight it was in this shot.

All the red rock is really trippy. guide book just said...a few Ledges... I had no idea how scary it would be to do a few of a certain one, I just stood there thinking in the world?? ....ow well...that's what skidplates are for! I was just afraid to bottom out on my front bumper and get stuck!

The video makes it look super easy.

birds eye view....making my way down Bismark.

Very tight part of the canyon...

not an inch to spare... very tricky when your by yourself.



and for those of you that say you never use your gas tank skids....nice scrape...on mine....

Nice hit on my crossmember

Little scrape on my rims...

My sliders....well....they handled everything I threw at them....saved my ***.
More money well spent.

when you have scars on the top of your slider you knew you were in trouble! That was from the lncident at the end...

and as you can imagine....the bottom of my sliders and skid plates need some paint now......

Is it excessive for 6 miles worth of trails? I have no idea....

Would I maybe have 1 or 2 less if I had a spotter? certainly. I know my bumper hit could of been avoided and a few other ones perhaps.

I'm just happy all the gear did it's job and brought me home.

When you out there by yourself....that's all you really care about.


A someone who has run that trail a few times, well done. It is hairy in a few spots, but well worth it, so nice job and good write up!


Expedition Leader
Great write up and pictures. Never been there or even close but the trail and landscape look very interesting. Thanks.


That looks like a good adventure, all the mines make me think of The Hills Have Eyes. I love the solo adventuring, it adds another level of commitment and fun.


Pedro! Dude! I don't know where to begin-Huuum.

Gutsy young-in ain't yeh? Back in the day I (read We) left numerous broken parts all over them thar parts of the desert. The old timers once scared crap outta us kids spinning out a yarn or two around the campfire. About how old Willy met his death during a cave-in, reading from Robert Service

Regards your job field, you son are what I'd describe an amazing young man whom I believe to be CRAZY! Crazier in fact more than I ever was doing the trials thing on a derned bicycle! I believe your spot on in reading terrain and wheel/undercarriage placement. It is very important.

I clicked on your "what I do" link and discovered another very interesting line of work, that of pack-mule! Mulling that atrocious conglomerate of camera equipment makes me wish for an Aleve and I ain't lifted a lick!!!

Just having some fun... I merely find your undertakings very interesting as it melds perfectly with our cherished hobbies contained within these pages.




Thanks everyone!

I'm glad everyone is enjoying the video and the report.

I love my job, it's not easy at times but it takes me all over the world and I can't imagine another life. it has taken me to the bush in Africa, tha amazon jungle, all over the US in places most people don't get to go and in 5 days I'm off to shoot a movie in CHina for 6 weeks.

Can't wait to get back and go on a trip in my FJ.....funny I think that with as much as I travel for work. All I can think of is to come home and travel some more......


That was the first trail I ever ran in my KJ with LOST Jeeps SoCal and ya, it was a bit hairy in many spots.

Good job! I hope you have a SPOT type device when going alone. It could be a lifesaver one day.

If I see you on the trail I'll stop and say hi. I'm usually solo too.


Awesome video. I have done that trail so many times and always enjoy it. The section where the guy almost goes over is so easy when you drive up the wall and so hairy when you don't see the right line. Its one of those easy trails that you can get in real trouble on.

Forum statistics

Latest member