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Bodie State Historic Park is California's best preserved ghost town, albeit only a small portion remains. And while the town is not quite creepy, you can surely feel the presence of the 10,000 or so prospectors who once lived in this vibrant town. Wander along the road (13 bumpy miles off Hwy 395) past former saloons, brothels, and restaurants and you begin to imagine why this rough town did not survive. Founded in 1875 by 49er William Bodey, the community prided itself on its rowdiness, coining phrases like, "Have a man for breakfast?" which meant, "Did anyone get killed last night?" The town reportedly once contained 65 saloons and its ...

Bodie State Historic Park is California's best preserved ghost town, albeit only a small portion remains. And while the town is not quite creepy, you can surely feel the presence of the 10,000 or so prospectors who once lived in this vibrant town. Wander along the road (13 bumpy miles off Hwy 395) past former saloons, brothels, and restaurants and you begin to imagine why this rough town did not survive. Founded in 1875 by 49er William Bodey, the community prided itself on its rowdiness, coining phrases like, "Have a man for breakfast?" which meant, "Did anyone get killed last night?" The town reportedly once contained 65 saloons and its fair share of gamblers, gunslingers and prostitutes. These days visitors can merely explore the buildings and imagine California's rich past. There is no camping or services here — it is truly a ghost town. And in winter the park is only accessible by snowshoe, skis or snowmobiles.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Bodie is a ghost town in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe. It is located 12 mi east-southeast of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 8379 feet.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, fall