Road trippin' out west this summer? If so, you'll for sure want to stop and see a ghost town or two. In California you're bound to find a few off any major freeway headed into the desert or mountains. Bodie State Historic Park happens to be one of the most well kept ones and worth visiting if you are headed to northern California. Just over an hour north (off the 395 fwy) of Mammoth Lakes, It makes a great day trip while visiting there or Yosemite. This park is also dog friendly!
Back in the day, Bodie was a thriving gold mining town with everything you'd expect from the old wild west--bank robberies, saloons and brothels. Today it's a state park, and known as a town frozen in time in a “state of arrested decay". Detailed information on the park, maps, and how to get there can be found here. Upon arrival there is a small entry fee of $8. You get a map and then are free to walk around. The park also offers different types of tours you can book including a ghost walk. Visit here for all the tour information and booking.
Though a rough dirt road once you exit the 395, the drive is absolutely stunning with some amazing views. Take your time driving up through to the park as the scenery here is so remote and quite breathtaking!
Once inside the park there's lots to see, but everything can be covered within a few hours. You can easily just walk around each street without a plan or map, as the way things are labeled and setup you will be able to visit all the sites. A total of 170 buildings remain here at Bodie including the old mine, schoolhouse, tavern, gas station, main street, church and many more. Several resident homes, barns and broken stagecoaches are scattered about and many of them you can walk inside to see remnants of original furniture and kitchenware.
I was fascinated by the old decor and interiors that still were intact, and held their shape and form. The park has done a really great job of restoring what they could, while keeping the rustic charm of that era. These houses below are open to walk through and get a close look. It was crazy to see all the old dishes, lamps and mattresses! If you decide to book a formal tour, you can get a full walkthrough of the mill which includes information on how the gold was mined here, as well as some up close and personal viewings of the machine shop and electrical rooms.
A few fun facts about Bodie:
At one time there were 65 operating saloons and dance halls
There was an official red light district
Chinatown was created by the large number of Chinese residents
Lawlessness was common, including the legend of the "bad man of Bodie"
Bodie is named after William S. Bodey who discovered gold at the location
The Standard Pioneer Journal of Mono County was the official newspaper
200,000 annual visitors per year at this park
From gold rush to ghost town, take a step back in time and experience the old west! Address and Info:
Bodie Rd., Bridgeport, CA 93517
*Note, the park is fully protected, nothing can be collected or taken! Since the earthquake back in December 2016 a few sites might still be closed.