Bodie State Park is a well-preserved ghost town that dates back to the mid-1800s. By 1880, Bodie, California was a booming town with a population near 10,000, and some estimate that it was the 2nd or 3rd largest city in the state. By 1917, after the railroad shut down and the tracks used for scrap, Bodie began its irrecoverable declension. After years of decline, the last known residents left Bodie in the 1940s and forever encapsulated the town.
If it were not for a thoughtful guest at the Chalet View Lodge (the resort I was staying) who overheard the direction I was traveling, I probably would not have discovered Bodie State Park. I’m always grateful for destination suggestions from experienced travelers…I’ve been to some wonderful places due in no small part to the experience of others.
As Bodie turned into a literal ghost town for some 20+ years, it was rediscovered in the early 60s and eventually preserved by the California State Park system in 1962. In its heyday, Bodie had some 2000 buildings…today just 170 remain, although many still in good condition. The odd thing about Bodie is that many of the buildings retain the furniture, belongings and artifacts…as if there was some sort of exodus prompted by the last remaining residents.
With so many buildings still in-tacked, containing period garb, it’s a true treasure for tourists to experience. For example, the general store still has shelves full of canned food, the hotel casino has chips near the roulette wheel, and a dining room table is set in one of the homes—with 60 years worth of dust casting a patina on the belongings of a once thriving community.
Whether you’re into history, photography or perhaps painting, you’ll enjoy spending hours exploring Bodie State Park. From sunrise to sunset, the day provides varying compositional light and shadows to cast a plethora of creative angles for the artistic to capture.
As I wandered the dirt streets taking some photos, there was a stillness in the air, then a moment later a light gust of wind…just at that moment I witnessed a tumble weed blow through town…it was one of those quintessential “ghost town” moments you see in the movies. Speaking of movies, Bodie will make you feel like you’ve been transformed to an old western studio set…you can just imagine seeing John Wayne coming out of the saloon with guns-a-blazin’.
If you’ve been to the Bodie Ghost Town before, leave a comment below and let my readers and me know what you like best. Click the following link to see more of my pictures of Bodie State Park. If you enjoyed this post and video, please click the “like” button below and share with your friends and family.
Bodie State Park Information:
Location: The park is northeast of Yosemite and 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road (Hwy 270) Note: The last three miles is a rough dirt road.
Map: Google Map – Latitude/Longitude: 38.2122 / -119.0111Park Phone: 760-647-6445
Hours: Open year around 9 am to 6 pm in summer (May 15th – October 31st) – 9 am to 3 pm in winter (Nov 1st – May 14th). Note: The park is closed during periods of inclement weather.
Prices: $7 for adults 17 and up – $5 for children ages 6 to 16. Only cash or personal checks are accepted. You will pay at the Parking lot using a dropbox system.
Weather: Click here for area weather