Ballarat, CA

Fish Rocks, Salt Wells Canyon, CA

After Yosemite we weren’t quite sure where we wanted to head. We were both feeling a tinge of regret for not spending more time on the coast but our plan had been to head toward Death Valley. We spent over an hour in some smoothie place discussing our options (…and how much we loved Morro Bay.) but eventually decided to continue on the original path and head down into Death Valley National Park.

Cell phone service in the desert is hit or miss. I either had all my bars or nothing but while I did have service I was browsing Roadside America for spots to hit. That’s how we found Ballarat. Formerly a supply point for the mines nearby, Ballarat is now a ghost town. In it’s heyday it was home to nearly 500 people. It had 7 saloons, a jail, a school, a handful of hotels and more. There isn’t much left anymore, just a few rusted out all cars, shells of buildings, and a cemetery.

I was a bit nervous to visit since it’s a little ways off the main road. I was worried it would be home to someone who might be offended by our visit. A sign near the entrance of the town read as follows…

“this is a free zone take any kind of photos you want. camp party make movies etc no harm. nobody cares feel free. learn nothen setting in your car the friendly zone welcome to ballarat ghost town…”
After seeing that I felt free to roam…
Truck belonging to the Manson family.

The thing I was most excited about in Ballarat was the cemetery. I’d been on the look out for an old desert cemetery since the last trip and we had yet to stumble across one. I saw photos of this one on Roadside America and that was actually one of the biggest reasons I wanted to visit. This one was smaller than I had been hoping for but still so awesome. It had such a gorgeous view and it was just a world of difference from the cemeteries we have here. And this headstone?! Get out! Easily one of the most interesting I’ve ever seen in person.

We didn’t stay too long in Ballarat, it was hot and we were both anxious to get into the national park but it was definitely a great stop.

You can find more posts from our road trip under the “travel” tag. 

Author: Kaylah

Just a green haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio.

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