Once home to over 10,000 pioneers, gunslingers, miners and even prostitutes, Bodie, CA. stands as a tribute to a time long past. In 1859, William S. Bodey discovered gold in the area, and set up a mill. By 1880, over 10,000 people inhabited the Wild West town that at one point was reported to have had 65 saloons. Over the years, the spelling of the name changed to Bodie, and what remains today is one of the largest and best preserved “ghost towns” in the United States.
We stopped for a visit to Bodie, CA. on our way to Yosemite National Park. You will reach this unique ghost town down a 13 mile rough gravel mountain road off of Highway 395. One you enter the park, there is a per person charge. Ages 17+ are $7, ages 16-6 are $5 and under 5 are free. There is also an optional $2 charge for a guidebook, which I would highly recommend purchasing, as the buildings are not labeled with plaques or other defining information when you are touring the town.
The museum is open May-October, and is a must stop during your visit. Inside, you will find a variety of the finer artifacts found in the town of Bodie. Look out for the binder that contains letters written by those who have been victims of the Bodie Curse. Let’s just say this, if you find something cool at Bodie, just leave it there.
Ranger talks happen throughout the day, so be sure to check times when you arrive. Most of the buildings are closed up, but rocks or benches have been placed by most windows so that you are able to see inside. One building is completely open for viewing, and you are able to walk up the front steps of the Methodist Church.
If you choose to visit Bodie, be sure to have gas and food or water before you leave, as none is available there. Vault toilets are available, and picnic areas are located near the parking lot as well. Bodie, CA. is a wonderful chance to walk through a piece of history. The boys had a fantastic time, and it was amazing to see the town just as it was left all those years ago.