The Ghost town of Bodie
Old shacks and shops, abandoned mine shafts, a Methodist church, the mining village of Rattlesnake Gulch, and the remains of a small Chinatown are among the sights at this fascinating ghost town turned state historic park, which sits at an elevation of 8,200 feet. The town boomed from about 1878 to 1881, but by the late 1940s, all its residents had departed. A state park was established here in 1962, with a mandate to preserve the town in a state of "arrested decay," but not to restore it. Evidence of Bodie's wild past survives at an excellent museum, and you can tour an old stamp mill (where ore was stamped into fine powder to extract gold and silver) and a ridge that contains many mine sites. No food, drink, or lodging is available in Bodie; the nearest picnic area is ½ mi away. The town is 23 mi from Lee Vining, north on U.S. 395, then east on Route 270; the last 3 mi are unpaved. Snow may close Route 270 late fall through early spring, but you can ski the 13 mi from the highway to the park.