Bodie is a ghost town in the Bodie hills east of the Sierra Nevada. It became a boom town in 1876 when gold was discovered there and by 1879 it had a population of around 6,000 people and 2,000 houses. One legend suggests that in 1880 it was California’s second or third largest city. It had banks, a fire brigade, a brass band, railroad, workers unions, newspapers and a jail. It also had a red light district and a small Chinatown.
As was the case in many booming mining towns, Bodie earned a reputation for violence and lawlessness. Murders, shootouts, barroom brawls and stagecoach holdups were regular occurrences in Bodie, leaving behind many disturbed spirits. It is said these spirits still wander the town, looking for their revenge.
In it's prime, bullion from the town’s nine stamp mills was shipped to Carson City, Nevada with armed escorts. Over the years, Bodies mines produced gold valued at $34 million. After the boom times of 1880 the town went into steady decline as prospectors moved to new and richer finds elsewhere.
By 1910 the population was down to 698. The Last newspaper closed in 1912 and by 1917 the railway was scrapped. The last mine closed in 1942 although the town had already been described as a ghost town back in 1919.
The town was designated a National Historic landmark in 1961 and is now run as a State Historic Park. 170 buildings remain in the town.
Facts & Information
Dual sport riders will enjoy the ride to Bodie along route 270, a gravel road that gets very muddy when wet. Other fun gravel roads in the area include Bodie Masonic Rd and Aurora Canyon Rd.
Recommended Lodging: Walker River Lodge
The nearest accommodations to Bodie are in Bridgeport, CA, about 40 miles away. The Walker River Lodge is a small, locally owned motel with a retro-rustic vibe. The hotel is located within walking distance of several restaurants.
Best Time to Travel
Bodie is open all year, but the winters are particularly rough. The high elevation means lots of snows, and often Bodie is only accessible via skis or snowmobiles. It is best to visit Bodie during the summer months once the snow has melted and the mud has dried.