The Doran/Odessa Loop is two difficult trails in the Calico, California area connected by mining roads that allow the trail to be ran as a loop or as a single pass with other excursions. There are several trails in the area such as The Mule Canyon Cut-off, Phillips Canyon, Mule Canyon Road, and the Wall Street Canyon Overlook. But none of these trails compare in the challenge to the off-roader that the Doran and Odessa trails offer. Both of these trails were once part of an amusement tour through the mining country of Calico. Believe it or not, this path was once roughly paved and considered a scenic tour. The trails are still very scenic and filled with mining history, but a tour bus is going to need some costly modifications to make it today. Since these trails can be driven independently, let's discuss them separately.
The Doran Loop is seldom ran as a loop these days, instead it is more often combined with the Odessa Trail to loop back to the starting point. But the Doran trail is actually one of the paths to the huge Bismarck mine that then back-tracks slightly to climb to a high overlook before descending back to the trail that led into the canyon. It is more challenging to travel the loop the opposite direction, but the turn out from the trail is less obvious in the opposite direction.
The extreme challenge in the area is the Doran Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper is the original entrance to the Doran Loop but it has washed out to a series of boulders and holes that tend to claim as much carnage as successful passages. In the past there was a bypass around the "Gatekeeper" but has recently been blocked off by management of the "Calico Ghost Town Campground". Please repect the blockage as there is an ongoing attempt to regain access to the bypass. The gatekeeper bypass is open as of 4/2012, just starting in a slightly different area. It is now right off the main trail head off Calico Ghost town road, about a mile away from gatekeeper.
The Odessa Canyon trail still has some of the old pavement from the historical days as a tourist trail. If you note the level of the pavement in comparison to some of the conditions currently, you can get some idea of the power of the water flowing down these canyons when it rains. Odessa is a much tighter canyon than Doran and even though it does not have the challenge that the Doran Gatekeeper presents, it does have a series of challenges that will excite the senses of any driver.
Doran Scenic Dr
Head north on Doran Scenic Dr 0.7 mi Turn left to stay on Doran Scenic Dr 2.7 mi Turn right to stay on Doran Scenic Dr 2.7 mi Doran Scenic Dr