Bodie State Historic Park is a must-visit destination for those who want to experience the rich history of California. This park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town that allows visitors to walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had around 2,000 structures and a population of roughly 8,000 people. Located east of Highway 395 on the east side of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, it lies between Bridgeport and Lee Vining in Mono County.
Visitors to Bodie State Historic Park will be transported back to the 1800s and the heyday of the California gold rush. The park is a well-preserved example of a western mining town that has been abandoned and left to the elements. The town has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The park offers a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the town’s buildings and learn about the history of the area.
Whether you are a history buff or just looking for a fun family outing, Bodie State Historic Park has something for everyone. From the old saloons and shops to the abandoned homes and mines, visitors will be able to explore the town and learn about life in a gold-mining ghost town. With its rich history and unique atmosphere, Bodie State Historic Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in California’s past.
Planning Your Visit
When planning a visit to Bodie State Historic Park, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of your trip. This section will cover the best time to visit, how to get there, and park hours and admission fees.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Bodie State Historic Park is during the summer months when the weather is warm and the park is open for longer hours. However, visitors should be aware that the park is at a high elevation and can experience sudden weather changes, so it is always a good idea to bring warm clothing and check the weather forecast before visiting.
Bodie State Historic Park is located east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. Visitors can take State Route 270 from Lee Vining off Highway 395 to get to the park entrance. The road is paved but can be narrow and winding in some areas, so visitors should drive with caution and be aware of road conditions, especially during the winter months when snow and ice may be present.
Park Hours and Admission Fees
Bodie State Historic Park is open year-round, but the hours vary depending on the season. From March through October, the park is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. From November through February, the park is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Visitors should check the park website for the most up-to-date hours before planning their visit.
Admission fees are $8 for adults and $5 for children aged 5-17. Children under 5 are free. Visitors can pay with a credit card at the kiosk, but if no one is there, they can place cash in the self-pay envelope in the parking lot.
Overall, with a little bit of planning, visitors can have a wonderful time exploring the history and beauty of Bodie State Historic Park.
Activities and Attractions
Bodie State Historic Park offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in exploring historic buildings and sites, taking a tour or event, or enjoying outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Historic Buildings and Sites
Bodie State Historic Park is home to over 100 historic buildings and sites, many of which are open for visitors to explore. Some of the most popular buildings include the Museum, which features exhibits on the history of the town, and the Stamp Mill Tour, which takes visitors through the process of gold mining.
Visitors can also explore the town’s many historic buildings, including the Church and Cemetery. The town’s historic site has been preserved in a state of “arrested decay,” giving visitors a unique glimpse into life in the late 1800s.
Tours and Events
Bodie State Historic Park offers a variety of tours and events throughout the year. One of the most popular events is the Ghost Walks, which take place during the summer months and give visitors a spooky look at the town’s haunted history.
Other events include photography workshops, which give visitors the opportunity to learn about photography while exploring the town’s historic sites, and special tours of the town’s historic buildings.
In addition to exploring the town’s historic buildings and sites, visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities at Bodie State Historic Park. During the winter months, visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling in the park’s beautiful snow-covered landscape.
During the summer months, visitors can enjoy picnicking in the park’s picnic area and hiking through the park’s many trails. Whether you’re interested in history or outdoor adventure, Bodie State Historic Park has something for everyone to enjoy.
Amenities and Accessibility
Bodie State Historic Park offers visitors a variety of amenities and accessibility options to enhance their experience. The park is open year-round, and visitors can enjoy a range of activities such as hiking, sightseeing, and photography.
Food and Dining
The park does not have any restaurants or cafes. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks, as there are no food vendors available within the park. There are picnic tables available throughout the park where visitors can enjoy their meals.
Shopping and Souvenirs
The park has a bookstore where visitors can purchase books, maps, and other educational materials about the park and its history. There are also souvenirs available for purchase, such as t-shirts, hats, and postcards.
Restrooms are available at various locations throughout the park, and there are flush toilets in the main parking lot. Visitors are advised to bring their own water, as there is no potable water available within the park. Gas is not available within the park, so visitors are advised to fill up their tanks before entering the park.
For those looking for accommodations, there are several hotels and lodges located near the park, such as Virginia Creek Settlement. The park does not offer any accommodations, such as camping or campgrounds. Visitors are advised to make reservations in advance, especially during peak season.
Overall, Bodie State Historic Park offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the rich history of California’s gold rush era. With its amenities and accessibility options, the park is a great destination for families, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Preservation and Etiquette
Protecting the Ghost Town
Bodie State Historic Park is a unique and fascinating destination that offers visitors a glimpse into California’s gold mining history. However, it is important to remember that the park is also a fragile and irreplaceable cultural resource. As such, it is crucial that visitors take steps to protect the site and preserve it for future generations.
One of the most important things visitors can do to protect the ghost town is to stay on designated paths and trails. This helps to prevent erosion and damage to fragile historic structures. Visitors are also asked to refrain from touching or climbing on any of the buildings or artifacts in the park.
Metal detectors and other digging tools are strictly prohibited in the park. This is to prevent damage to historic artifacts and structures, as well as to protect the integrity of the site for future archaeological research.
To ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable visit to Bodie State Historic Park, visitors are asked to follow a few simple guidelines.
First and foremost, visitors are reminded that the park is a historic site and not a playground. Climbing on buildings, touching artifacts, and other forms of roughhousing are strictly prohibited.
Dogs are allowed in the park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. They are not allowed in any of the historic buildings, including the Stamp Mill or in the Museum.
Visitors are also reminded that theft of any kind is a serious crime and will not be tolerated. All artifacts and structures in the park are protected by law, and anyone caught damaging or stealing them will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Finally, visitors are encouraged to support the preservation efforts of the park by donating to the Bodie Foundation or by purchasing an annual pass to California State Parks. These contributions help to ensure that the park remains a vital cultural resource for generations to come.
Last Updated on January 5, 2024 by Cool Rad Weird