Best Ghost Town in the West

Bodie State Historic Park Ghost Town

Located in the high desert of the Eastern Sierra, Bodie State Historic Park looks like a Hollywood set for a Western movie. But this isn't Hollywood magic—it's a gold-mining ghost town that's as pure Wild West as it gets! Named after William Bodey, who discovered gold in the hills north of Mono Lake, the former boomtown was home to thousands of people who flocked to the area in search of their mining riches. Things didn't work out as planned, but thanks to its designation as a National Historic Site in 1962, Bodie remains in a state of “arrested decay” (aka, frozen in time). Of the many structures in a state of preservation, some interiors remain exactly as they were left, stocked goods still in place. You won't find a gas station or café here—Bodie's authentic preservation means no commercial facilities, though there is a bookstore inside the museum, where you can gather more information about Bodie’s colorful past. There are daily tours, but you can wander independently, too. Visit the town church, the town jail, even the gymnasium. Stroll past houses and step inside a saloon (in its heyday, there were 65 saloons in Bodie—and barroom brawls aplenty!) and visit the old hotel, currently vacant except for the ghosts…

NIGHT GHOST WALKS: The Bodie Ghost Walk Tour is offered three nights this summer: June 27, July 18, and August 29. Hear ghost stories and learn about the legends of Bodie as you visit the hangouts of the notorious, peer into the homes of the gentle, and walk among the spirits of times gone by.

_Bodie State Historic Park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Hwy. 395 on Bodie Road (Hwy. 270), seven miles south of Bridgeport. No dogs.

Love our state parks? Learn more about Park Advocacy Day._

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Golden Gate's Blue Heron

    Golden Gate Park’s Blue Heron Lake is home to birds of many feathers, turtles lounging on rocks, visitors from afar, and locals who love this urban oasis in San Francisco. Try the "Boats and Breakfast" rowboat or pedal boat deal.

    View
  2. Cañada Collage

    This 4.3-mile loop through Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve showcases all the highlights of the season, thrumming with wildlife and wildflowers.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hike Kortum Trail on the Sonoma Coast

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin

    Duck, Duck, Goose!

    Try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds. We love Goose Lake Campground, where there are just 13 sites and no motorized boats.

    View
  2. Fancy Camp

    Wanna go rugged on the coast, minus the whole pitching your own tent and sleeping on the ground bit? Mendocino Grove is spot-on for upgrading your roughing-it experience, with beautifully appointed tent-cabins set across the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay.

    View
  3. A Splash of Whiskeytown

    Located just 8 miles west of Redding and surrounded by mountain peaks, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is nearly 40,000 acres of all things outdoors: waterfalls, campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails, and a beautiful crystal-clear lake at the center of it all.

    View
  4. Bucks Up!

    Come on in, the water is beautiful. Whether you like swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddling, or heading out on a bigger boat, Bucks Lake is a high mountain haven that’s easy to access, blissfully uncrowded, and surrounded by sandy beaches, picnic areas, pines, and aspens.

    View