Although considerably less popular than Palm Canyon, the Calcite Mine trail is a hidden gem for those seeking those odd, moonlike environments commonly found in the Southwest’s deserts.
The whole hike is only about 2.5 miles and can be done in 1-2 hours. I went in around 4 p.m. and had plenty of sunlight to make it there and back. In fact, because this hike is essentially free of vegetation and through dusty old mining trails in one of the driest, hottest parts of the world, you’ll probably want to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Besides, the low angle of the sun makes for more surreal sights.
There are basically two parts to the hike, the trail and the slot. The trail is kind of boring, and there isn’t a whole lot to see of the actual “mine” when you get there, but on the way back (or on the way there), you’ll want to make your way through the slot, where you can see the sandstone rock formations of the canyon and wind your way through the slot.
The hike is very simple. Just stay on the main trail all the way to the mine at the end. Then, on your way back, make sure to turn left to head up the slot. About a mile up the slot, take a right to get back onto the main trail and back to the parking lot. Make sure not to miss this trail, as you can go on for miles into the slot and it can be easy to miss.
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