Silver City Ghost Town is an open-air museum located in Bodfish, California featuring old historic houses. There are about 20 different western-style buildings preserved at the Silver City Ghost Town from the local area and all are at least 100 years old.
We were visiting Lake Isabella in the winter but due to the cold weather, there wasn’t that much that we could see and do in the area especially outdoors. The Silver City Ghost Town seemed like a quick fun attraction to visit that’s open and accessible all year long.
How To Get There
Silver City Ghost Town is located in Bodfish on the outskirts of Lake Isabella.
If you’re visiting Kernville or Wofford Heights, you can take Highway 155 and make a right on Lake Isabella Blvd that will lead you right there.
The Silver City Ghost Town museum has a designated dirt parking lot right in front of it where you can park your car for free. You’ll see a lot of historic buildings lined up in front by the entrance so it’s easy to spot it.
Silver City Ghost Town is privatively owned so there is a small entrance fee of $5.50 USD to visit it.
After paying the admission fee you’ll get a quick intro of Silver City Ghost Town’s history after which you can head into the museum to explore the various buildings featured here. At the end of your visit, you can also stop by one of the antique shops that sell historic artifacts from this region.
What You’ll See At Silver City Ghost Town
Silver City Ghost Town is an authentic museum showcasing historic buildings dating back to 1858. Visitors that come here can roam around these buildings and get taken back in time to the Gold Rush and Wild West times.
All of the historic structures featured in the Silver City Ghost Town museum come from the nearby mining towns like Keyesville, Whiskey Flats, Claraville and Miracle. After the second Gold Rush passed in California many of these buildings were abandoned so the goal was to preserve them and turn them into a museum.
All of the buildings at Silver City Ghost Town are at least 100 years old. With the mountains as its backdrop, this museum is quite scenic and really makes you imagine what life was like in the olden days.
As we walked through this Ghost Town we felt like we were on a set of a western movie – which sometimes do get filmed here.
This museum itself is pretty small so it doesn’t take more than 30-45 minutes to walk through, read the different information plaques and peep inside the various historic buildings housed here.
There are different types of buildings displayed at the Silver City Ghost Town ranging from saloons to residential buildings and even a jail!
Most of the historic buildings are located in a courtyard with an elevated walkway next to them so you can walk up closer and look inside.
Truthfully not all of the buildings in this Ghost Town are in the best shape and some still need restorative work. But Silver City Ghost Town is a family-owned business dedicated to preserving these historic structures so they are constantly being worked on to prevent further deterioration.
Inside The Museum
After entering the Silver City Ghost Town the first notable building that stood out to us was a red Wells Fargo office with a hotel attached next to it. These two are part of the few remaining structures that were salvaged from an old resort town called Scovern.
Next to these is an old post office from Clareville, a gold mining town that was abandoned once the gold ran out. Inside the post office, you can see a display of an old post office protective cage and other relics used in the post office during that time.
One of the most fascinating buildings at the Silver City Ghost Town is the Isabella jail from 1890.
The original site of the jail is now underwater at Lake Isabella but the jail itself was transported to the Silver City Ghost Town museum. Visitors can walk inside the jail to see shackle rings and old markings on the floor from prisoners. At the Isabella jail, you can even play-pretend to lock yourself up which feels pretty spooky and eerie!
Next to the jail is a miner’s cabin with sleeping quarters that surprisingly was one of the smallest buildings in this museum. During the Gold Rush times in California, the miners were more interested in spending time digging for their gold than sleeping in their little huts.
Inside the cabin, you can see a staged recreation of all the things that a typical miner owned like shovels, lamps, whiskey bottles, stovetop, and clothing.
The oldest building at the Silver City Ghost Town is a saloon dating back to 1858. This building was completely made out of wood down to wooden nails. Now the interior of this house is staged to look like an old saloon and is often used in movies.
Silver City Ghost Town isn’t exactly a “travel destination” of its own but if you’re driving through Lake Isabella area, a visit to Silver City Ghost Town is a fun experience that you’ll enjoy – especially if you love historic western sites.
Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Cost: $5.50 per person
Time Needed: 30-45 minutes