On the northern side of Anza Borrego there are the remains of an old calcite mine. In operation around WWII, they mined optical calcite for use in gunsights. It didn’t last long, since around the same time a synthetic alternate was discovered, making the mining of calcite financially no longer feasible. What is left are a series of trenches and pits that follow calcite veins through the hills.

The Calcite mine isn’t the only thing of interest along the old mining road that we hiked (the road is drivable, but you better have a well-equipped 4×4 and plenty of experience). On the return hike we explored a side slot canyon, one that some hiking books call the best slot canyon in Anza Borrego. It was a nice little diversion.

This post was filed under: Trip Reports


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  1. Gary

    WOW! These are awesome pics. You are an excellent photographer. Love the calcite mine tour, was a geologist in a former life, still dig a few rocks now and then. Found a 2.5 high by 2 wide nice quartz crystal in a friends yard the other day and a nice arrowhead at another friends house last month. Keep taking the great pics and I won’t have to travel anymore, I can feel like I am actually there through your shots.
    Have A Great Day, Gary Turner

  2. Calcite Mine Trail | Anza-Borrego Desert State Park | Hikespeak.com

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  3. Calcite Mine Trail, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park | Borrego Springs, CA - Sun Kissed Hiker

    […] was once known for its gold riches. Nearby in Borrego Springs, calcite crystals were mined during WWII-era. Hikers and four-wheel-drive vehicles can visit this abandoned site and find left behind calcite […]

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