Bodie Ghost Town – Sam Leon Saloon

The Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town.

Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. The town is named for Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1875, a mine cave-in revealed pay dirt, which led to purchase of the mine by the Standard Company in 1877. People flocked to Bodie and transformed it from a town of a few dozen to a boomtown.

Only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of “arrested decay.” Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, the remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of “arrested decay”. Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds and an occasional ghost.


  • Winter hours 9am to 4pm (November 4th to April 15th)
  • Summer hours 9am-6pm (April 15th to November 3rd )

In the winter, you may need a snowmobile to get in. The road is not plowed.

The only access at sunrise, sunset, and the interiors of the building is by permit. The cost is steep but worth it. My wife Liz and I went on a photography tour at $800 a pop.

The tour gave us access at sunrise, sunset, and the interiors of the building at mid-day.

Feature Image Details

I used a Canon 11-24 F4.0 L lens at 19mm, F16, ISO 500 for 1.3 seconds. The saloon is fascinating. Here are some additional images.

Additional Bodie Images – Wide Angle and Tilt-Shift Discussion

  1. Bodie – California Ghost Town – Wheaton and Hollis Hotel – Sunset.
  2. Bodie – California Ghost Town – Wheaton and Hollis Hotel – Interior
  3. Bodie Ghost Town – Boone Store Shell Station and 1927 Dodge Graham Pickup Truck

The first two articles discuss the importance of very wide angle lenses and tilt-shift lenses for photographing Bodie and the interiors of buildings in general.

Wide angle lenses were used again in this set. The first 4 images in this set were between focal lengths of 11mm and 19mm.

The roulette wheel was taken at 80mm and the poker table at 24mm.

Eastern Sierra Area

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This is just the beginning of my Bodie series.

There is much more coming up: Sam Leon’s saloon, the morgue, the Methodist church, a Shell gas station, the schoolhouse, the barbershop, other buildings, and milky way shots at night.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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