"Only the Rangers Remain..." Top 5 Page for this destination Bodie State Historic Park by SteveOSF

Bodie State Historic Park Travel Guide: 97 reviews and 239 photos

The Park

This is the largest ghost town in America. Over 170 building remain in varied states of decay. In 1962 Bodie was dedicated as a State Historic Park. It is also registered as a Historic Landmark.

The Park Services maintains the park in a state of “arrested decay”. Most of the building’s interiors are inaccessible, but you can wanderer throughout the park and peer in many windows. Spending time strolling among the ruins is like taking a step back in time.

This ghost town is large. Considering the size and condition of this fairly well preserved ghost town, I wonder if the preservation of so many structures is due to the town’s location, or the fact that it was relatively recently abandoned (1900s verses 1800s), or that there were once so many buildings that one would expect 170 buildings to have survived. Nevertheless, Bodie is a great place to spend a day.

The only was to gain access to Bodie is through the park. There is a small fee to enter the park. The park is large encompassing the town, mills, and surrounding area.

The History of Bodie

In 1859, William (a.k.a. Waterman) S. Bodey discovered gold, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, at what is now known as Bodie Bluff. In 1861 a mill was established and the town named after Bodey soon emerged. The town changed the spelling to Bodie to avoid mispronunciation. Unfortunately, Bodey perished in a snowstorm before seeing the growth of the town.

Bodie became a thriving mining town, and was the main town of Mono County. By 1879 Bodie claimed a population of about 10,000 people and had about 2,000 buildings. But it was far from a peaceful community. Fights, robberies, and killings were commonplace. It had 65 saloons and 7 breweries to help relieve the boredoms of everyday life. The town's reputation was such as to inspire a young girl, upon learning that her family was to move to Bodie, to write in her diary, "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie."

Eventually the amount of gold extracted from the mines began to dwindle, bursting this bustling town's bubble. Then in 1892 a fire ripped through much of the town. Another fire in 1932 provided more devastation. Then the Depression and World War II Era restrictions on gold ownership provided the final blow to the town and Bodie was abandoned.

About 170 building remain in Bodie. In 1962 Bodie became a State Historic Park. The Park Service now preserves the remains of the town in a state of "arrested decay." Bodie's only inhabitants are a few park rangers and creatures of the remote hills.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great historic getaway.
  • Cons:A bit out of the way.
  • In a nutshell:Bodie is one cool ghost town.
  • Last visit to Bodie State Historic Park: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (18)

Comments (7)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM

    It is good you decided to contribute your pictures/comments. This is a real surreal place and maybe I get out that way someday. My last trip to 11 parks in Utah/Arizona was an adventure like this.

  • Mar 6, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    Great place where time has stoped ! Thank you for overview!

  • risse73's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2008 at 3:43 PM

    My virtual tour of Bodie gave me goosebumps. It appears to be an eerie & creepy place--a remnant of a bygone era. The old automobile reminds me of classic American cars in Cuba that remain in working order to this day. Great page Steve!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2008 at 1:16 PM

    A great page that reminds me of my visit in Bodie ! Thanks for sharing !

  • Lhenne1's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2008 at 1:05 PM

    Hehe! I think you may have the best Nightlife tip I've seen!

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2008 at 9:19 PM

    I enjoyed your page on this great find. Sounds like an interesting place! ~Joe

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2007 at 12:37 PM

    congrats on covering a place in California that I didn't even know existed! Nice descriptions of the buildings.


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