During our California road trip in the summer of 2016, we stopped at our first ever “ghost” town. Chris turned thirty (!!!) during this trip and had always wanted to go to a ghost town, so I made it my mission to find one for his birthday. Lucky for us, on our travel day between Yosemite NP and Lake Tahoe, we would be near a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Bodie Historical Park is what is left of the town of Bodie, which began as a gold mining boomtown in the mid-1800’s. In the 1960’s it was given to the state of California to be preserved in “arrested decay” for its historical value. Bodie Historical Park is run by California Dept. of Parks and Recreation and is located in Bridgeport, CA only thirteen miles from Yosemite NP. You do have to drive on a gravel road part of the way, and I’d suggest visiting in summer as in winter it is usually snowed in due to the high elevation.
The historical park was quite big and we set out to explore along with a map of the town. There were homes, a church, a school, general store, mill, cemetery, and even a “red light” area to explore. Some of the building we were allowed inside to explore further and see some of the old furniture and decorations. I also purchased a small guidebook with more information and stories about the town, including a murder! I highly recommend the guidebook which made the town come alive with the ghosts of the past.
I wish we had more time to spend at this historical place. We visited in early July as a small sidestop, but really we could of explored for a whole day.I’d suggest bringing a picnic, buying a map and exploring! You can also go on a tour of the stamp mill, for an extra $6 a person.
Adults: $8 per person
Children: $5 per child (ages 3 to 17)
Children ages 3 and under are free