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Parks & Public Lands -
Bodie, Ghost Town
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 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 purchase of the mine by the Standard Company in 1877. People flocked to Bodie and transformed it from a town of a few dozen to a boomtown.
Only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of "arrested decay." Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. 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.
Location – Directions
The park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road (Hwy 270), seven miles south of Bridgeport.
From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on a dirt road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times be rough. Reduced speeds are necessary. Call the park if there are any questions about road conditions.
Latitude/Longitude: 38.2122 / -119.0111Facilities and Activities
Bodie is a ghost town. Today it looks much the same as it did over 50 years ago when the last residents left. To preserve the ghost town atmosphere, there are no commercial facilities at Bodie, such as food or gasoline. There is a bookstore inside the museum where you may also inquire about daily tours.
Restrooms (flush toilets) are located at the parking lot and the picnic area.
Souvenirs and Collecting
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.
For public protection, certain unstable sections of the park are posted as prohibited areas, and are closed to entry by park visitors.
There is no camping at Bodie. Contact U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management offices for nearby camping information.
Bodie is open all year. However, because of the high elevation (8375 feet), it is accessible only by skis, snowshoes or snowmobiles during winter months. Snowmobiles must stay on designated roads in the Bodie Hills.
Winter weather is often unpredictable. Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and white-out conditions are common. 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.
California State Parks
Historic PhotosBodie ghost town on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe, at an elevation of 8369 feet (2550 m).
Gold was discovered in 1859 by prospector Wakeman S. Bodey, who the town was named after. Bodey died in November making a supply trip and becoming stranded in a blizzard.
In 1876, the Standard Company discovered a profitable deposit of gold transformed Bodie from an isolated mining camp of few prospectors to a boomtown.
Bodie was famous for its lawlessness. At its peak in 1880, it had 60 saloons. Murders, brawls, and stagecoach holdups were constant occurrences. Legend has it that a little girl, upon finding out that her family was moving there, prayed one night, "Goodbye God, I am going to Bodie."
Gold bullion from the town's nine stamp mills was shipped to Carson City, Nevada accompanied by armed guards. Once the bullion reached Carson City, it was sent by rail to the San Francisco mint.
In 1893 the Standard Company built its own hydroelectric plant, located approximately 13 miles away on Green Creek, above Bridgeport, California. The plant developed a maximum of 130 horsepower and 6,600 volts alternating current to power the company's 20-stamp mill. This pioneering installation was one of the first times an electric motor was operated over long-distance power lines.
Bodie's Chinatown, had several hundred Chinese residents at one point. The Chinese workers earned their incomes mainly from selling vegetables, operating laundries, and cutting, hauling, and selling firewood. Winter temperatures in Bodie would often fall well below zero, and winds reaching nearly 100 miles per hour would sweep across the high open valley. Large amounts of firewood were needed to keep residents warm through the long winters. Many ill-prepared towns folk perished during the extremely harsh winter of 1878-1879.
Today Bodie is an authentic, intact ghost town. Bodie is currently a State Historic Park. Visitors walk the deserted streets of a town that once had a population between 7,000 and 8,000 people. Interiors remain as they were left and in some cases stocked with goods. The remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of arrested decay
The Standard Mill is the largest and most well preserved examples of an ore processing plant used during the period. For an explanation of how a stamp mill operated, see the Stamp Mill in detail page.