Latitude / Longitude:
38°12′44″N 119°00′44″W / 38.21222°N 119.01222°W / 38.21222 -119.01222
8,379 ft (2,554 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Bodie (/’bo”di”/ BOH-dee) is a ghost town in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 75 miles (121 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe. It became a boom town in 1876 and following years, after the discovery of a profitable line of gold, and suddenly attracted several thousand residents. It is located 12 mi (19 km) east-southeast of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 8379 ft (2554 m). The U.S. Department of the Interior recognizes the designated Bodie Historic District as a National Historic Landmark.
Also registered as a California Historical Landmark, the ghost town officially was established as Bodie State Historic Park in 1962. It receives about 200,000 visitors yearly. Since 2012, Bodie has been administered by the Bodie Foundation, which uses the tagline Protecting Bodie’s Future by Preserving Its Past. Bodie began as a mining camp of little note following the discovery of gold in 1859 by a group of prospectors, including W. S. Bodey. Bodey perished in a blizzard the following November while making a supply trip to Monoville (near present-day Mono City, California), never getting to see the rise of the town that was named after him. According to area pioneer Judge J. G. McClinton, the district’s name was changed from “Bodey,” “Body,” and a few other phonetic variations, to “Bodie,” after a painter in the nearby boomtown of Aurora, lettered a sign “Bodie Stables”.
Today, Bodie is preserved in a state of arrested decay. Only a small part of the town survived, with about 110 structures still standing, including one of many once operational gold mills. Visitors can walk the deserted streets of a town that once was a bustling area of activity. Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Littered throughout the park, one can find small shards of china dishes, square nails and an occasional bottle, but removing these items is against the rules of the park.
The town was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and in 1962 the state legislature authorized creation of Bodie State Historic Park. A total of 170 buildings remained. Bodie has been named as California’s official state gold rush ghost town. Visitors arrive mainly via SR 270, which runs from US 395 near Bridgeport to the west; the last three miles of it is a dirt road. There is also a road to SR 167 near Mono Lake in the south, but this road is extremely rough, with more than 10 miles of dirt track in a bad state of repair. Due to heavy snowfall, the roads to Bodie are usually closed in winter.