Bishop Field Office

Bodie to Benton Ride

BRINGING HISTORY TO LIFE - THE OLD FASHIONED WAY

Horse Drive Photo in the Bodie Hills with Sierra in the background"Yeehah!" shouts the lead outrider. This cue signals the start of the famous Benton to Bodie Wagon Ride, held annually in the sagebrush covered hills and valleys flanking the east Sierra. A line of frontier style canvas covered wagons and horseback riders begin to wind their way on an old stage route from Benton, a tiny town in east California, to the world-renowned Bodie State Historic Park , a mining ghost town frozen in time. The trip takes several days in late May with overnight camp outs at old historic sites along the way.

This is one of the many rides/horse drives that takes place in the Eastern Sierra in Spring and Fall.

Stopping to water the horses on the trail

The tourists who participate in this frontier cross-country trek dress the part as well. Donning old cowboy hats, leather riding chaps, other western wear, and Colt six shooters, these adventurers get a 1990's taste of how "the old west" was won. These city slickers experience the ride on frontier terms - long days on dusty roads with accompanying saddle and wagon sores. The long warm and sunny days unfold into crisp star filled evenings where spinning tales and singing songs around the campfire fill the evening's social calendar. Unlike the 1800's, food is plentiful, hot, and prepared by gourmet chefs.

Old fashioned stage coach on the horse drive

On the last day the riders mosey on to Bodie, a high elevation (8000 feet) historic ghost town, where they end their trek in a setting reminiscent of a real 1880's frontier mining town. Old mines, saloons, churches, a schoolhouse, a stamp mill, and other historic features dominate this landscape where the BLM and the California Department of Parks and Recreation protect this area for tourists to enjoy. As the wagons roll into Bodie, automobile bound tourists visiting Bodie stare in awe as history comes to life before their very eyes.

For more information on horse drives and wagon rides please contact Bishop Chamber of Commerce at 760-873-8405 or toll free at 888-395-3952.