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Bodie State Historic Park

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Bodie State Historic Park

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  • The tiny mining town of Bodie once was a thriving metropolis.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • The high desert of the Bodie Hills sees extreme temperatures.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Today only 10 percent of the original structures still stand at Bodie State Historic Park.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Remnants of the once bustling mining town of Bodie. - Bodie State Historic Park
  • Removing souveniers from Bodie is forbidden, and it is allegedy punished with bad luck.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Structures that survived fires and the ravages of time still remain at Bodie State Historic Park.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Even on a chilly fall day, tourists queue to see the legendary Bodie ghost town.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Photographers come from all over the world to capture the remnants of the American West.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Interior of a church at Bodie ghost town.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Bodie once hosted 10,000 residents.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • The structures at Bodie are kept in a state of arrested decay.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • What remains of Bodie is as it was the day the last residents left. - Bodie State Historic Park
  • The road to Bodie is rough, but it is passable in a car barring winter storms.- Bodie State Historic Park
  • Dodge the crowds and take a four-wheel drive detour through the Bodie Hills. - Bodie State Historic Park
  • - Bodie State Historic Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Largest ghost town in California. National Historic Landmark. Well preserved (not restored).
Cons: 
Rough dirt road. Crowded. Extreme temperatures.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

In place of gunslingers and Gold Rush fortune hunters, tourists now flood the once raucous and bustling streets of Bodie, California. A State Historic Park that hosts over 200,000 visitors annually, Bodie boasted a reputation as one of wildest upstarts in the West. 

At 8,375 feet, the high desert town has seen its share of extremes over the years. Arid summer temperatures and winter lows well below zero demanded that only the fittest survived in the fledgling mining camp. 

In 1859, a fierce blizzard took the life of the town’s namesake, W.S. Bodey (spellings have varied historically), a prospector from New York. In the subsequent years, only a few wily miners persisted at the diggings. A vein worthy of folklore was revealed following an 1875 cave-in at Bunker Hill Mine, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Bold prospectors and corporate mining operations poured into Bodie with the same fervor that fueled Virginia City, San Francisco, and other boomtowns of the region. 

Virtually overnight, Bodie grew from a small mining camp to a notoriously unruly town rife with saloons, brothels, opium and violence. By its 1880 heyday, nearly 10,000 residents made the wild west town their home.

While there were early mining successes, the abundance and richness of the ore were largely inflated. By the turn of the century the boom had run its course, and by 1913, Bodie’s most successful mining company, The Standard, had also crapped out. 

Fires and the ravages of time have destroyed all but 10 percent of the town’s structures. What remains of Bodie was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1962, and buildings now stand in a state of arrested decay, just as the day their inhabitants left.

Visit the Bodie Foundation for information on special events including a monthly photographers day where sunrise access is granted.

Park hours are 9 a.m. to  6 p.m. April 15 through October 31 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. November 1 through April 14. 

The last 3 miles of SR 270 are unpaved and quite rough, though passable in a car at low speeds. Check for winter road closures before departure as Bodie receives significant snowfall.

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(3 within a 30 mile radius)

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