Planning Your Trip

5 Tips for Planning Your Trip

Understanding how Bodie got it's start as a state park is a good way to understand what to expect when visiting Bodie... Bodie has been a California State Park since 1962. Arranged to become a CA State Park by the Cain family, the agreement for Bodie was that everything would be left as it was receieved in 1962 - items left in buildings and even all the artifacts in the previously curated museum would be left frozen in time. Even the items left outside are to remain untouched by visitors, in their original locations, for future generations to see. Bodie is where the the idea of a "state of arrested decay" first began. 

"State of Arrested Decay" Only necessary repairs are done in order to preserve Bodie for as long as possibe. This means annual roof repairs and re-shingling, repairing broken windows on buildings that had windows in 1962, and stabilization efforts for buildings in need. This agreement was to ensure that Bodie would not become like other "wild west" towns with re-enacted gun fights, kitchy gift shops, and restaurants. This agreement also was an effort to make sure that Bodie would not disappear due to theft, vandalism, and decay, like other local mining camps that had been abandoned. This also means that Bodie doesn't have added interpretive signs through out town and no services outside of the parks basic operations exist... 

No Services - It is important for those visiting Bodie to understand that, because Bodie is kept in a "state of arrested decay," there are no services. Bodie is a 30-45 minute drive to the nearest towns with services.

#1 - Prepare for the Weather & Dress to Impress E. Hedlund - Bodie School House & Storm 2023

Bodie's weather can be unpredictable year-round. It is good to check the weather ahead of time to have an idea of what the weather may be like, but Bodie weather isn't always what is predicted. Rain and hail can come out of nowhere on sunny days, even when not in the forecast. It is also possible for Bodie to get snow almost every month of the year, although not typically in July or August. 

Summer & Fall Weather

Bodie's best weather typically occurs from June through mid-October.  Warmer days can get into the high 80s in July and August with cooler temperatures in the 30s and 40s (Farenheit.)  Because of Bodie's high altitude, many people feel like it is even hotter; you are closer to the sun and the UV index is greater.

What to Wear: Sun protection is very important. Wear sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Dressing in layers can be helpful, as the weather can change quickly from sunshine to cold rain, hail, and afternoon thunderstorms. Light, loose, long sleeved shirts allow for extra sun protection, as well as air flow. Sweatshirts and jackets are nice to have on hand in case of cold weather or afternoon rainstorms that may occur. Wear good walking shoes or hiking boots. Closed-toed shoes are preferable year-round to protect feet and ankles from rough terrain, rusty artifacts and the rare occasion of coming across a rattlesnake. 


 

Winter & Spring Weather 

Bodie's colder weather typically occurs from October through May and light snowshowers begin as early as September, but generally melt away quickly. Significant snowfall typically begins November and can last through the end of May, closing Bodie's main road (HWY 270) and making other dirt roads into Bodie impassable due to snow and mud. Temperatures during these months may not get higher than 30-40 degrees Farenheit. 

What to Wear: Just like in summer and fall, layers are great in winter. Be able to layer on warmer clothing and opt for more waterproof clothing and footwear when snow is on the ground. Snowboots and snowshoes may be advised for winter visits to the park. Thick warm socks, gloves, warm hats/beanies, and underarmour are good to have in case they are needed. Sunprotection is still crucial in winter due to high altitude and for snowy days when sun reflects off of snow. Eye protection is important to prevent eyes from snow blindness. Due to mud and standing water, bug repellant and protective clothing can make a trip to Bodie during the spring a little more enjoyable. 


 

#2 - Pick Your Route & Visitation Time 

E. Hedlund - JS Cain House 2016

While spontaneous trips can be fun, Bodie isn't always the best place to visit spontaneously. Without planning ahead, a spontaneous trip to Bodie has the potential to turn inconvenient and miserable. Because Bodie is off the beaten path, getting to Bodie is just as much a part of visiting Bodie as visiting the town itself. 

Keep in mind that there are 4 roads into Bodie, but these do not belong to the park, and not all of these roads are paved. Visitors should be aware of road conditions and understand that, depending on the time of year, there may be challenges in getting to Bodie. Some roads may only be passable by 4 wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicles and in winter, some routes may only be passable by snowmobile. 

Visitors traveling to Bodie may encounter obstacles or even road work that the park has not been informed of, so be prepared for the possibility of getting caught in a "sheep" or "cattle" jams, encountering road work, or slowing down for bumpy dirt roads.  

Summer & Fall Visits 

Bodie's peak visitation happens during June, July and August when weather is warmer and school is out for summer. While June can still be a bit muddy and wet (with lots of bugs), July and August are great months to visit the park, full of special events and good weather. Fall is also a fantastic time to visit Bodie.

Those visiting Bodie in fall get to enjoy fewer crowds, warm days that are not exceedingly hot and lots of wildlife.  Roads into Bodie are more likely to be more accessible during these seasons and park hours are longer. 

Winter & Spring Visits 

More significant snowfall can arrive to Bodie starting in November and lasting through May. Because of this, the main road into Bodie may be closed as late as May and on rare occcasion, into June. Visitors planning trips to Bodie this time of year should visit our page for "winter visits" to learn more about visiting Bodie during these snowy and muddy months. 

Be mindful of park hours and give yourself enough time to get to the park before closing. When conditions are good during warmer months, it takes approximately 30 minutes on Hwy 270 from Hwy 395 to get to Bodie. It takes approximately 45 minutes from Lee Vining to Bodie by way of Cottonwood Canyon Road. Visitors who arrive 15 minutes prior to the park closing or outside of park hours will not be able to visit the park. Non-parks personnel trespassing on state parks property outside of regular park hours are subject to citation. 

Summer Hours (May-October) 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

Winter Hours (November-April) 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

 ***Check out our "How to Get Here" page to pick your route*** 


 

#3 - Fuel, Food & Water! E. Hedlund - Dodge Graham 2023

Making sure both you - and your car - have sufficient fuel for your trip to Bodie. This can make or break a trip. Towing services can be costly if your car runs out of fuel and visitors who haven't had enough food and water are more likely to suffer from altitude sickness when in Bodie. 

  • Gas - Make sure to fuel up before visiting Bodie! The nearest gas stations to Bodie are located in Bridgeport, CA and Lee Vining, CA. 
  • EV Charging Stations - The Lee Vining Solar pavilion is set up for EV charging as well as the Bridgeport shell station. 
  • Food & Picnic Areas- The closest restaurants are located in Bridgeport and Lee Vining. We recommend eating before your trip to Bodie and bringing snacks just in case. We also have two picnic tables behind the Red Barn in the park as well as our picnic area with restrooms just up the road from the main parking lot for those who would like to pack a picnic lunch! 
  • Water - During our summer months, visitors can fill up water bottles at our water fountains located near the restrooms in the main parking lot, as well as at the water fountains just at the base of the walking path from the parking lot into town. These water fountains are turned off during colder months to prevent pipes from freezing. It's always a good idea to bring extra water in a refillable water bottle when visiting Bodie so that you can stay well-hydrated. 

    *Our non-profit bookstore does try to sell bottled water when the museum is open, but we sometimes run out of stock before we can get to the store

 

# 4 - Talks, Tours & Museum Hours

Friends of Bodie Day 2023

Since Bodie is kept in a "state of arrested decay," visitors will not find interpretive signs within the townsite of Bodie, however, several interpretive signs are located in the parking lot. Visitors can learn about Bodie through our self-guided history booklets, talks, tours, special events and park museum. 

Self-Guided Tour Brochures- Visitors can learn more about Bodie by purchasing a self-guided tour booklet at the Bodie kiosk, museum (open seasonally) or in front of the Red Barn. Self-guided cemetery tour brochures are available for purchase at the museum and Bodie Cemterey. 

Talks, Tours, & Special Events - If you are visiting us between May and October- plan ahead to join state parks staff for a free history talk or paid Stamp Mill tour (both offered seasonally from late May-October). Check out the "Special Events" section of our webpage to learn more about special events that may be happening during your visit. 

Museum Hours- Visitors can also visit Bodie's museum open seasonally, typically open late May through October. The Bodie museum is typically open from 10:00 AM and closes an hour before the park. 

***See main page for more information on talks, tours, and museum hours.***


 

#5 - Entrance Fees Kiosk

Bodie's entrance kiosk is staffed only during warmer months (typically May-October.) Visitors can typically pay by cash or credit at the entrance kiosk during these warmer months. During winter months (typically November-May), visitors must pay at the self-payment station in the main parking lot (cash only). 

Credit Cards- Visitors can pay by credit card at the entrance kiosk during warmer months (typically May-October)  We typically, are able to process payments by credit card, althought Bodie's remote location can sometimes mean issues with connectivity. More and more state parks are installing payment machines to take credit cards at various locations. We are hoping to have our APM running by next winter for winter payments by credit card. 

Cash - Visitors can also pay by cash. We do not have an ATM, so please plan ahead to know how much cash you may need. (Please help us out with our change fund, by paying with smaller bills if possible! We are over 2 hours away from the nearest bank and our change fund can run out if we don't get enough small bills!) 

Entry from back roads - Visitors entering Bodie by way of backroads must still pay an entrance fee at the kiosk or self-payment station in the main parking lot. 


***Make sure to check our main page for current entrance fee prices.***