Now Open: ‘Back Way to Bodie’

Explore some fresh Mono County road as you head to the beloved ghost town.

Alysia Gray Painter

A DIFFERENT ENTRANCE: While structures of the late 1800s were smaller than the behemoths we know in our modern life -- much smaller, as a rule -- they still would often boast multiple doors. Perhaps a saloon might have a front door, for the patrons, and a back door, for deliveries, staffers, and, yes, the occasional unsanctioned card game. Houses were much the same way, with public-facing entrances and those that were nearer to the chicken coop or barn. It stands to reason, then, that a famous mining town located deep within the hills also might have a few entrances/egresses, the better to help locals back in the day -- and contemporary visitors -- come and go. Bodie State Historic Park, despite its highly remote location, has more than one way in. The most-oft employed route to the one of the best-known ghost towns on the planet received a dose of "freshly compacted dirt" in 2015, making it still the top choice for many travelers, but Cottonwood Canyon is also used by those Bodie buffs seeking out a different experience. And while winter hasn't shown its last gasp quite yet -- the ghost town can sometimes see a blanket of visitor-thwarting snow -- the "back way to Bodie" has made its seasonal debut. 

MONO COUNTY TOURISM... made the announcement on Thursday, March 24, and included a map on how to reach Cottonwood Canyon (you'll leave Highway 395 at Highway 167, just a pinch north of Mono Lake). This isn't, at the moment or at least through late April, merely about savoring some fresh vistas on your way into the historic site; "Hwy 270 will remain closed until late April," shares Mono County Tourism. Thus if you're doing a late spring break road trip, take note. And take note, as Mono County Tourism wisely says, that changeable weather is a fact of Mono County life, and definitely in the hilly environs occupied by Bodie. Who's to say there isn't more frosty flakeage in Mother Nature's hip pocket? Check before you go search for ghosts around the town, a town that has dozens of buildings with dozens of entrances. How you reach that town will be part of the story of your trip.

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