Reminiscing about one of my most favorite summer trips with my family. It’d have to be 4 days spent on an Eastern Sierra Road Trip last summer. We left Lake Tahoe and made our way around the lake and over the pass to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains, a lesser traveled part of our beautiful state. I’d long been hoping to explore places like Mono Lake, Bodie State Park, and the many Mammoth Lakes. We went in late June, the roads were clear and the wildflowers were plenty. Creeks were rushing with snow melt, the sun was high and bright, and we were full of excitement for our adventure.
Day One took us to Bodie, CA. Now a ghost town and California State Park, Bodie was once a booming mining town with an estimated 10,000 people there by 1880. It was a rowdy place with gun fights, saloons, and robbers. Today, it’s a dusty ghost town that lives to tell a storied piece of California’s rich history.
The drive to Bodie is not for the faint of heart nor for those in precious fancy cars. The 13 mile bumpy dirt road is all part of the adventure. As soon as you turn off the highway you begin to realize the isolation of Bodie in the very eastern part of the state.
There are several dozen structures still standing in Bodie including a mill, church, firehouse, bar, store, bank and school house. Only a few of these structures are open to tour, the rest are unsafe to enter due to deterioration. Not only has time passed once thriving Bodie by, but it has also seen far more than its share of earthquakes including a 6.0 quake on my birthday day last December 28th.
Aside from being a good California history lesson for the kids (and us too!) Bodie, California is just beautiful. I could not have asked for a more perfect day to see this unique town. The sky was perfectly blue and the white puffy clouds made for a stunning backdrop to our day.
Tips for spending a day in Bodie:
- Bring food and water. There isn’t anywhere to buy food in Bodie or anywhere nearby for that matter so be sure to pack a cooler.
- Bring your camera. Incredibly scenic backdrop and gorgeous setting for photos
- Book a place to stay. There isn’t much out this side of the Sierra. We chose to stay in Mammoth and SO glad we did. More on where to stay on the Eastern Sierra Road trip later.