Bodie Road, State Route 270, is currently open all the way to the historic Wild West “ghost town” of Bodie. The park is open year ’round, but the road is subject to closure when conditions warrant. The Open Snow long range weather forecast says that models predict that we could some precipitation moving in after January 5, so if a winter visit to Bodie sounds good to you, get up there in the next week or so, while the road is open!
If we do get some snow, will that close the road? If it looks like the first in a series of storms, it’s probably simpler and safer to leave the road closed for the season. Bot now that the ground is frozen up in the dirt portion of the road, it’s less likely that wet conditions will make the road muddy and subject to damage from vehicle traffic (or cause vehicles to get stuck). So a brief and not-too-deep snowfall won’t necessarily close the road.
Some of my favorite visits have been in May when we get a late snowfall. I’ve seen the road stay open with as much as 8″ of snow on it. It doesn’t get plowed, so at those times you must have a vehicle with high clearance, and it’s best to have 4WD to minimize the odds of getting stuck. I believe there’s a chain control sign at one point on Bodie Road, so you could well be required to have 4WD and “M+S” mud and snow rated tires, or snow chains installed on vehicles without 4WD.
Thanks to Mono County Tourism for reminding me that the road is open! And thanks for sharing my Bodie photo, with credit, on Instagram and Facebook. The image is from one of the night photography workshops that I lead every summer… about 5-6 times most years, and over 30 times already! I should hear back on my 2018 date request by February.
There may not be much snow on the ground at the moment, but it doesn’t take much to create a whole different atmosphere in town, and there is probably noticeable patches of snow on the surrounding peaks. So if you can make it up soon, check out Bodie before the road closes for the winter!