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. Photo of the East Brother Light Station in the San Francisco Bay Area

    Oh, Brother!

    Spending the night on a tiny island in the Bay? Intriguing. Spending the night in a lighthouse perched on that island? Sound the foghorn! East Brother Light Station Bed & Breakfast sits on a small patch of land in the strait that separates San Francisco and San Pablo Bays.

  2. Mill About Lakeside

    Bucks Lake Recreation Area near Quincy in Plumas County has plenty of beautiful hiking trails. For an easy hike with beautiful spots for sunning, swimming, and lounging on sand beaches or giant rock slabs, do the Mill Creek Trail.

  3. Camping at Chewing Gum Lake Emigrant Wilderness

    High Sierra Lake Hop

    Situated just north of Yosemite is a High Sierra wonderland that gets a fraction of the crowds and is a fantastic destination for backpacking. The Emigrant Wilderness is 113,000 acres of granite ridges, wildflower-strewn meadows, and cobalt lakes.

  4. The Secret Big Blue

    Set at 4,500 feet, surrounded by 52 miles of shoreline, and with sparkling sapphire hue, Lake Almanor is the other big blue. The secret one. This huge lake—idyllic in spring through fall for all kinds of water adventures—is a gem of Plumas County where you can relax without crowds.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Hot As (Bumpass) Hell

    So you like going to all the hot spots when you visit places? Well, in Lassen Volcanic National Park there’s a place so hot it gets downright steamy. Bumpass Hell is the largest hydrothermal area in the park, with sputtering mud pots, sulfur vents, and boiling pools. It’s California’s Yellowstone.

  2. 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.

  3. Starcrossed Stairway?

    Built into the hillside next to the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Heights delights with historic homes, steep and narrow (mostly carless) streets, and enchanting city views. Best of all, it features a network of walkways and staircases that makes it super fun to wander and explore.

  4. Lunch at the Lakes

    Pack your own picnic and head for a lakeside lunch at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Then take your pick from a lovely trio of lakes accessed from the same trailhead. Follow it all up with a visit to Manzanita Lake on the other side of the park.