• Groups & Weddings

California’s Great Beyond

Mono County

Places to Go

  • Devils Postpile
  • Yosemite National Park Reservation System
  • Hot Springs
  • Crowley Lake
  • Mammoth Lakes
  • Bridgeport Reservoir
  • Convict Lake
  • Green Creek
  • Lee Vining Creek
  • Mammoth Lakes Basin
  • McGee Creek
  • Owens River
  • Robinson Creek
  • Rock Creek Lake
  • Saddlebag Lake
  • Silver Lake
  • Virginia Lakes
  • East Walker River
  • West Walker River
  • Sonora Pass
  • Monitor Pass

can you visit bodie california

Bodie State Historic Park

Ghost town of the wild west.

Visiting Bodie is the most authentic way to see the real-life setting of the California gold rush. From 1877 to 1882, Bodie was a bustling town with close to 8,000 residents and produced more than $38 million in gold and silver. Today, with the gold mining days of California are a distinct memory, there are almost 200 abandoned wooden buildings in a state of "arrested decay" to photograph and explore. Peek in the windows of the church, schoolhouse, barbershop and saloon, where bottles, desks and other relics remain.

While Bodie is open year-round, the roads to the Park will close with snow. Before visiting, please visit the Bodie State Historic Park's website , check SR 270 conditions on the Caltrans Road Information website or call our office at 800-845-7922.

And, swing by the Bodie Foundation's Bodie Mercantile store in Bridgeport, CA  for Park information, as well as to shop for unique gifts, souvenirs, and more - with proceeds funding stabilization projects in the ghost town!

Bodie Church

Good to Know

Bodie State Historic Park is open 9am-6pm in summer (May 15th - Oct 31st) and 9am-3pm in the winter (Nov 1st - May 14th), and is best explored in warm weather in spring, summer and fall. Peak season is Memorial Day through Labor Day. 

There is a nominal entrance fee  of $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 4 to 17. Three and under are free. Credit card is accepted only at the entrance kiosk, although cash is preferred. If no one is present at the kiosk, please place cash or check in the self pay envelope located in the parking lot. 

Be sure to pack water and light snacks, as there are no services at the Park (restrooms are available). We also recommend bringing sunscreen, hat, and a jacket or layers (even in summer)! Bodie is located at a high elevation - 8,375 feet - and weather can be more extreme. There is also limited cell service.   

For more information, please call  Bodie State Historic Park at (760) 616-5040. 

Bodie Istock Image

How to get to Bodie

Bodie State Historic Park  of California is located in the Eastern Sierra in Mono County, close to Bridgeport, June Lake, Lee Vining, Mono Lake and the east entrance to Yosemite National Park. It is located in a remote area accessed by State Route 270, seven miles south-east of  Bridgeport .

From Hwy. 395 take State Route 270 east for 10 miles to the end of the pavement. Continue three miles on an unsurfaced road. Although these last three miles can at times be rough and reduced speeds are necessary, the road is suitable for most vehicles types.

And while the park is open year-round, SR 270 will close with snow. Please check weather and road conditions prior to visiting, and have plenty of gas. 

Driving precautions: In winter, many four wheel drive vehicles with chains get stuck each year in powdery snow. In spring, mud can be a problem. Local towing services, when available, can be costly. When the park is snowbound in winter (approximately November through May), it is accessible only by snowmobiles, cross country skis, or snowshoes. Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and white-out conditions are common. Snowmobiles must stay on designated roads in the Bodie Hills.

Bodie with windows

Best Time to Visit Bodie

Bodie is one of the best day trips in Mono County. For visitors staying in  Mammoth Lakes ,  Bridgeport ,  Yosemite ,  June Lake  or  Crowley Lake , Bodie takes about an hour to reach. It’s a fascinating alternative to today’s theme parks and something every one should see with their own eyes! 

Bodie with people

Bodie Foundation Events, Tours, and More

Enhance your visit with a tour - highly recommended!

Friends of Bodie Day  is held annually every August.  

Free History Talks  are offered daily.

Tickets for Stamp Mill tours are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day (no reservations required). Tickets are available at the museum. 

Photography Workshops  are offered throughout the year. 

Private Tours of the Town, Stamp Mill, Cemetery, Twilight Tours, and Mining District  are also available with advance reservations. Please see BodieFoundation.org for more information, and email [email protected] for advance reservations. 

Bodie Ghost Walks are offered three nights each summer - and sell out quickly! The park will be open to the public afterhours until 10pm during each Ghost Walk evening. A presale is offered to Boudie Foundation Members, then open to the general public, typically in March. Keep an eye on the Bodie Foundation website for more information and dates. 

By participating in these tours and Friends of Bodie Day, you’re helping the Bodie Foundation provide a constant stream of funding to keep the buildings in Bodie standing. Ask park staff or visit the website to become a member.

The Bodie Foundation is a 501(c)3  non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and public enjoyment of Bodie State Historic Park, Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, and Grover Hot Springs State Park. 

For more information: BodieFoundation.org 760-932-7574 [email protected]

The Bodie Foundation also operated the Bodie Mercantile store in Bridgeport, CA , offering Park information, as well as to shop for unique gifts, souvenirs, and more with proceeds funding stabilization projects in the ghost town. 

Bodie Hotels 

There are no lodging facilities at Bodie, but there is a variety of motels, cabins, hotels and resorts within 20-30 miles in the towns of Bridgeport and Lee Vining. Search lodging here .

Souvenirs? Only at the Gift Shop.

Bodie visitors will want to leave every nail, rock, and stick exactly as they see it. Everything in Bodie is part of the historic scene and is fully protected.  NOTHING   may be collected or removed from the park . Metal detectors are not allowed.

Bodie info:

(760) 616-5040

Bodie Links:

Bodie Foundation Bodie State Historic Park Bodie Brochure  with history, park information, and town map. 

  • Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar
  • Skip to footer

Travel Notes & Beyond logo

The Opinionated Travelogue of a Photo Maniac

  • Middle East
  • North America
  • South America
  • Pacific Islands
  • FOOD & WINE
  • TRAVEL GUIDES
  • TRAVEL RESOURCES
  • Rants & Raves
  • Travel Blogger Interviews
  • Contact Form
  • Privacy Policy
  • Featured Elsewhere

can you visit bodie california

How to Visit Bodie, California’s Most Authentic Ghost Town

Last Modified: August 23, 2023 //  by  Anda //   30 Comments

Welcome to Bodie, California’s most authentic ghost town! Located in the hills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, not too far from the incredible Mono Lake, Bodie is a beautiful reminder of the Wild West. But what you see today is a mere shadow of what was once a thriving gold-mining town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in Mono County.

Table of Contents

A Brief History of Bodie

Bodie – a gold-mining town with a bad reputation, how did bodie become a ghost town, what to expect in bodie ghost town, how to reach bodie ghost town, best time to visit bodie.

In 1861 a mill was established here and the town began to grow. It started with about 20 miners. Due to other strikes in the area Bodie’s development started very slowly, but it eventually boomed. 

the town of Bodie

By 1879 Bodie was a thriving, bustling place, containing some 600 to 800 buildings and a population of about 10,000 people. But with the growth of the population also grew the town’s bad reputation for wickedness and bad men.

Bodie Ghost Town

The town of Bodie was named after Waterman S. Bodey who discovered gold here in 1859. It’s not certain how the spelling of the town’s name came about. Some sources attribute it to an illiterate sign painter. Others claim the spelling was deliberately changed by the citizens to ensure proper pronunciation.

Kitchen in Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie was considered one of the most violent and lawless towns in the Wild West . Killings, staged robberies and street fights occurred almost every day. At some point there were about 65 saloons in town, numerous brothels, gambling halls and opium dens.  

Abandoned houses in Bodie ghost town

The story goes that one little girl, whose family was taking her to the infamous town, wrote in her diary: “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” The phrase became known throughout the West. Bodie had a bad climate reputation too: melting hot summers and savage winters, with winds that can sweep across the valley at close to 100 miles per hour.

Abandoned church in Bodie Ghost town

Bodie’s downfall was caused by a series of unfortunate events. The first one was a big earthquake that struck, causing severe damages to the main vein of the mine. The investors decided it would be too much trouble and cost to relocate it. Then, in 1892 a disastrous fire destroyed much of the town, followed by another devastating one several years later.

abandoned store in Brodie

Although some mining continued, Bodie was already dying. Its citizens were leaving. The town’s decline was also accelerated by the Prohibition and the Depression. By the 1950s all the mining ceased and Bodie became a ghost town. In 1962, after years of neglect, the Ghost Town of Bodie became a California Historic Site.

DSC_0271

They say that although over $75million in gold was taken from Bodie Butte, there is still as much gold left in the ground as it was taken out. However, water invaded the tunnels and shafts and the cost of mining would exceed the gold’s present day value. So for now, the gold will probably stay where it is.

DSC_0212

Today there are only 168 remaining structures in Bodie. Nonetheless, the town is one of the most authentic gold-mining towns of the Old West. In contrast with other ghost towns like Calico , or Jerome , which are more commercialized, Bodie looks really abandoned and isolated. It’s like an open-air museum where you see authentic structures from 160 years ago.

Bodie Ghost Town

Strolling through the quiet, dusty streets gives you a peek into the heart and soul of this town that was once bustling with life. The abandoned buildings and old furnishings stirred your imagination. You can almost envision those whose lives played out here over a century ago.

There are no commercial facilities at Bodie, or within 14 miles of the Historic Park. So if you are planning a visit you should bring your own food and water.

can you visit bodie california

Restrooms are located in the parking lot and the picnic area. There is no smoking allowed in the park, except in the parking lot. Certain areas in the park are uncertain and thus closed to the public.

Bodie State Park sits on the California/Nevada border of U.S. Highway 395, about 135 miles south of Reno. South Lake Tahoe is only about an hour away.

Reaching Bodie from the Highway 395 is quite difficult. The 270 Road leading to town is actually a dusty and bumpy dirt road. With so difficult access, it’s surprising that over 200,000 people come to visit Bodie every year.

Bodie ghost town make a great California getaway

The ghost town of Bodie is technically open year round. The hours of operation are: 9:00am to 4:00pm from November 1 to May 14, and 9:00am to 6:00pm from May 15 to October 31.

Bodie sits on a high altitude plateau, so weather-wise you can count on dry, hot summers and long, cold winters, filled with snow. In fact, Bodie is one of the coldest spots in the country.

visiting Bodie ghost town in winter

If you plan to visit Bodie in winter, you have to be aware that the road that takes you to town is not plowed. Even if you drive a 4-wheel car, I recommend you check the road conditions before making the trip. The best time to visit is from from spring to fall.

We visited the town in mid winter, when very few visitors were around. However, the place is quite vast so I can’t imagine it’s ever too crowded.

Costs are : $8 per adult, $5 children for 4 – 17; children 3 and under are free. Only cash or checks are accepted at the park entrance station.

Please share this article on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter .

can you visit bodie california

Anda is an award winning travel writer, avid globetrotter and passionate photographer. She is the voice behind "Travel Notes & Beyond," a collection of stories and travel impressions from her wanderings around the world. When she is not busy writing, traveling, or editing photographs, you can find her hiking in the foothills behind her house together with her husband and their dog.

can you visit bodie california

Reader Interactions

November 16, 2021 at 7:01 pm

My ex’s great great great uncle was a sheriff at Bodie and i know the history about what happen to the people there

November 17, 2021 at 4:53 pm

It must be very interesting to people who eye-witnessed of what happened in Bodie.

Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields

August 23, 2017 at 3:53 am

I have to laugh at your description of the ‘dusty’ road in to Bodie. It wasn’t dusty when we visited. It snowed the night before and we only just got through. I remember David talking on the phone to my brother (in Australia) asking, in jest, where all the heat and tumbleweeds that he had described to us were. He visited Bodie in the heat of summer and we were there in autumn. The several feet of snow on the ground was such a contrast to his hot and dusty experience .

Anda Galffy

August 23, 2017 at 10:54 am

I can imagine how difficult the road to Bodie must have been in a few feet of snow. I think it was very brave of you to attempt it in winter. That road is not serviced and if you get stuck there you may not even have phone reception to call for help.

Jim ~ ReflectionsEnroute

August 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

I’m surprised, and happy, that this hasn’t been commercialized. When I hear of ghost towns in California, I always think of Columbia which was an old ghost town that has been over-commercialized. I will certainly make my way to Bodie at some point in time. Thanks for linking in to

August 20, 2017 at 7:51 pm

I’ve never heard of a ghost town named “Columbia” in California, Jim. You made me really curious. I believe the one you are referring to is Calico. That one has really been commercialized.

August 19, 2017 at 11:34 am

This is a true ghost town. amazing to think this could exist today, Nice find!

Rhonda Albom

August 19, 2017 at 4:25 am

I like the sepia tone photos of Bodie. Thanks for the interesting history on this mining town. I’ve visited ghost towns but not this one.

Connie Reed

April 6, 2015 at 6:38 am

Bodie is on my itinerary for a trip I’m taking next month. Thanks for the preview of what I’ll see. I’m looking forward to it.

Sarah Ebner

February 19, 2015 at 4:55 am

Incredible story. We went to gold rush country some years ago and I found it absolutely fascinating – all these ghost towns had such a palpable sense of history about them.

Elaine J. Masters

February 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm

So evocative and what exquisite pictures. There’s nothing like visiting a ghost town and you found a real gem.

Packing my Suitcase

February 16, 2015 at 2:54 am

Wow Anda, your photos are stunning! Happy to have found your blog! Happy travels and have a great week. Allane

Mary {The World Is A Book}

February 15, 2015 at 9:44 pm

I have wanted to go to Bodie for a long time. It looks so interesting and all this history and information you provided is great. What a neat little town to visit.

February 15, 2015 at 7:01 pm

What a coincidence; my father-in-law was just talking about Bodie a few days ago. He has been there twice. As a long-time California resident he has seen his share of ghost towns and said this is the most authentic of all. Apparently the historical society has established a policy to keep Bodie exactly the way it was found and not do any restoration.

February 16, 2015 at 12:54 am

You are right, Linda. Bodie is being kept in a “state of arrested decay”

bettyl - NZ

February 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm

I love places like this. Your sepia editing makes it so much more realistic. I just found you and will be linking up sometimes soon 🙂

February 15, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Hope to see you here every week-end, Betty.

Suze the Luxury Columnist

February 15, 2015 at 5:12 am

I find these ghost towns like Bodie fascinating, we don’t have anything similar in the UK

February 15, 2015 at 6:18 pm

The reason the Wild West Ghost Towns are so fascinating is exactly because you can’t find them anywhere else, Suze. But don’t worry, you have other fascinating things in the UK that we don’t have here.

February 15, 2015 at 12:17 am

So interesting!! Ghost towns always strike me as ‘something typical for the US’ as it makes me think of westerns 😉 Ha,how about that stereotype! I have seem some ghost towns when I was in Nevada, impressive! Thanx for the link party!!

February 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm

You are welcome, Esther. Thanks for linking up.

February 14, 2015 at 1:29 pm

After winding up my road trip around the ghost towns of the Mojave I began reading a lot about Bodie. What an incredible piece of wild west history.

February 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Fascinating story, thank you for sharing! Was it eerie visiting it, to see an entire town with no one around?

February 14, 2015 at 10:56 am

I visited Bodie the second time after 2o years, and found it unchanged, except the presence of security vehicles and people. I think there still is gold there, and that is what they are there for, not the visitor’s safety! The views of the Sierras on the drive back to the highway are magnificent, and the place is a gold mine if just for the amount of stuff left over, witness of human struggle 150 years ago! Much has changed for the better!

February 14, 2015 at 6:27 am

I love old ghost towns! You’ve captured Bodie perfectly in your article and black & white pictures.

Marisol@TravelingSolemates

February 14, 2015 at 4:35 am

Hi Anda, very very interesting post. I heard about Bodie but didn’t learn about it in so much details until now. It sounds like a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s a true Ghost town indeed. It’s amazing to see the state they were left at and that they’re still intact. If I didn’t read your narratives, I would think this is a movie set. Your photos are beautiful – they capture the loneliness and the ghostly atmosphere of Bodie.

Steve Oliver

February 14, 2015 at 3:34 am

hi Anda, these are such great pictures! And a very interesting story.

How long is the dirt road into Bodie? Do you need a truck to drive it?

Thank you for hosting #TheWeeklyPostcard.

February 14, 2015 at 11:23 pm

The dirt road is about 13 miles. We had a 4-wheel drive truck, but if there is no snow you can manage with any car.

Lyn @thetravellinglindfields

February 13, 2015 at 9:37 pm

We visited Bodie years ago with our two boys. My brother had been there previously and told us we just had to go to see and feel the heat and desolation. He described tumbleweeds blowing along the street pushed along by hot gusty winds. When we arrived there was about three feet of snow covering everything. The road in was only just passable. We loved it – it felt so much like the ‘wild west’ but the contrast with my brother’s description of heat and drought couldn’t have been stronger.

February 13, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Indeed, Lyn, the climate is very extreme: torrid summers in contrast with very harsh winters. We were lucky to get a very mild weather when we visited (although it was February). Those poor people living in Bodie … can you imagine?

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All rights reserved © Travel Notes & Beyond. The material on this website is protected by copyright law. Republishing the content on this blog (including text, photography, etc.) is strictly prohibited.

Gold Award Winner

AFFILIATE PROGRAM DISCLOSURE

Some of the pages and posts of this blog contain links to products and services that may be useful for my readers. When clicking on these links you will have the option to purchase or register for a service at no extra cost to you, but doing so can help me offset the costs associated with running this blog. Thank you for your support!

can you visit bodie california

Bodie ghost town, California

Visiting Bodie California Ghost Town: Everything You Need to Know

This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Bodie California Ghost Town is a gold mining Wild West town that is frozen fascinatingly in time.

It is a 45-minute drive from the small town of Lee Vining and northeast of Yosemite National Park.

Bodie was a booming town during the gold rush and, in its heyday from 1877-1881, had a population of nearly 10,000 people.

The town was abandoned when the gold ran out, and in 1962 it became the Bodie State Historic Park. Ever since it has been preserved in a state of “arrested decay”.

It’s now possible to wander the deserted streets, which are much the same as they were over 50 years ago when the last residents left, often leaving their belongings behind.

Walking amongst the rusty iron machinery, past the old faded wooden buildings and peering through the saloon windows makes you feel as you’ve either stepped back in time or wandered onto a Hollywood film set.

Below, you will learn more about this stunning site, Bodie Ghost Town directions, where to stay, entrance fees and hours and some suggestions of things to do in and near Bodie Ghost Town.

At the bottom, you will find a Bodie California Map.

Video of Yosemite Highlights

Bodie state historic park entrance fee, bodie ghost town hours, bodie historic state park facilities, where is bodie ghost town: getting there from yosemite, where to stay near bodie california ghost town, bodie ghost town history, things to do in bodie ghost town, things to do near bodie ghost town, bodie california map, is bodie worth visiting, more california posts.

Bodie is easy to combine with Yosemite National Park. Check out this video for trip ideas.

Back to Contents

Entrance to Bodie Historic Park costs $8.00 per adult and $5.00 per child (ages 4 to 17). Infants 3 and under go free.

A Self Guided Tour Book is available for $3.00.

Please note that it is credit card only unless there is no one at the entrance kiosk, in which case you pay with cash in the self-pay envelope.

The park is open 9 am-6 pm (May-Oct) during the summer months.

Is Bodie Ghost Town Open in Winter?

Winter hours for Bodie Historic Park are from 9 am-3 pm (Nov-May).

However, even though Bodie is open all year round, I wouldn’t advise going in the winter. The Ghost Town sits on a high elevation (8375 feet), which means that the winter months can be unpredictable with severe weather and potentially treacherous road conditions.

Bodie has no commercial facilities purposefully to protect the ghost town atmosphere. So I recommend you bring your own food and water, especially during the summer.

There is a bookstore where you can book  daily tours and private tours .

Toilets are in the parking lot, and there is a picnic area.

Please note that everything in Bodie is fully protected. It is not permitted   to remove anything from the park. In fact, the Bodie Ghost Town curse is that bad luck will fall to those who take even a rock!

See Bodie State Historic Park for more visitor information.

Road leading to Bodie Ghost Town California

Bodie Ghost Town Directions

To get from Yosemite to Bodie Ghost Town, follow Highway 395 east for 13 miles, then Highway 270 east for 13 miles.

The last three miles of the drive are on a rough, bumpy, gravel track surrounded by bleak mountains, adding to the remote feel of the abandoned gold-mining ghost town.

It’s hard to imagine getting here by horse and buggy as Bodie’s residents once did.

Combined with Mono Lake , I highly recommend adding an extra night to visit the ghost town of Bodie while visiting Yosemite National Park in summer.

Visiting Bodie State Park California Distance/ Times

  • Yosemite Tioga Pass entrance/ exit – Bodie Ghost Town:  44.1 miles (71 km)/ 1 hr
  • Bodie Ghost Town – Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center:  41.6 miles (67 km)/ 1 hr 18 min
  • Bridgeport – Bodie Ghost Town: 46 miles (74 km)/ 2 hr
  • San Francisco – Bodie Ghost Town (via Sacramento):  296 miles (477 km)/ 6 hr 28 min
  • Sacramento – Bodie Ghost Town:  211 miles (340 km)/ 5 hr 11 min

There is a Bodie California map at the bottom of the post to give you an idea of the surrounding area.

Front of the Yosemite Gateway Motel in the centre of Lee Vining

We combined our trip to Bodie with a visit to Mono Lake , so we spent a night in the small town of Lee Vining which was a convenient base for both.

We stayed at  El Mono Motel , with its nicely furnished modern rooms, a small garden, and an onsite coffee shop. Rooms start from $84 per night.

You can also  search for accommodation in Lee Vining here . It makes a great base to explore the neighbouring Mammoth Lakes and the wider Eastern Sierra area.

Another great base would be Bridgeport, a charming town that is the gateway to Lake Tahoe and the surrounding region. Search Booking for accommodation in Bridgeport .

The history of Bodie is a fascinating tale.

During the California gold rush of the late 1800s, Waterman S. Bodey (AKA William Bodey) discovered gold in the nearby area.

The town sprung up not long afterwards and was subsequently named after him. Rumour has it that the misspelling was due to a sign painter.

Miners flocked here to make their fortune settling into the Bodie Hills, and Bodie became an instant boomtown with some massive gold strikes.

Inside the old gold mining mill in the abandoned ghost town of Bodie, California, at Bodie State Historic Park

By 1880 the gold mines had spread, and the town’s population reached 10,000 people. Bodie’s main street reached over a mile in length at its peak.

With its gambling halls and opium dens, the mining town became known as the “most lawless, wildest and toughest mining camp the far west has ever known”.

This website has some great  archive newspaper articles  transporting you back in time through Bodie Ghost Town history.

Why Was Bodie California Abandoned?

The prosperity didn’t last long, and within the early 1880s, people started to leave when the gold ran out.

Further bad luck was visited upon the town by two major fires in 1892 and 1932 when most buildings burnt to the ground.

In the 1950s, the last of Bodie’s residents abandoned the town altogether, some literally leaving all of their belongings behind.

In 1962 Bodie was designated a National Historic Site and became a State Historic Park.

The Bodie Foundation now supports this California State Park with the mission of preserving the remaining buildings in a state of “arrested decay”.

You can learn more about Bodie Ghost Town history here.

Is Bodie California Haunted?

It is easy to see why Bodie feels haunted.

Dinner plates are still set on tables, and clothes are hung on bedroom walls.

Rusty bedframe and mattress inside a home in Bodie Ghost Town in California

There are bottles and glasses left in the saloons and general store and post office shelves stocked with goods.

Shop front in the Ghost Town of Bodie

Peek into the schoolhouse, and you can still see the lesson written out in chalk on the blackboard.

It is all very atmospheric.

Wander further out where cars rot in the meadows and rusting iron machinery is scattered around the town.

It’s like the whole place stands waiting for the residents to return.

No wonder today Bodie is known as one of the best-preserved ghost towns giving you a window into life in the Old West.

  • Drive the scenic route to Bodie
  • Grab a guide from the kiosk and explore the park at your leisure, or join a guided tour
  • Photography – As you can imagine, the ghost town is a dream for any amateur photographer
  • Go on a Ghost Walk
  • See the stunning Tufa Towers at Mono Lake
  • Hike around Mono Lake or to the rim of  Panum Crater
  • Hire kayaks  at Navy Beach, south of Lee Vining
  • Explore the nearby  Mammoth Lakes  and the wider Eastern Sierra region

Yes absolutely! Bodie is a fascinating place that takes you back in time and is well worth adding to your  Yosemite National Park itinerary . It’s one of the best ghost towns in California.

It’s also close to Mono Lake’s stunning tufa towers, another fantastic place to visit.

  • The Best 3 Day Yosemite Itinerary for Summer
  • Mono Lake in California: Visit the Stunning Tufa Towers Near Yosemite
  • 15 Incredible Things to Do in Death Valley National Park – including another fascinating ghost town.
  • 14 Best Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Disneyland & California Adventure in One Day: An Itinerary for Adults
  • Florence Ave Sebastopol: Visiting Unique Junk Art Sculptures

Enjoyed this post? Pin for later!

Here's how to visit Bodie, a ghost town in California | california travel

20 Comments

I’ve been visiting Bodie since 1962. It’s difficult to remember that far back but I believe there were more buildings back then. Bodie is fascinating and worth the trip.

Reply ↓

I loved your article and pictures of Bodie, CA.!! I was there 50 years ago, and really enjoyed the pictures! Of course, it still looks the same, I guess I dont though! :( You must be a photographer because the pictures were really professional looking! Thank you! It really brought back memories!

It must be one of the few places in the world that hasn’t changed in 50 years! I’m glad you enjoyed your trip down memory lane :)

look like a haunted place..:)

What an awesome set of photos. I’ve heard of Bodie before, but actually seeing it in such detail through your pictures was fantastic! Great stuff, Erin.

Great writeup… your post really helped me in finalizing the visit to this ghost town of California… would try my hands & luck to get excellent photos like you. :-)

Excellent Photos, i would rather call it an abandoned Town rather then Ghost. Thanks for sharing!

I definitely agree that it looks like a movie set! Nice photos!

Great photos! I love finding old and odd sights like this!

Thanks for sharing

I visited Bodie recently. It brings rather weird and hard to describe feelings. Best enjoyed in quiet contemplation of course.

Creepy! It looks like a movie set. Weird how they charge you to visit though… does the money actually go towards maintaining it?

Yes it does. It’s a state park and hasn’t been commercialised. I think it’s fair enough as it’s important to protect it.

This place looks like a photographers dream. Were there major restrictions on how close you could get? Was there anyone enforcing them?

There are mostly no restrictions. Some buildings are close but others you are free to walk through. It is wonderful for photographers!

It’s such a strange feeling seeing bits of people’s lives just hanging in time… “Arrested decay” really captures that sensation, as do your gorgeous photos!! It’s impossible not to get sucked in by the atemporality of the place..

Fantastic photos! Bummed out we skipped Bodie when we visited that part of the world last year – the usual too much to see and not enough time… We only heard about it in June Lake, and folks seemed really enthusiastic. Need to go back and check it out :) Good luck!

A good excuse to go back to the area!

I loved Bodie and it definitely felt eerie, especially when looking through the windows. I kept expecting to see a ghost. It is definitely the best ghost town that I have ever been to

It definitely exceeded our expectations, especially for a place I hadn’t heard of previously.

Wow … California seems to have some of America’s best ghost towns … thanks for the tour!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published. By clicking the Submit button, you give consent for us to store your information for the purposes of displaying your comment and you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy .

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

css.php

Bodie State Historic Park

can you visit bodie california

Top ways to experience Bodie State Historic Park and nearby attractions

can you visit bodie california

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

GPJ

Also popular with travelers

can you visit bodie california

Bodie State Historic Park - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

The Atlas Heart

Bodie Ghost Town: Everything to Know About Visiting California’s Most Famous Ghost Town

* This article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you.

TL;DR: We loved visiting Bodie Ghost Town to learn about gold rush history in an eerie, old, “cursed” town. This abandoned mining town of over 200 preserved buildings in Mono County is situated along an unpaved road that sometimes closes in winter. You’ll pay a small entrance fee and then be able to explore the photogenic western town and listen to free history talks.

Bodie State Historic Park is one of California’s best preserved ghost towns. 

Situated on the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada, this Old West town encapsulates California gold rush history in a state of “arrested decay.” 

Below, I’ve created a complete guide to everything you need to know about visiting California’s most famous ghost town . 

From Bodie State Park facts to road conditions, tour options, and the *curse of Bodie* (insert scary music), you’ll be prepped for the best Bodie experience possible after reading this article.

Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

bodie state park

Table of Contents

Bodie State Park Practical Info

bodie state park practical info

  • Address: Bodie State Historic Park, CA-270, Bridgeport, CA 93517
  • Year established : 1859
  • Entrance fee : $8/adults and $5/kids (kids three and under are free). You can pay with a credit card at the kiosk, but if no one is there, you can place cash in the self-pay envelope in the parking lot.
  • Hours : 9am-6pm (May 15-Oct 31), 9am-4pm (Nov 1-May 14)
  • Amenities: Picnic area, flush toilets, museum (with bookstore). There are no commercial facilities (i.e., food and gas) at Bodie to preserve the ghost town atmosphere. 
  • Park website

Where is Bodie State Park in California?

where is bodie state park in california

Bodie State Historic Park is located east of Highway 395 on the east side of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. It lies between Bridgeport and Lee Vining in Mono County.

For a broader context, Mono County is north of Death Valley , northeast of Yosemite National Park , and south of Lake Tahoe .

How to Get to Bodie State Historic Park

how to get to bodie state historic park

Bodie ghost town is 13 miles down state route CA-270, off Highway 395. All but the last three miles are paved roads. 

Note that these last three miles can be difficult at times, especially after rain or snow. It can even become unpassable in winter and may close down.

That said, it’s perfectly fine for any type of car during most of the summer. 

From San Francisco : Take I-580 E to CA-120 E to CA 108E. Go south on US-395 before taking CA-270 E to Bodie.

From Sacramento : Take CA-99 S to US-50E and then to CA-89 S before getting onto US-395 and then CA-270 E to Bodie. 

From Yosemite National Park : Take US-120 E to Lee Vining and turn north on US-395 before turning east onto CA-270 E to Bodie. 

From Death Valley: Take CA-190 W to CA-136 N towards Lone Pine. Take US-395 N past Mammoth Lakes and Lee Vining and turn east onto CA-270 E to Bodie. 

Things to See and Do in Bodie State Historic Park

Methodist church.

methodist church

In my opinion, the Methodist church in Bodie ghost town is one of the better-preserved buildings.

Built in 1882, the Methodist church survived several fires that consumed the Catholic church. 

While you’re there, ask a ranger about the two clergymen who lived in Bodie ghost town: Reverend Hinkle and Father Cassin. 

J.S. Cain House

j.s. cain house

James S. Cain was a prominent businessman in Bodie. His abandoned house sits at the corner of Park and Green Streets and is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a Chinese maid. 

Park rangers still live in the house (that would be a big no thanks from me), and they report that while the ghost doesn’t like adults, she loves children. 

Swazey Hotel

swazey hotel

The Swazey Hotel is so picturesque because it’s slanted. Miners constructed these buildings in a hurry, after all.

There are some wooden supports on one side to keep it propped up. Over the years, this building has housed a clothing store, casino, and the Swazey.

General Store

general store

One of my favorite buildings to look inside is the general store because the goods still line the shelves! 

You can see wooden buckets of sweets, canned goods, and the old cash register ready for business. 

Dechambeau Hotel and I.O.O.F.

dechambeau hotel and i.o.o.f

On your walk through this California ghost town, you’re bound to notice the pink brick building next to a wooden structure standing by itself. 

The brick building was the Dechambeau Hotel, which featured the Bodie Cafe–one of the last businesses in operation before the town closed. Note: some sources list the pink brick building as the old post office as well. 

To the right of the brick building is the I.O.O.F. Building, which stands for Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

If you squint, you can still see those letters etched above the windows. This building served as a gym and meeting hall. 

Firefighting Station

firefighting station

You can still see the old, horse-drawn firefighting wagons displayed in Bodie.

The town used to host an annual “Firefighter’s Ball” at the Union hall to raise money for uniforms and equipment for the firefighters.

Bodie Morgue

bodie morgue

You haven’t really visited Bodie until you’ve checked out the morgue.

The Bodie morgue was built in 1910 and purportedly was originally a photography studio, hence the bright interior paint and fancy wallpaper. 

Today, you’ll see dilapidated coffins strewn throughout the building. 

Henry Ward was the undertaker and the cabinet maker in town. A park ranger at Bodie made this video inside the morgue–it starts to get good around 2:50.

Standard Mine and Mill

standard mine and mill

No trip to a gold mining town in California is complete without a stop at the gold mine and mill that made the town, right?

Today, you can take a tour of the mill  (only available between May and October.)

Take a Tour

take a tour

The Bodie Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving Bodie, offers many fun tours.

Free History Talks

These are held most days at 10 am and 4 pm. Double-check at the entrance kiosk when you arrive.

Stamp Mill Tour

$6/person, most days at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. 

Private Town Tours

These are pricey. It’s a minimum of $200 for groups from 1-4, and $50 for each additional person. The tour is two hours long. 

Twilight Tours

From 5-7 pm May through September, you can get an after-hours tour of this far west town. 

Ghost Walks

You can take a nighttime Bodie Ghost Walk tour for three nights only. The tickets go quickly, and the pre-sale begins in March (I’m totes going to be looking out for these next year!). 

There’s an astronomy program, too, once the ghost walking is over.  

Practice Photography

practice photography

Ghost towns provide a natural backdrop for photography. Check out Bodie Foundation’s workshops if you’re gung-ho about Bodie photography.

Photography Workshops

These workshops allow you to access the interior of some buildings (with an escort, of course). The proceeds from these workshops directly help Bodie preservation projects.

Where to Stay Near Bodie Ghost Town

where to stay near bodie ghost town

There isn’t a campground in Bodie State Park ghost town, but there are many camping options or hotels near Bodie. 

Mammoth Lakes Condo (1 hr 15 mins): Mammoth Lakes is a charming little mountain town south of Bodie ghost town on Highway 395. Mammoth Lakes is close to June Lake, another popular tourist destination. 

Virginia Creek Settlement (33 mins): Virginia Creek Settlement in Bridgeport, CA offers rustic accommodations and an Italian restaurant on-site, all within 30 minutes of the ghost town of Bodie.

Lundy Canyon Campground (42 mins): Lundy Canyon Campground, north of Lee Vining, CA, off Highway 395, offers the best camping near Bodie State Park.

History of Bodie State Park

history of bodie state park

The land currently known as Bodie State Historic Park was the traditional homeland of the Western Mono, Washoe, and Northern Paiute tribes. 

Today, people visit to walk the deserted streets of this abandoned California mining town known as Bodie. 

Waterman S. Body discovered gold in the hills north of Lee Vining in 1859. Although he died before he could earn a fortune from it, the location of the gold didn’t remain a secret. 

In the 1870s, the nearby Bunker Hill Mine hit pay dirt and was profitable for the next 25 years. 

By 1879, the small town had boomed to a population of 10,000. Like many Wild West towns in the gold rush era, Bodie developed a reputation for lawlessness.

At its peak, Bodie had over 60 saloons, gambling halls, opium dens, three breweries, and a red light district–like an Old West version of Las Vegas.

Streetfights and murders were, apparently, an almost daily occurrence here. Despite the danger, several tamer businesses also existed, including a post office, two churches, and a school.

The gold and silver couldn’t last forever, however. By 1882, the town’s population had declined significantly. 

By 1886, only 1,500 residents remained and a massive fire in 1892 pretty well ended Bodie’s productive history. 

By 1942, the last residents left this Old West town for good. 

In 1962, Bodie ghost town was designated a state historic park and a National Historic Landmark.

Park managers have chosen to leave this national historic site in a “state of arrested decay,” which means they’re allowing Bodie to remain as is without any major renovations.

Bodie State Park Weather & Best Time to Visit

bodie state park weather best time to visit

The best time to visit Bodie State Park is in the late spring, summer, and early fall.

Bodie State Park’s elevation is relatively high (8,375 ft), so the winter can be snowy with an impassible dirt road.

Tips for Visiting Bodie State Historic Park

tips for visiting bodie state historic park

Check Road Conditions in Winter

If you’re visiting in winter, check the Bodie State Historic Park website and the Caltrans Road Information website (for SR 270), or call the Mono County Information Office at 800-845-7922.

State Route 270 closes in winter when there’s enough snow accumulation.

Don’t Take ANYTHING

Theft has been a problem at Bodie for decades. Bodie ghost town is a historic site, so please don’t collect any informal souvenirs while walking the grounds. 

Not only does this diminish the park’s historical value, but you will be cursed. 

Seriously, the curse of Bodie says that if you take anything, you’ll bring misfortune upon yourself. 

Don’t take my word for it. Read through the hundreds of remorseful letters and packages sent back to Bodie over the years. 

“You can have these godforsaken rocks back. I’ve never had so much rotten luck in my life. Please forgive me for ever testing the curse of Bodie.” –2004 Letter to Bodie

Sadly, even if you mail your stolen item back, park staff can’t just “put it back.” 

They have no idea where you took it from, so that item will sit in a closet from then on, and no one will be able to enjoy seeing it in context.

Check the Entrance Hours

Unlike many California state parks , which are usually open 24/7, you can’t visit Bodie ghost town at night. 

The reason is for both the park and public protection. The summer hours (May 14-October 31) are 9 am-6 pm, and the winter hours (Nov 1-May 14) are 9 am-4 pm.

Fun Facts About Bodie State Park

fun facts about bodie state park

  • The town of Bodie mined more than 38 million dollars in gold and silver.
  • There are almost 200 abandoned buildings in Bodie ghost town. 
  • Many Chinese immigrants worked in Bodie at its peak.
  • Several buildings on Main Street were moved there from other parts after the July 1892 fire.
  • A two-year-old boy playing with matches started the 1932 fire. This fire destroyed 95% of the buildings in Bodie.
  • Bodie’s building interiors remain intact, with shelves still stacked with goods and furniture.

FAQs About Bodie State Historic Park

faqs about bodie state historic park

Why is Bodie State Park so cold?

Bodie State Park is so cold because of its high elevation. In Northern California, at an elevation of more than 8,300 feet, it can get very chilly. So, bring a jacket when you visit.

Is Bodie worth visiting?

Absolutely! The small town of Bodie, California is the best-preserved ghost town of the California Gold Rush . 

With nearly 200 abandoned buildings still standing in a state of arrested decay, you’ll get a vivid sense of what the gold rush in California was like.

Is the road to Bodie paved or do you need a 4WD?

Bodie ghost town is 13 miles down State Route 270, east of US-395. All but the last three miles are paved roads, and you usually don’t need 4WD. 

With that said during the winter season and the days after rainstorms can be difficult to drive the road to Bodie. Always stay on designated roads.

What is the curse of Bodie?

This gold mining ghost town is one of the only California state parks that comes with a curse.

As it goes, anyone who takes anything–even a rock–from the far west town of Bodie will experience bad luck, illness, and mysterious accidents. 

About once a week, Bodie State Park receives a remorseful letter from a “cursed” person who foolishly takes something from the site.

Who founded Bodie?

Bodie, CA was founded by Waterman S. Body in 1859 after discovering gold in the hills north of Mono Lake. The town, Bodie, is a slight misspelling of Mr. Body’s actual name.

Why did Bodie, California become abandoned?

why did bodie california become abandoned

Bodie, California became abandoned due to a combination of factors. The primary reason is that the gold and silver in the Bodie Hills dried up. 

Second, two massive fires damaged significant parts of the town in 1892 and 1932.

When did Bodie, California become a ghost town?

Bodie, California became a ghost town in 1942 when the last residents left the Old West town for good.

Is Bodie, California haunted?

The Wild West ghost town of Bodie is definitely haunted. I mean, if you believe in that kind of thing. 

In its heyday, street fights and murders were almost daily, so it’s not lacking angry spirit material. There have been numerous ghost sightings in many of Bodie’s buildings.

Is Bodie Ghost Town open?

Bodie ghost town is open all year. However, in the winter months, the road to Bodie may close.

In winter, you can access Bodie State Historic Park via snowshoe or snowmobile.

How much time do you recommend visiting Bodie Ghost Town?

There’s a lot to see in this small town! Plan to spend at least half a day exploring Bodie.

What’s there to do near Bodie, California?

The Old West town of Bodie is just east of Yosemite National Park, south of Lake Tahoe, and north of Mammoth Lakes, so there is *plenty* to do around Bodie ghost town.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author bio - Meredith Dennis

Meredith Dennis

Meredith is a biologist and writer based in California’s Sierra Nevada. She has lived in 6 states as a biologist, so her intel on hiking and camping is *chef’s kiss* next level. One of her earliest camping memories was being too scared to find a bathroom at night on a family camping trip. Thankfully, she’s come a long way since then and she can help you get there too!

Planning a Sierra Nevada vacation? Check out these related articles below!

Best Hot Springs in & Near the Mammoth Lakes Area 

Best California Hot Springs to Soak In

Lake Tahoe Camping Guide

Best Lake Tahoe Hikes

Where to Find the Best Camping in Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia National Park Camping

Best Hikes in Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon

Best Campgrounds in Yosemite National Park

bodie state park guide pin

Pin this image for future reference

can you visit bodie california

Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

2 thoughts on “Bodie Ghost Town: Everything to Know About Visiting California’s Most Famous Ghost Town”

Is bike riding inside bodie ok?

Very well written and informative. Thank you. My friend is coming to visit from Florida in August and I wanted/will plan a day trip from Reno, Nevada for us. It sounds like a terrific place for us to visit. Mom wants to come along as well😃

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

can you visit bodie california

The Atlas Heart is a California travel website dedicated to showing you the best of the Golden State from a local perspective.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

©2024 The Atlas Heart

All-American Atlas

Bodie, California: Must-Read Tips for Visiting the Ghost Town

Bodie, California: today, one of the most famous ghost towns in the US, but back in the day, one of the most active boomtowns in the American West.

It’s a town frozen in time, now known as Bodie State Park after being bought by the state of California, and visitors to this unique place will discover the secrets and strife of the people who lived here during the California Gold Rush.

Wander through Bonanza Street to find dilapidated buildings with a ton of stories to tell, or peer into the Bodie jail and imagine the criminals who must have been housed here in the wild days of the California mines.

Bodie california

Bodie the ghost town is a far cry from what it was when it reached its highest population of around 8,000 (now it’s just home to a couple of park rangers who look after it), but it’s one of the most unique things to do in California and truly a memorable day trip from nearby Yosemite .

And the photos you can get will really put your California Instagram captions to work!

Where is Bodie, California?

Bodie is on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains (ie, in the middle of nowhere), 7 miles south of Bridgeport.

Address: Highway 270, Bridgeport CA 93517

Bodie california

The Boom Town History of Bodie, California

Bodie, California was once an incredibly active mining town on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

In 1859, a man named W.S Bodey from New York (remember: back in the Gold rush days, people would come from far and wide!) discovered gold in the area.

Bodie california

This set off a flurry of activity and newcomers to the area, and while he didn’t live to see the town being built, it was named “Bodie” after him.

For decades, mining in the area grew, but it wasn’t quite the boom that would happen in 1875 when a body of gold ore was discovered in Bodie.

Bodie california

And what happens when you say “there’s gold here!”?

Well, everyone comes running!

Bodie’s boomtown days began in 1875 and continued until the late 1800s.

The population likely reached around 8,000 people, most of them miners and merchants.

Bodie california

In addition, some men brought their families and women and children made up an important part of Bodie (you can see the old schoolhouse today).

Bodie california

The reputation of the area wasn’t something to be proud of, as it got a name for attracting rougher crowds and men with few morals.

Saloons with drinks a plenty and opium dens thrived, and while some found gold and other precious minerals, others were lost to shootouts, violence, and the incredibly difficult weather conditions.

Bodie california

So basically, it was like one long party with a lot of really rich and really poor people living together in the mountains.

Surprised it didn’t last!

Bodie california

Why is Bodie California Abandoned?

The answer is simple.

As fast as it boomed, the town’s population began to decline once the boom year were over and many mines were unsuccessful.

There was no point in people sticking out the harsh conditions, fires, and general rowdiness of the town when they didn’t have anything to show for it.

Mining continued until 1942, but the population was dwindling fast.

Bodie california

James S. Cain was the last major landowner in Bodie, and his family hired people to protect the town from vandals, but it had stopped functioning as a working, thriving, town.

Instead, it was now a ghost town, and over the years the dust has only increased on the household items, schoolbooks, clothing, and storefronts that were simply frozen in time when people up and left.

Bodie california

Unlike Pioneertown , which is a Hollywood version of a Western town, Bodie is a real ghost town.

Today, it’s visited by curious modern-day sightseers who want to catch a glimpse of old mines and shootout corners, but in the late 1800s, it was a rough and tumble boomtown where thousands of men and some women and children worked tirelessly in the mines in hope of striking it rich.

Bodie california

What to See in Bodie

Bodie is left in a state of “arrested decay,” meaning that park rangers will stabilize the structures and conserve the artifacts, but will never fix anything in the town to a standard that it wasn’t when it became a state park.

Bodie california

This means that everything that you find really was left like that, or decayed in the harsh winters over time, and you can get right up close to many windows and inside homes to discover all that their owners left.

When you first get to Bodie there is a basic parking lot and some restrooms (but no cafes or anything like that), as well as a sign that gives you the history of Bodie.

If you don’t have the self-guided map, you simply walk around through all of the town (well, what’s left of it – about 5% of the original town still stands).

If you do have the self-guided map (we recommend it), you can learn more about each stop along the way.

Bodie california

For instance, you’ll come across a Methodist Church, Bodie’s only church that’s still standing (the others burned).

There are plenty of homes, like the J.S Cain Residence, which was home to the family that eventually sold Bodie to California State Parks in 1962.

Bodie california

Check out the red barn, the morgue, and the old barbershop.

The Miners Union Hall is now a museum, the only one in Bodie, and it served as a meeting place for the miners and hosted everything from parties to school recitals.

Bodie california

At one point you can stand in the spot of a shootout and then see where he was hung (yes, there were no rules in the Wild West!).

Bodie california

Check out the schoolhouse and other artifacts left inside some of the homes, including dishes covered in dust, reading glasses, and schoolbooks.

Bodie california

Much of what you’ll find will be ruins.

Bodie had a problem with fires, with two big ones burning in 1892 and then again in 1932.

You can see the Firehouse that still stands.

Bodie california

Then, there’s the mill, an ominous looking structure that is off limits to visitors due to the area being unsafe to walk through.

This was the Standard Mill, and it was the most successful of the 30 mining companies operating out of Bodie.

Here, the gold ore was discovered in 1875, setting off the rush to the town.

Bodie california

Bodie State Park FAQs

How to get to bodie.

The only way to get to Bodie is to drive, and you aren’t going to want to bring your most precious car because the unpaved road can do a number on it!

Bodie california

You’ll find it off of Highway 395.

Take State Road 270 east, about 10 miles, and then you’ll hit the final 3 miles which is essentially just a curvy, unpaved road.

can you visit bodie california

Make sure to fill up on gas before you take the turn onto 270, as there are no services along the way and getting stuck would be an unwelcome part of your trip to California.

Gas is expensive in the area (even more so than in the rest of California), but don’t do what we did and have to pray to the Bodie gods that we should have enough gas to get back to the highway safely!

How Much Does it Cost to Get Into Bodie?

Bodie costs $8 per adult and $5 for children, and there is a small charge if you want the self-guided map that tells you about each individual dwelling.

Bodie california

Bodie Opening Days and Hours

Bodie is open all year-round, with opening hours from May to October being 9am to 6pm, and the rest of the year from 9am to 3pm.

Bodie california

How Long to Spend in Bodie

Bodie is a fantastic day trip, and while there are a lot of buildings to see, it can be done in a couple of hours because most are not open to go inside.

We spent about 2 hours there, but you could do it in 1 if you wanted to just stop by on a road trip.

Equally, you could spend an entire afternoon or morning there if you wanted to take your time, but you wouldn’t need the entire day.

Bodie california

When Should You Visit Bodie?

Bodie is so far off the beaten path that it’s best visited in the late Spring, summer, or early Fall months.

The weather at other points in the year can be unpredictable and incredibly cold, and you don’t want to be snowed in on a day’s visit unless you have snowmobiles or snowshoes.

Bodie california

Does Anyone Still Live in Bodie, California

The only people who live in Bodie today are a couple of park rangers who tend to the place and accept the entrance fees.

Bodie is no longer a working town (which you’ll soon see when you see how many buildings are basically on the ground!)

Bodie california

What to Pack for a Day Trip to Bodie

There are no stores, gas stations, or services of any kind in Bodie except for some bathrooms, and it’s in such a high altitude that the weather can change very quickly.

We arrived in the sun and were taking off our sweaters (in October), but by the time we left around 3pm, the sky had turned, the wind had whipped up, and we had never been colder!

Bodie california

Make sure to pack these essentials for a trip to Bodie:

  • Portable phone charger – not only is there not really any cell service in Bodie, but of course there’s nowhere to charge things. Make sure you have a portable phone charger like this one just for emergencies and future GPS use once you leave Bodie.
  • Reusable water bottle – fill up a reusable water bottle and take it with you to stay hydrated (I love filtration ones like these )
  • Sturdy shoes – this is a ghost town and sturdy footwear is the best idea to make sure you’re staying safe, not tripping over any debris, and generally prepared for time in the Sierra Nevadas
  • Sunscreen – in the summer months, the elevation means that you’re going to experience sunburn even faster than you do at sea level, so lather on that sunscreen (I love this reef safe brand )

Pin for later!

can you visit bodie california

Get the All-American Travel Secrets!

Don't miss out on America's hidden gems!

I agree to receive email updates and promotions.

About The Author

' src=

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Bodie, California: The Best Ghost Town in the West

can you visit bodie california

Betsy Malloy Photography

Bodie, California, is perhaps one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the western United States. It was once home to more than 10,000 gold-seekers. The wild, wide-open gold mining town was so bad that some thought even God had forsaken it.

Today, it has almost 200 structures still standing. The town is preserved in a state of "arrested decay," which means they don't repair anything. They don't let anything collapse, either. Bodie appeals to most everyone who shows up there, but especially to those who enjoy stories of the Gold Rush and Old West.

Bodie, California Review

Bodie ghost town became a California state park in 1962. During California's fiscal crisis, Friends of Bodie pitched in to keep it open. We applaud their initiative and if you do, too, you can donate at their website .

So much of old Bodie remains that it's easy to imagine the rest, with houses and businesses lining the streets. The church, a residence, and a few other buildings are usually open to the public, as is the museum. Occasionally, costumed docents walk the streets, adding to the atmosphere. Free tours can take you inside the old ore-processing stamp mill. Others take you around town to learn more about its history.

We've been in bunches of ghost towns all over the west and Bodie is - by a large margin - the most fun. They don't have fake gunfights on the main street or musical shows in the saloon. Instead, this is the place to get the best idea of how a gold rush town might have looked. And even better: within limits, you're free to wander around at your pace.

If you're a photographer, bring plenty of media and plan to stay a long time.

Be Prepared

You'll likely end up spending more time in Bodie than you expected. The elevation makes it dry, and you'll get thirsty. You can buy bottled water at the museum, but no food is available.

Bodie is at 8,375 feet elevation. Because of its altitude and desert location, the air in Bodie, California is exceptionally dry, and sunburn risk is high.

What You Need to Know About Going

The state park is open daily, but hours vary by season. Bodie is accessible only by over-snow vehicles in winter. The park charges an entrance fee. If

If you want to take a tour, head for the museum right away when you arrive to sign up

Plan to spend several hours to all day, depending on whether you take any guided tours. During summer, Bodie is open longer than in winter. They give more tours, but it can get hot at mid-day. For the best photographs, stick around as late as you can.

Getting There

Don't pay too much attention to the official address. Bodie, California, is actually located 13 miles east of US 395 between Lee Vining and Bridgeport. The first 10 miles of road is paved and take about 15 minutes to drive. The last 3 miles of dirt road seem to be perpetually washboarded and can take 10 minutes or more to cross.

The drive to Bodie, California is not recommended for anyone with severe back or neck problems or any other condition that could be aggravated by the bumps. That isn't just one of those cheesy warnings that's required by law. Take it from someone who's driven it more than once.

8 Spookiest Ghost Towns in California

The Best Small Town in Every State

Scenic California Drives: 7 Routes That Will Make You Swoon

Take a Road Trip on Scenic Highway 395

The 15 Best State Parks in California

12 Best Small Towns in Colorado

Summer in California: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

The Spookiest Road Trips in the United States

How to Plan a Weekend Getaway to Death Valley

7 of the Best Road Trip Destinations for Gem Hunting

Top 10 Haunted US Destinations for the Halloween Lover

Ventura County Beaches

The 10 Best Ski Towns in the US

San Diego Getaway

The 12 Best Bicycling Paths in California

Best of the West: Top Tourist Destinations

Check out videos on hundreds of California adventures

California Through My Lens

Bodie State Historic Park: California’s Best Ghost Town

The ghost town of Bodie is one of California’s most historic and well-preserved ghost towns. It is one of those spots that you have to experience for yourself as there is so much to see and so much history to take in. I will tell you the main details and how to get there, but pretty much this post will be photography documenting what I saw there and a huge recommendation to go and check it out. Here is all the information on Bodie and let me know what you think in the comments.

Bodie-5

  • Cost: $10 to enter (as of 2018)
  • Hours: Summer hours 9 am – 6 pm (March 18th to October 31st), Winter hours 9 am to 4 pm (November 1st to March 17th)
  • Information as of 2018

Here is a video I made of my last trip to Bodie.

Getting There

can you visit bodie california

While traveling up Highway 395, north of Tioga Pass, you will want to look for Highway 270, which is your exit for the long winding road to Bodie. This road continues to climb for 15 minutes before it becomes a two-lane dirt road for the remaining 3 miles. This road is easily passable with a two-wheel drive car during most of the year, but when there is a good rain, you may want to call and ask how the road is. 

can you visit bodie california

Once you get to the top of the dirt road, the town of Bodie will come into view, and you will arrive at the small pay station that will collect your money. I recommend investing in the history guide that they have there for a couple of bucks as it is a fun walking map that you can take as you explore the city. After being ushered to the parking lot, you will start your exploration.

Bodie-12

History was taken from here :

Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a city that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. 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, a mine cave-in revealed pay dirt, which led to purchasing of the mine by the Standard Company in 1877. People flocked to Bodie and transformed it from a town of a few dozens to a boomtown. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, the remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of “arrested decay.” Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds, and an occasional ghost.

Bodie-20

This wonderful ghost town is an example of why it is fantastic to have a service like CA State Parks protecting an area like this. I have never seen a ghost town as well-preserved as Bodie, down to mattresses and beds still in buildings, and jars and cans sitting in windowsills. It appears as if the residents have only been gone for a decade or so and not for over a century. Here are some of my favorite spots:

Bodie-1

I loved the old church that you see right as you are walking into town. I am sure this was a place both loved and hated back in the heyday of Bodie crime. It is well-preserved and still has the pews inside.

Bodie-2

You can walk right up to the door and peer into the building through the fence as well. Being able to look inside buildings is one of the things I loved about Bodie, it gives you an excellent opportunity to see some of the artifacts that have been left behind.

The Post Office and Museum

Bodie-8

Right on the main downtown street sits the old post office and saloon, which is now a museum/visitor center for all of the unique stuff they found while searching Bodie. Everything from bank ledgers to old photographs are on display here, and the facade of the building from the outside is beautiful to see.

Bodie-7

The Stamp Mill

Bodie-10

Across the park from the museum sits the old stamp mill on the hillside. Unfortunately, you cannot get too close to the stamp mill without taking an official tour. 

can you visit bodie california

I got a chance to take a tour of the stamp mill on my last trip to Bodie, and I recommend the tour as it is a lot of fun and a great spot to explore.

can you visit bodie california

The tour took about an hour, and it went all through the inside of the stamp mill.

can you visit bodie california

Of course, with a town of this size, there are quite a few houses. Some are in a state of disregard, while others are well-preserved. Some you can even go into, while others you just have to look at from outside.

Bodie-15

Each one has its charm though, and I recommend exploring everything you can. Here is what an interior of one of the houses looks like.

Bodie-3

The Old Machinery

Bodie-17

Right near the parking lot is a collection of old machinery that was used in the mining operations of Bodie. Some of it is massive, and I had no idea what any of it did. It reminded me of the gears you can see on top of Echo Mountain in Southern California, which I enjoyed photographing as well.

The Bank Vault

Bodie-14

I loved seeing this unique spot where the bank vault is, it was the only part remaining of the old bank on the outskirts of town. It says something about the craftsmanship to have the entire building gone but the vault is sitting there as if it was never even touched. 

The Graveyard

Bodie-19

On the outskirts of the park, there is also a graveyard with a lot of ancient graves. It is somewhat of a walk to get to, but it is worth it to see the old cemetery.

A Few More Photos

As if the above was not enough, check out the rest of these photos that show you why you need to visit this awesome spot. 

Bodie-18

All in all, Bodie is a fantastic historical attraction in California and one that I highly recommend you visit. It is worth the cost to help them continue to preserve this beautiful ghost town for future generations, and I would love to hear what your favorite spot is in the comments below. I look forward to going back and spending more time exploring here in the future. Side note – if you are heading south and looking for a food spot, you can do worse than stopping at Whoa Nellie Deli for some fish tacos.

Similar Posts

La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

John Steinbeck’s Museum & House in Salinas

John Steinbeck’s Museum & House in Salinas

Robin’s Restaurant: Amazing Lunch in Cambria

Robin’s Restaurant: Amazing Lunch in Cambria

Big Stump Trail & Picnic Area: Home of the Mark Twain Stump in Kings Canyon National Park

Big Stump Trail & Picnic Area: Home of the Mark Twain Stump in Kings Canyon National Park

Angel Island State Park: Hiking the Perimeter Trail

Angel Island State Park: Hiking the Perimeter Trail

Partington Cove: A Beautiful Hike in Big Sur

Partington Cove: A Beautiful Hike in Big Sur

Jump to navigation

Visit California logo

For the latest on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)  click here

Error message

  • Lingotek profile ID 4 not found.
  • Lingotek profile ID 3 not found.

Bodie

There's something eerily appropriate about bumping down the dusty desert road that winds the final few miles into Bodie State Historic Park. Round the final bend in the careworn road, drive by the lonely graveyard on the sagebrush-dotted hill on the southwest side of town, and look down upon the tattered remnants of a forgotten time, and a nearly forgotten town. Back in the late 1800s, Bodie was a booming mining community with nearly 10,000 residents. Over time, the townsfolk began to fade away with the gold, and roughly a half-century ago, the final residents packed up and left Bodie, leaving the buildings alone and at the mercy of the dry desert winds.

Today, you can walk the dusty, silent streets of this fascinating ghost town, with shops, hotels, and simple homes carefully preserved to look as they did when Bodie ceased to be. Look for period images on newspapers stuffed into the walls as makeshift insulation. Old trucks and gas pumps, a weathered wood church, and that lonely cemetery paint a picture of life—and death—in this remote corner of California’s high desert.

Be sure to bring food; there are no concessions in the park (though there is potable water). A bookstore is well stocked with interesting information, and the self-guided walking tour is well worth doing.

Bodie Bodie SHP

Northern California

Discover the high sierra.

Bodie vca_maps_highsierra

Snow-covered peaks in winter, gushing waterfalls in spring, wildflower meadows and glistening lakes in summer, vibrant colours in fall—this is a land of dramatic and wild beauty. World-class mountain resorts circling turquoise-blue Lake Tahoe, and at Mammoth Lakes cater to all, with scenic ski trails in winter and trails and vistas in summer.

Yosemite Valley…is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and gold and wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”  --photographer Ansel Adams

Yosemite National Park, a World Heritage Site, is here, roughly 3½ hours east of San Francisco. Whether you hike a mountain, ski the steeps, or lounge in a hot tub beneath a canopy of stars, you’ll find your perfect getaway. 

Bodie IMG_3821[1]

Spotlight: Yosemite National Park

Famous for its plunging waterfalls and massive granite faces, this unparalleled parkland, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 ...

Enter Yosemite Valley to travel back in time to Christmas Past. Heraldic horns sound throughout Yosemite National Park's elegant ...

 Bracebridge Dinners

High Sierra peaks, deep drifts on a Mammoth volcano, family-friendly resorts, snowy escapes on the edge of Yosemite and more—California has enough alpine destinations to keep any skier or boarder...

Ski & Board in California

Kicking back after you kick off your boots is a snow-country tradition, and there’s plenty of post-slopes fun at California’s top alpine resorts. Have a beer or warm up with an Irish coffee, dance...

Great Places for Après-ski

Think of a river, and chances are you’ve got your own daydream. Maybe you want to float on inner tubes, or maybe your style is to careen through raucous rapids in an eight-person inflatable raft....

California River Rafting Adventures

Spotlight: Lake Tahoe

Blue as a topaz and circled by majestic peaks, this High Sierra gem straddling the California-Nevada border is a bucket list essential. ...

Spotlight: Mammoth Lakes

Spotlight: Mammoth Lakes

Surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the west, folks in this laid-back mountain town know they’ve got a good thing going. It’s a land ...

Lone Pine

Head to Lone Pine to see a different side of California—one that is less connected to...

As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords. Mark Twain (recalling his first sighting of Lake Tahoe)

With a pine-and-peak alpine setting and a relaxed and friendly ambiance, this appealing event in Bear Valley, roughly halfway between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, includes performances by outstanding musical artists. Launched in 1967, the festival features a full symphony orchestra, international soloists, and legendary entertainers at pretty outdoor venues. Classical works, opera, Broadway show tunes, and opening weekend acts of contemporary and country music are offered, with past guest artists ranging from the Mamas and the Papas, to Big Bad Voodoo Daddies.

Bear Valley Music Festival

Spotlight: Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Famous for their giant sequoias, soaring mountains, deep canyons and roaring rivers, this tandem set of parks have plenty to see, even ...

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

There are few places in California—and maybe on the planet—that can make you think you might just be on Mars. This is one of them. At this high-...

As autumn gives way to winter, slip away to the Grand Grape ...

Yosemite’s Grand Grape Celebration

Spotlight: Pacific Crest Trail

Bodie vca_maps_shastacascade_0

The  Pacific Crest Trail  extends for a whopping 2,650 miles from Mexico to...

Bishop

Bishop brims with outdoor activities. Situated at the north end of the Owens Valley, with close access to some ...

California Questionnaire: Jamie Anderson

California Questionnaire: Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson has already won gold in South Korea and the 2018 Winter Games haven't even begun yet. At the official Olympic ...

THINGS TO DO IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

THINGS TO DO IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Known for its plunging waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, sheer granite cliffs, and more, you could easily spend weeks exploring Yosemite ...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park

People travel from all over the world to marvel at the giant sequoia groves in  ...

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Established in 1931 to preserve a stunning stand of giant sequoias, this park offers one of the easiest places to see these towering trees. Head 4...

California Welcome Centers in the High Sierra

California Welcome Centers in the High Sierra

As the gateway to California’s natural wonders located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Welcome Centers in Truckee and Mammoth Lakes are great...

Zaca Mesa Winery

For a fun road trip with payoff for all, wind into wine country north of Santa Barbara to this elegant estate. Sure there are delicious wines for grownups—including a...

Funderland Amusement Park

This low-key attraction adjacent to the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town lets little ones climb aboard vehicles of all sorts—boats, cars, trains, and planes...

Merv Griffin Estate

Got an extra $24K? Or maybe a dozen or so friends who want to split the tab? Book a stay at this Moroccan-themed estate, where the legendary entertainer and creator of...

californiacrossings.com

California’s Bodie Ghost Town: A Guide to the Relics and Wreckage

The Bodie ghost town is a remarkable open air museum and a perfect representation of California’s boom and bust gold rush. This guide to Bodie State Park will give you some history on the town (and its unsavory reputation), answer your questions about how to visit, and give you plenty of eye candy that will make you want to go now.

Bodie State Park schoolhouse

The History of Bodie Ghost Town

The town of Bodie was named after Waterman S. Body who in 1859, discovered small amounts of gold in the hills north of California’s Mono Lake. Body himself perished when he attempted to return to the area. However, the gold was indeed there and in the 1870’s, the Bunker Hill Mine hit a big strike of gold and silver ore. Over the next 25 years, nearly 10,000 pounds of ore were extracted from the area.

Hopeful folks flocked to Bodie and by 1879, the town’s population had swelled to ~9,000 people. Along with the 30 gold mines dotted along the hillside were also businesses designed to help the gold miners part with their hard earned cash. 60 saloons, dance halls, gambling halls and opium dens along with three breweries opened to provide essential services for the miners.

Given that sort of business profile, it’s no wonder that Bodie developed a reputation for lawlessness. The litany of Bodie’s shenanigans reads like a screen play for a spaghetti western with the gunfights, stage coach hold-ups and street fights. That said, the town also had several churches, a school and a newspaper.

By 1882, the boom was flickering out and the town’s population began to decline. By 1886 the town was down to 1,500 people. A disastrous fire in 1892 did some serious damage and another in 1932 put a stake in it.

By 1962, the ghost town of Bodie was designated both a State Historic Park and also a National Historic Landmark. The decision was made to “preserve” Bodie, but not to “restore” it. This means that the buildings and their contents have been left in situ, and nature is taking its course. And this is what makes the area so worth visiting. Bodie’s ghost town isn’t some sort of cute attraction where you can pretend that you are a gold miner. It’s a dusty, decrepit look at the ghosts who still inhabit the town.

California State Park list Bodie State Park

Bodie Ghost Town FAQ

Is bodie open to the public.

Yes. Bodie ghost town part of the California State Parks system and is open to the public. The park is open most days. Winter hours are 9am-4pm and summer hours are 9am-6pm. During the winter, if the road into the park is snowy, the park (and the road) will be closed.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Bodie State Park?

Bodie State Historic park charges by the person to visit. It costs $8 per adult and $5 per child. Children under 3 are free. This is one of the few state parks that doesn’t accept the annual California Explorer hang tag pass, but it does take the Historian Pass. Use our guide to figure out which annual state park pass is right for you.

Is Bodie Worth Visiting?

Absolutely. Even though Bodie was abandoned, doesn’t mean that it’s not interesting. California’s riches were built upon mining and the town was part of that boom. It’s one the most well preserved ghost towns in California. Poking around the site is fun and peeking into the windows of the buildings will give you an evocative sense of what like was like during the gold rush.

Is the Road to Bodie Paved?

All but the last three miles is paved. The remaining dirt road is reasonably well-graded and even a low slung car or RV can do it, if taken slow.

How Do You Get to Bodie?

The main road into Bodie is located off of Highway 395 in the Eastern Sierras. The turn off is between Bridgeport and Lee Vining. The road into the park is 13 miles long and as mentioned above, the last 3 miles are on dirt road.

If you have a higher clearance vehicle and have some experience with off-roading, you can also take a slower dirt backroad into the park which cuts through the lovely desert landscape. From Lee Vining, you can take Highway 167 (Pole Line Road) to Goat Ranch Cutoff and then Cottonwood Canyon Road. From Bridgeport you take Aurora Canyon Road to Bodie Masonic Road. Be aware that the Masonic road is particularly temperamental after storms. Even the gentler Cottonwood Canyon road can sometimes be done in a normal car and other times requires higher clearance.

You should call ahead to the state park to ask about road conditions before setting out because weather can have a dramatic effect on the drivability of these roads. Their phone is (760) 616-5040. Exercise wise judgment and don’t drive the backroads you aren’t familiar with driving on rough roads. Bring a GPS app like Gaia.

How Far is Bodie from Mammoth Lakes, Bridgeport and Lee Vining?

– Mammoth Lakes is 68 miles and takes 1.5 hours. – Bridgeport is 24 miles and takes 55 minutes. – Lee Vining is 36 miles and takes 1 hr 5 minutes.

When is the Best Time to Visit Bodie?

The most temperate time to visit Bodie is April-October. Spring and fall temperature highs are usually 50-60′ and summer highs hit 77′. The park sits at 8.,379′, so it will always be much cooler than the valley floor of the 395 corridor. The park does get snow, making the road unpassable at times during the winter.

What Else is There to Do Near Bodie?

The entire Highway 395 corridor is chock a block with historic sites, lovely alpine lakes, hiking and funky geology. Plan your entire trip using our insanely thorough road trip itinerary for 395 .You can also check out our guide for Convict Lake , which is located just south of June Lake. We also have a list of 16 cool things to do near Bishop , which includes some interesting cultural and historic sites (plus hikes!).

Read More : Get the full downlow on all CA parks with our complete California State Parks list (with map).

Bodie California Ghost Town- mining residence

What to see in Bodie State Historic Park

Bodie ghost town is roughly twelve square blocks of buildings in various states of decay. The adjacent mining operation can be viewed from behind fencing, but it’s not safe to walk around in that area. Be sure to also check out the cemetery, which is just southeast of the main site.

If you want a lot of specific detail about the buildings, buy the walking tour brochure from the state parks kiosk.

Ghost town of Bodie: Swazey Hotel building ruin

There are a series of structures in the main downtown drag. The image above is of the Swazey hotel (which probably doubled as a brothel).

Bodie state park saloon and post office with foreground wagon

The pink brick building is the post office and the wooden structure beside it is the old Saloon.

Bodie state historic park firehouse

This is the interior of the old firehouse, which unfortunately didn’t quite get the job done when fire came through in 1892.

Carriage barn at Bodie state park

Here’s the old carriage barn on the downtown drag.

Bodie state park wagon building and shed

Wagon building and shed on the northern edge of town near the mine.

Bodie state historic park Dolan house ruin

Be sure to get off the main drag and spend some time in the southern and eastern reaches of the park. For instance, the pic above is from the Dolan house. It sits on a bit of a rise, which will give you a wide-angle view of the whole town.

Moyle house at Bodie state park

This is the Moyle house on the southern edge of town.

Bodie state park morgue building interior

If you think the crooked, decrepit building exteriors are pretty ghostly, wait until you peek in the windows. Bodie was a pretty rough and ready town and the morgue (pictured above), was kept pretty busy.

Bodie ghost town rooming house

Here’s the rooming house. Not quite five star, but also not too different from a mouse-infested RV that I once Airbnbed in Slab City .

Bodie state park general store

Here is the general store– it’s in somewhat better condition than the morgue or the rooming house.

Bodie ghost town house interior

This shot epitomizes the loneliness of ghost towns, but also their endurance. This one remaining piece of intact furniture stands stalwart against the ravages of rot and rodents.

(This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase, I’ll make a small commission.)

Where to Stay When Visiting Bodie

Camping near bodie.

There is no camping on site at Bodie State Park. However, most the land surrounding Bodie ghost town is BLM land. You are allowed to do disbursed camping on BLM land as long as you are self sufficient and you are off the main road. There are several large pull-outs off the main road which would be suitable for RV boondocking. There are private RV campgrounds in and around both Lee Vining and Bridgeport. There are also many US Forest Campgrounds dotted along the western side of 395, such as Lundy Canyon, Virginia Creek and Lower Twin Lakes.

Hotels, Motels and AirBnbs Near Bodie

There is a small amount of Airbnb inventory in the area, but if you are just passing through, a hotel/motel would probably be easier and cheaper.

For hotels and motels, check this listing on Booking.com or look at reviews on Trip Advisor . If you want something a bit funky, you can rent a night in a covered wagon at the Virginia Creek Settlement motel .

Read More : Be sure to check out this guide for the ten best ghost towns in California . It includes some cool suggestions for Northern California, the 395 corridor, Barstow and Death Valley. You may also want to visit Malakoff Diggins State Historic park , which preserves gold rush history near Nevada City.

The grounds of Bodie ghost town state park

What to Bring on your Bodie State Park Visit

Bodie is a ghost town, which means that the only businesses in town are boarded up and full of dust. You’ll need to bring everything that you’ll need for the day. So, pack a lunch, some water and snacks. You should also make sure that you aren’t low on gas. The mobile signals are also pretty sketchy out there, so you may want to cache any maps in advance.

Share the Bodie ghost town with you friends on Pinterest:

Bodie California state historic park guide

Share with your friends

8 thoughts on “California’s Bodie Ghost Town: A Guide to the Relics and Wreckage”

Went to Bodie few years back, we spent hours there,great articles, really liked part on getting there on the back roads. and the off road camping ,Saw those roads when we where there, but was uncertain if we could drive them.

we visited Bodie in 1962 with our 6 month old son…..No one was there it was wide open..the roads were unpaved, rocks ,dirt….we put him in the stroller and walked around…we had the whole town to ourselves……Really great to see the old wild west….With no upkeep Bodie will wither away in the elements….SO SAD NOT TO HELP PRESERVE IT…..WE LIVE IN THE FRESNO AREA….

Bodie ghost town is in same condition as it was in 1962. Dry conditions preserve the bldgs

Bodie is maintained in a state of arrested decay. That means that things are repaired as needed. New roofs appear from time to time, for instance. Rangers live there all year around. The Cain house is one that is occupied, there are others as well. You can follow the efforts to maintain Bodie here –

https://www.bodiefoundation.org/current-projects/

Thanks for sharing the resource.

Yup….took a visit there about 10years ago…..being from England, was a fascinating visit as to how life was like in the “Wild West” …..stayed at Lee Vining…then on through Death Valley…then on to Vegas.

My great grandparents lived in Bodie…I just read a letter he wrote her stamped Bodie 1937. William Hyland I’ve often wondered if Lil Bill was related. Thank you for a GREAT article. My Grandmother was raised there and we visited often.

Have been a volunteer docent there, having just completed my 27th year. A couple of things to consider doing are: (1) take the mill tour (sign up in the museum – extra charge) and learn how the gold and silver were extracted from the ore they were imbedded in and (2) buy a cemetery brochure (in the museum) and visit some of the folks interred in one of 3 cemeteries. Visit the “Little Angel of Bodie” – Evelyn Meyers. Her tragic story is in the museum on a small plaque just inside the door. Her tombstone is white marble with an angel on top of it.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Home > Road Trip Itineraries > West Coast > California Road Trip Itineraries > Northern California Road Trip > Bodie Ghost Town: Unveiling an Old West’s Hidden Gem

Bodie Ghost Town California Cosa Vedere

Bodie Ghost Town: Unveiling an Old West’s Hidden Gem

This site may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

If you’ve always been fascinated by the Old West , the cowboys, and Sergio Leone’s movies, then you should definitely go to Bodie , the ghost town par excellence , the most authentic and well-preserved Western town you will ever visit.

Things to do in Bodie Ghost Town

Some historical information, where is bodie and how do you get there, best time to visit bodie, where to stay in bodie, photo gallery.

Bodie, California… “a small town frozen in time”… This is how the town is described on the official website and no description could be more fitting. Bodie was abandoned in the days of the Old West and, despite having suffered the damage caused by the inevitable passage of time, is now well preserved.

As soon as you enter the Old West town , you will be surrounded by typical, perfectly preserved wooden houses, as well as saloons, shops, private homes, the sheriff’s house, a small Methodist church, the mine on the other side of the hill, and much more.

what to do in bodie

Visiting Bodie is definitely the most impressive experience of the Old West. In some cases, you can even enter and walk around the houses, venture into the rooms among the furniture and utensils of the time. So this is not a reconstruction, but a real town (a ghost town!) that is a valuable historical testimony to the legendary Far West .

where is bodie california

Bodie was founded by William S. Bodey, who discovered a gold mine nearby in 1859. Since then, the city expanded as a hub for miners, but soon gangsters, prostitutes, thieves, and gamblers gathered there. The town became populated with saloons (65) and brothels, and became a very dangerous place to live. People were murdered on a daily basis.

The peak of the town was in 1880, when the population reached 10,000 inhabitants. Today, there are about one hundred preserved buildings.

Bodie is in California, east of the Sierra Nevada , and is part of Mono County, best known for the beautiful Mono Lake (we talked about it in this itinerary ). To reach the town, you’ll have to take the US-395 , the major road that connects the Mojave Desert to the Canadian border.

how to get to bodie california

Once you arrive in Mono County you will have to take State Route 270, a rather short road, which ends just as you arrive in Bodie . The final part of the route is on a dirt road and is a bit bumpy, nothing dramatic anyway.

Make sure you have enough gas. Before entering the heart of the Far West, remember that there are no gas stations in the ghost town (and it seems natural…). So, if you are running low on gas, refuel at Lee Vining or Bridgeport (depending on which direction you’re coming from).

Here is the route that awaits you!

While getting to Bodie is quite easy, it’s not as simple to plan an itinerary, as it is always subject to change depending on staff availability or weather conditions (call to be sure).

In general, however, the ghost town is open from the end of May to September from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and during the rest of the year from 9:00 am to 4:00  pm (check the official website of California state parks in case the times change over time). In the winter, Bodie is often covered in snow and you need to plan accordingly to visit it. In this western jewel, there is also a museum that is open between May and October.

where to stay in bodie

Hotels in the area

If you follow the classic route to travel through this area (you usually cross Yosemite via the Tioga Road down to Death Valley along the Eastern Sierra ), my advice is to look for accommodations in Mammoth Lakes .

List of accommodations in Mammoth Lakes

I’ll conclude this article with some pictures of Bodie. See you next time!

bodie CA 1

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

lorenzo puliti

lorenzo puliti

I am fascinated by the wonders of the world I never tire of going in search of them.

Related posts

top gun filming locations

Discover the Main Filming Locations of Top Gun and Maverick!

17-mile drive best stops

17-Mile Drive: Pebble Beach’s scenic road in California

Pigeon Point lighthouse

Pigeon Point Light Station State Park, a fascinating lighthouse on the California Coast

Point Arena Lighthouse California

How to Plan a Visit to the Historic Point Arena Lighthouse in Mendocino, California

Leave a comment cancel reply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Czech the World

Bodie State Historic Park – Guide to California’s Ghost Town

Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town , where you can walk down the deserted streets of a city that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people and fell a true atmosphere from wild western movies.

In this article, you can find all the important information you need to know before visiting Bodie as well as lots of pictures to give you an idea, what you can see there.

Obsah / Table of Contents

History of Bodie

  • 1859 – First establishment of the gold mining camp.
  • 1876 – Discovery of a profitable deposit of gold-bearing ore, which transformed Bodie from a small mining camp to Wild West boomtown.
  • 1879 – Bodie had a population of approximately 5,000–7,000 people and around 2,000 buildings.
  • 1881 – A narrow-gauge railroad was build bringing lumber, cordwood, and mine timbers to the mining district from Mono Mills south of Mono Lake.
  • 1912 – First signs of an official decline.
  • 1917 – Bodie Railway was abandoned and its iron tracks were scrapped.
  • 1942 – The Last mine was closed due to War Production Board order L-208.

Read more about Bodie history at Wikipedia .

Bodie State Historic Park-36

How to get to Bodie State Historic Park

Bodie is situated northeast of famous Yosemite National Park and north of Mono Lake.

From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Drive 10 miles east to the end of the paved road and continue 3 miles on a dirt road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times be rough. Reduced speeds are necessary. You can call the park (760 616-5040) if you want to ask about road conditions.

  • From Yosemite: Bodie is around 2 hours 45 minutes drive.
  • From Lake Tahoe: Bodie is around 2 hours 15 minutes drive.

What to see in Bodie Historic State Park

The whole town of Bodie looks much the same as it did over 50 years ago when the last residents left. You will see all the historical buildings and sites including bank, church, post office, museum, stamp mill, graveyard or various abandoned machinery and cars.

  • Check this Online Interactive Map with descriptions of all the important sights
  • You can buy a paper map for $2 at the ticket office.

Bodie State Historic Park Ghost Town California

Practical Tips

Opening hours.

  • Summer hours: 9 am – 6 pm (April 15th to November 3rd)
  • Winter hours: 9 am – 4 pm (November 4th to April 15th)

Visiting in Winter

Bodie is open all year round. However, because of the high elevation (8375 feet), it is accessible only by snowmobiles, skis, or snowshoes during winter.

Winter weather is often unpredictable. Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds, and white-out conditions are common. Local towing services are not always available and can be very expensive.

Entrance fee

Only cash or personal/traveler’s checks are accepted

  • 18+ Adults: $8 per person
  • 4 – 17 years old: $5
  • children under 3: free
  • $2 extra for map (optional)

How much time do you need for a visit?

Generally speaking, 3-4 hours should be enough time for visiting Bodie State Historic Park. If you want to visit every single building and take a lot of pictures, plan rather 5 hours.

Bodie is a ghost town. To preserve its genuine original atmosphere, there are no commercial facilities, such as food, souvenir shops or gas station.

  • Restrooms (flush toilets) are located at the parking lot and the picnic area.
  • There is a small bookstore inside the museum.
  • Dogs are permitted in Bodie but they must be on a leash at all times.
  • Please clean up after your pet!
  • Dogs aren’t allowed on the Stamp Mill tour or in the Museum.

Drones are completely forbidden in Bodie Historic State Park. (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 4326 A)

What should I take for a day trip to Bodie?

  • Because of the high elevation (8375 feet), Bodie can get very cold, very quickly even during the summer months. Bring some warm clothes and a wind jacket.
  • Bring enough water. Hiking in such a high elevation could be tiring and you should drink a lot.

Bodie State Historic Park-19 Gost Town

Bodie Tours, Events, and Workshops

It’s totally fine to visit Bodie without any tour, however, we recommend taking at least a free historic talk tour (daily 10am – 4pm). If you love photography, you can join one of the photography workshops. There are other special tours held just a few times a year at exact dates. Read more information here:

  • Public and Private Tours
  • Photography Workshops
  • Bodie 601 Run

Bodie Ghost Town Tours

Where to stay near Bodie State Historic Park

The nearest accommodation to Bodie is Virginia Creek Settlement . It has good reviews and it’s decently priced.

Virginia Creek Settlement

If you prefer something a little bit fancier, choose a 2-star hotel Silver Maple Inn and The Cain House Country Suites in Bridgeport.

Silver Maple Inn and The Cain House Country Suites (2)

If you want something more budget-friendly, Big Meadow Lodge in Bridgeport is a good option.

Big Meadow Lodge -2

Campgrounds

The nearest campgrounds are Green Creek Campground and Trumbull Lake Campground .

Bodie Video

Watch this great video from Bodie State Historic Park:

Bodie Ghost Town Photos

We took so many pictures in Bodie ghost town and we are happy to share them with you. You can click on any picture to open it in a higher resolution.

Bodie State Historic Park Ghost Town California

Best Things to See on Your West Coast Road Trip

Are you planning a road trip vacation? Don’t miss the most beautiful places and national parks. We have prepared a list of places and a road trip map for you:  Road Trip USA – 23 Best places to visit on the West Coast .

More tips for your travels:

We have prepared for you this comprehensive list of links, discounts, and resources for travel planning in one place. Bookmark this page and whenever you plan a vacation in the future, just open it and save yourself a lot of time.

1) Where to book accommodation?

  • We prefer to find an accommodation using Booking.com .
  • It's also worth it to compare with AirBnb .
  • Read also our guide - How to search for the best accommodation .

2) How to find cheap flights?

  • We recommend searching for flights on Skyscanner .
  • Read also our complete guide - How to find cheap flights .

3) How to rent a car?

  • We recommend a comparison portal RentalCars.com to compare the best offers of all available rental companies.

Pin Bodie Ghost Town in California for later or for your friends:

Bodie

Bodie – FAQ – frequently asked questions:

The nearest accommodation to Bodie is  Virginia Creek Settlement . It has good reviews and it’s decently priced.

If you prefer something a little bit fancier, choose a 2-star hotel  Silver Maple Inn and The Cain House Country Suites  in Bridgeport.

If you want something more budget-friendly, Big Meadow Lodge  in Bridgeport is a good option.

The nearest campgrounds are  Green Creek Campground  and  Trumbull Lake Campground .

How to get to Bodie State Historic Park?

From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Drive 10 miles east to the end of the paved road and continue 3 miles on a dirt road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times be rough. Reduced speeds are necessary. You can call the park (760 616-5040) if you want to ask about road conditions.

What is the entrance fee to Bodie?

18+ Adults : $8 per person 4 – 17 years old : $5 children under 3 : free $2 extra for map (optional)

Only cash or personal/traveler’s checks are accepted

Did this post about Bodie Ghost Town in California help you? Share it with your friends! It can help them too!

Related Posts:

  • 35 Best Places to Visit in Myanmar - Your Complete Travel Guide
  • 23 Best Places to Visit on Your West Coast USA Road Trip
  • 41 Best Places to Visit in the Czech Republic: Insider’s Guide
  • Alaska Travel Guide – Practical Tips and Best Places to See

Bodie, California

Common Questions

Here are some common questions and answers about Bodie and this website.

Are you a ranger, or do you work at Bodie? Why have you created this web site?

What’s the weather like right now, what are the road conditions like right now, how can i get in touch with the park, what are the park hours during the year, i was wondering what the fees are, and is there camping in bodie, what caused the town to be abandoned, is there any way to gain access to more of the buildings, do you have other reference materials on bodie, has part of the stamp mill been reopened for guided tours, what should i take for a day trip to bodie.

My name is Dave Tavres . I first ran across Bodie during a high school camping trip many years ago. I’ve tried to create a web site that people can use to find out more about Bodie and hopefully carry on some of the history of the past. I don’t know how or why, but Bodie has captured my heart. I plan on keeping this site up and adding to it for as long as I stay in the field of computers and have time to do so.

If for some reason you’d like to contact me regarding Bodie, you can reach me by email, mail or phone:

David Tavres 26511 Merienda #5 Laguna Hills, CA 92656

Contact Dave

Check these sites for information on road conditions:

  • www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/us395 - Information on Highway 395
  • www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/ - General California highway information
  • www.wunderground.com/US/CA/Bridgeport.html - Weather Underground's Bridgeport, California forecast
  • Bodie State Historic Park P.O. Box 515 Bridgeport, CA 93517 (760) 647-6445 Send email to The Bodie Foundation
  • Rangers are in the park all year and the park hours arestrictly enforced. The museum/bookstore is open from May to October. The park is generally open from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 8:00a to 6:00p. The remainder of the year the hours aregenerally10:00a to 3:00p.
  • Summer hours 9am-6pm (April 15th to October 31st)
  • Winter hours 9am to 4pm (November 1st to April 14th
  • OR AS POSTED

Technically, Bodie State Historic Park is open year-round. But, with the elevation (8,375') most people don't have vehicles that can make it through the snow, and most people aren't equipped or trained to traverse the weather.

The 10 miles of paved road usually doesn't get plowed in the winter, and the remaining 3 miles of unpaved road often has a closed gate because of the danger.

If you have vehicles (snow mobiles / Sno-Cats) and are experienced with winter mountain off-roading, OR if you can snow-show the 3 miles into (and out of) the Park, visitors are welcome. (I know it doesn't SOUND 'welcoming', but the Park is open.)

  • Ages 18+: $8 per person
  • 17 to 4: $5
  • 3 and under are free
  • Dogs may accompany visitors into the town site, but dogs must be on a leash at all times.
  • Over the years the mines dwindled and the cost to extract the ore increased to the point that mining companies couldn't afford the overall cost of operations.
  • The general public may not enter the buildings, however, there are sometimes photography workshops that have permits to enter the buildings with a guide. Check the calendar of events
  • There are a number of books on Bodie and the area. Check the Bodie.com store .
  • There are guided tours through part of the mill a few times each day during the summer months, as well as holiday weekends. Other than summer, the weather is too inclement and the building can be dangerous.
  • Even during the summer months Bodie can get very cold, very quickly. Be sure to bring a sweatshirt or some kind of windbreaker.
  • Carry a bottle of water; since the elevation is so high, people tend to get out of breath easier, and hiking around Bodie can tire you out. Water can replenish your strength.

web analytics

The northern lights danced across the US last night. It could happen again Saturday.

Amazing auroras sparked by a massive solar storm — the strongest in decades — set the world abuzz Friday night as colorful glowing light radiated into the skies as far south as Florida and the Bahamas, to the surprising delight of many who waited up and kept watch.

And good news for anyone who missed it: You may get another chance Saturday night or Sunday.

"Overnight, aurora were visible across much of the United States. Weather permitting, they may be visible again tonight," the Space Weather Prediction Center said in a Saturday morning update . A later update suggests the possibility of widespread viewing in the U.S. on Sunday too.

(A word of caution, experts have previously told USA TODAY that forecasting space weather is difficult . Researchers must rely on observations of the 93-million-miles-away sun to make their predictions.)

Northern lights are only visible at night time, and experts say it's best to view them away from the hustle and bustle of city life to get the best show. Still, Americans in cities said they could see the lights overnight, including in metro Detroit .

Wisconsinites got to see the lights dance across the sky in green and purple hues. Even residents of downtown Milwaukee caught a glimpse despite the bright city lights obstructing the view.

See photos: Northern lights on full display across US, Europe on Friday

Will the aurora be visible this weekend?

It could be.

The Space Weather Prediction Center offers an experimental forecast map that showed on Saturday the aurora may be visible Saturday in a wide swath of the U.S., possibly in states including Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York. But visibility will depend on shifting factors that include weather.

For Sunday, space weather forecasters said the aurora could become visible again over the northern half of the country, with sights extending as far south as Alabama and northern California. The effects of that storm are expected to arrive Sunday morning ET.

What is the cloud forecast Saturday night? Will clouds block the northern lights?

If you missed the aurora borealis Friday night, you might still catch a glimpse on Saturday or Sunday, depending on where you live. But not if clouds get in the way.

The cloud forecast for Saturday night is generally good for most of America, but some of the people who missed their chance last night due to clouds may have a similar problem Saturday, said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines. Areas that are likely to be cloudy include New England and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as parts of the Southern Plains, including Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.

“Even just a few breaks in the clouds will allow the aurora to be visible,” Kines said. “There’s always hope.”

Peak visibility time Saturday night will be between 9 p.m. and midnight, with some chance until 2 a.m., Kines said. The best views will be in dark areas away from the light pollution of cities, he said, though some reported seeing the auroras Friday night from metro areas like Milwaukee and Detroit.

Sunday night, if there is any aurora to see, those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic can rejoice, because Kines said the skies should be clearer.

What is causing the northern lights this weekend?

The spectacle is being caused by geomagnetic storm that erupted from a sunspot cluster on the sun.

The storm was unusually strong — classified as "extreme" (or a G5) storm, the highest level, the  Space Weather Prediction Center  said Friday evening. It's the first G5 storm to hit our planet since 2003.

The geomagnetic storm's effects (which aren't all as pretty as the northern lights) are likely to linger through the weekend. The  Space Weather Prediction Center  said the storm is likely to continue through Sunday.

"There have been reports of power grid irregularities and degradation to high-frequency communications and GPS," the Space Weather Prediction Center said in a Saturday morning update.

Where were the northern lights seen on Friday night?

Across much of the United States and Europe where skies were clear — as far south as Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona.

To the great disappointment of many in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, cloud cover dimmed or obstructed the stunning display altogether.

Although it's unusual, auroras have been seen in the far southern United States in the past. This happens when a particularly large coronal mass ejection arrives in the Earth's outer atmosphere, triggering a geomagnetic storm, NOAA reports.

On the night of Nov. 5-6, 2001 , aurora displays were seen in Texas and Arizona.

What causes the aurora?

NASA describes an aurora as an "intricate dance of particles and magnetism between the Sun and the Earth."

The Sun's activity creates strong electrical currents known as geomagnetic storms.

These eruptions are mostly happening at a large, complex sunspot cluster, NOAA'S Space Weather Prediction Center said. Sunspots, which increase and decrease on a 11-year cycle, are areas where the magnetic field is about 2,500 times stronger than Earth's.

The reason the auroras move is because of how the Sun's ionized gases interact with the Earth's magnetic field.

If you took a great photo, NASA wants to know

In a collaboration with the National Science Foundation and the New Mexico Consortium aurora sightings and photos are being collected at the Aurorasaurus web page.

Why was the aurora borealis so red on Friday?

Mike Theiss, an extreme nature photographer and hurricane storm chaser, who lives in Florida was shocked to see posts Friday night about how far south people were seeing the auroras. To his amazement, he was able to step out of his front door in Key Largo in the Florida Keys and see and photograph the aurora. Hours later he was still incredulous, and surprised at the colors in the aurora.

"I’ve documented the Northern Lights in Iceland, North Dakota, Arctic Circle in Canada but never this red color," Theiss said. "This is the first time I’ve seen red."

The multiple colors seen in auroras are related to the types of gas being bombarded at various levels above the Earth. Auroras occur within one of Earth's upper atmosphere layers, the thermosphere, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Solar particles trapped there interact with various gas molecules, such as nitrogen and oxygen, according to the research corporation's website. Oxygen gives off green and red lights, while nitrogen glows blue and reddish purple. For example, nitrogen gas glows blue at 75 to 110 miles altitude.

The less common red auroras form from interacting with higher altitude oxygen molecules, the website explains.

'Two incredible spectacles of the universe': Northern lights come about a month after eclipse

Seeing the aurora amazed Antonella Fruscione, an astrophysicist at Harvard University. She sent photos of the sight as well as the April total solar eclipse to her friends in Italy.

"And I sent them the picture that I took at the solar eclipse and I said, 'Can you imagine how fortunate I was this year, one month apart, I see these two incredible spectacles of the universe,'" she recalled telling them.

The phenomena seen Friday and possibly Saturday night is unusual, she said.

"It's a very rare occurrence, especially because last night it was really visible," Fruscione said.

What was the Halloween storm in October 2003?

Over two decades ago in late October 2003, three massive sunspot groups appeared on the sun's surface with little warning, accompanied by 17 major solar flares, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Satellites, radio and GPS systems went on the fritz around the world, causing some major disruptions. But it also offered a stunning view of the auroras as far south as California and Florida. People in Australia and Mediterranean countries even caught a glimpse.

Contributing: Doyle Rice and Krystal Nurse , USA TODAY

COMMENTS

  1. Bodie State Historic Park

    About Bodie State Historic Park. Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had around 2,000 structures and a population of roughly 8,000 people. The town is named for W.S. Body (or Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of ...

  2. Bodie

    Visiting Bodie is the most authentic way to see the real-life setting of the California gold rush. From 1877 to 1882, Bodie was a bustling town with close to 8,000 residents and produced more than $38 million in gold and silver. ... Bodie State Historic Park of California is located in the Eastern Sierra in Mono County, close to Bridgeport ...

  3. How to Visit Bodie, California's Most Authentic Ghost Town

    The ghost town of Bodie is technically open year round. The hours of operation are: 9:00am to 4:00pm from November 1 to May 14, and 9:00am to 6:00pm from May 15 to October 31. Bodie sits on a high altitude plateau, so weather-wise you can count on dry, hot summers and long, cold winters, filled with snow.

  4. Visiting Bodie California Ghost Town: Everything You Need to Know

    Please read our disclosure for more info. Bodie California Ghost Town is a gold mining Wild West town that is frozen fascinatingly in time. It is a 45-minute drive from the small town of Lee Vining and northeast of Yosemite National Park. Bodie was a booming town during the gold rush and, in its heyday from 1877-1881, had a population of nearly ...

  5. Bodie State Historic Park

    Jun 2021. Bodie is a California gold-mining ghost town that is remarkably in good condition, given its age. The outside of most buildings given the impression that the town is still alive. But when you peer through the windows, you'll see decay—disintegrating wallpaper, falling ceiling tiles, aged furniture, and so on.

  6. Bodie Ghost Town: A Guide To California's Famous Ghost Town

    Unlike many California state parks, which are usually open 24/7, you can't visit Bodie ghost town at night. The reason is for both the park and public protection. The summer hours (May 14-October 31) are 9 am-6 pm, and the winter hours (Nov 1-May 14) are 9 am-4 pm.

  7. Bodie, California: Must-Read Tips for Visiting the Ghost Town

    Bodie the ghost town is a far cry from what it was when it reached its highest population of around 8,000 (now it's just home to a couple of park rangers who look after it), but it's one of the most unique things to do in California and truly a memorable day trip from nearby Yosemite.. And the photos you can get will really put your California Instagram captions to work!

  8. Bodie Ghost Town

    Bodie Sate Park (also known as Bodie Ghost Town) in California is the site of a former gold rush town that was abandoned in 1926. We've seen Hollywood recreate these types of towns hundreds of times for movies and shows, but to visit a real life authentic wild west gold mining ghost town town … what an experience!

  9. Bodie, California: The Best Ghost Town in the West

    Betsy Malloy Photography. Bodie, California, is perhaps one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the western United States. It was once home to more than 10,000 gold-seekers. The wild, wide-open gold mining town was so bad that some thought even God had forsaken it. Today, it has almost 200 structures still standing.

  10. Bodie State Historic Park 2024 Guide: Fees, Directions, Parking and

    Bodie sits at 8,375 feet in elevation and has unpredictable weather patterns (even during the summer months). Sub-zero temps, white out conditions and thunder storms aren't exactly unheard of here. Bodie State Park's admission fees as of 2024 are: $8.00 per adult. $5.00 per child ages 4-17. Free for ages 3 & younger.

  11. Bodie State Historic Park: California's Best Ghost Town

    Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a city that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. 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, a mine cave-in revealed pay ...

  12. Bodie.com

    Bodie, California is a town frozen in time, and preserved by California State Parks in a state of "arrested decay." Bodie became a State Historic Park in 1962, and maintains the buildings just as they were found when the State took over the town - but they do not restore the buildings, instead choosing to simply preserve the buildings in their aged and weathered 1880s appearance.

  13. Bodie

    Back in the late 1800s, Bodie was a booming mining community with nearly 10,000 residents. Over time, the townsfolk began to fade away with the gold, and roughly a half-century ago, the final residents packed up and left Bodie, leaving the buildings alone and at the mercy of the dry desert winds. Today, you can walk the dusty, silent streets of ...

  14. California's Bodie Ghost Town: A Guide to the Relics and Wreckage

    Get the backstory on California's Bodie ghost town and then plan your visit with this thorough guide. ... The most temperate time to visit Bodie is April-October. Spring and fall temperature highs are usually 50-60′ and summer highs hit 77′. The park sits at 8.,379′, so it will always be much cooler than the valley floor of the 395 ...

  15. Bodie, California

    Bodie (/ ˈ b oʊ d iː / BOH-dee) is a ghost town in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States.It is about 75 miles (121 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe, and 12 mi (19 km) east-southeast of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 8,379 feet (2554 m). Bodie became a boom town in 1876 (148 years ago) () after the discovery of a profitable vein of gold ...

  16. Bodie, California

    Location and Directions. Bodie is located in the Basin Range of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 13 miles East of Highway 395 in central California. Take U.S. Hwy. 395 to State Hwy. 270 and drive 10 miles east until the paved road ends, then continue for 3 miles of an unpaved dirt road.

  17. 11 Best Things To See In Bodie Ghost Town

    1. Methodist Church. The Methodist Church is a Catholic church that was built in 1882 and the only church that still exists in Bodie State Historic Park. It is the first big attraction that you will see as you walk into this old and dusty mining town. Due to its relatively good condition, it is photographed a lot.

  18. Exploring Bodie, the best preserved California's Ghost Town

    Best Time to Visit Bodie. While getting to Bodie is quite easy, it's not as simple to plan an itinerary, as it is always subject to change depending on staff availability or weather conditions (call to be sure).. In general, however, the ghost town is open from the end of May to September from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and during the rest of the year from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (check the official ...

  19. Bodie State Historic Park: 7 Places to See in the Ghost Town

    Bodie is one of the best ghost towns in California, and it has over 40 buildings that you can walk around and see. While this is not an exhaustive list, it f...

  20. Commonly Asked Questions

    Weather and Nature. Q: How much snow does Bodie get? A: Bodie can get up to 10 feet of snowfall and up to 20 feet of snow drift! Q: How cold can Bodie get? A: Bodie can be one of the coldest places in the lower 48 states! Bodie's coldest temperatures can get into the -30s (Farenheit) Q: How hot does Bodie get? A: While some visitors claim they ...

  21. Bodie State Historic Park

    Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town, where you can walk down the deserted streets of a city that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people and fell a true atmosphere from wild western movies.. In this article, you can find all the important information you need to know before visiting Bodie as well as lots of pictures to give you an idea, what you can ...

  22. Bodie, California

    Call the park for exact details at (760) 647-6445. Here is a general park schedule: Summer hours 9am-6pm (April 15th to October 31st) Winter hours 9am to 4pm (November 1st to April 14th. OR AS POSTED. Technically, Bodie State Historic Park is open year-round.

  23. Northern lights forecast: Where will they be visible Saturday?

    Peak visibility time Saturday night will be between 9 p.m. and midnight, with some chance until 2 a.m., Kines said. The best views will be in dark areas away from the light pollution of cities, he ...