What? : Bodie State
Historic Park is an California gold-mining ghost town, own that once had a
population of nearly 10,000 people. This is probably the best-preserved gold-rush
era ghost town to visit.
Where? : The entrance
to Bodie road is located 7 miles south of Bridgeport on highway 395. Additional
30-minute drive (13 miles), part on a paved road part on unpaved a dirt road (3
miles) will bring you the old town site. This road is easily passable with a
two-wheel drive car.
When? : The site is
located 13 miles deep in the high elevated area (8375 feet) that covered with
snow during the winter months, check in advance for road conditions.
Due note 1: Once leaving
highway 395 plan for at list 3 hour visit in total.
Due note 2: Do not take
anything, all is under state park protection.
My thoughts: The last time
I visited Bodie was 22 years ago ... back then it was less
"regulated" but nothing damage the great experience visiting this amazing
well preserved ghost town.
The town is
named for Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of
gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1875, when a large vein of gold and silver
was discovered, the remote town start to boom. In it peek year 1879 it had mile-long
Main Street, 2,000 buildings, 200 restaurants and 60 saloons to serve between
6,000 and 10,000 miners. Only 2 years later, at 1881, when the gold run out the
mines were depleted and Bodie’s population evaporated. Ten years after its
peak, the town had fewer than 1,000 residents and by the mid-twentieth century it
was mostly empty.
In 1962 it became
a state historic park.
There is a small
pay station that will collect your park fees ($8 per adult, $5 per child). I
recommend buying the history guide to learn more about the history and the
specific buildings. You will park your car at the west side parking lot.
Bodie is a
ghost town, today it probably looks much the same as it did over 50 years ago
when the last residents left.
Because it is protected
state park the houses and buildings in the town are in relatively preserved and
in a reasonable condition.
about 10% of the original houses remains standing it looks like a big town, an easy
walk around town, go to main street and between the old houses. You can see almost
200 abandoned wooden buildings in the valley and surrounding hills to
photograph and explore.