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Ballarat, California: Ghost Town with Infamous Truck

1897 ghost town. 1960s Manson murder cult lived on nearby Barker ranch. 1942 Dodge power wagon truck parked outside may have been driven by Manson and Tex Watson, or maybe not. Bonus: grave of prospector Seldom Seen Slim. Ballarat currently has one resident, who runs the general store.

Ballarat Rd, Ballarat, CA
From CA-178/Trona-Wildrose Rd turn east at the Ballarat turnoff onto Ballarat Rd (a well maintained gravel road). Drive 3.5 miles to Ballarat. You'll see the truck on the left at the main intersection in town.
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Visitor Tips and News About Ghost Town with Infamous Truck

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Ballarat Ghost Town.

Ballarat Ghost Town

Ballarat is a ghost town that was once a bustling supply town for the local mines. Ballarat was active from 1897-1917; there is now only one permanent resident. A few remaining structures, along with the cemetery, remain. There is dry camping allowed for a $5/night donation. Stop in to the general store to see pictures of what the town used to look like and hear stories from the caretaker, Rock Novak.

[Elizabeth, 10/25/2019]

Ballarat is best known as the location of Charles Manson's truck.

Ghost Town With Charles Manson Truck

Super friendly characters at the general store. It's not really a general store, but they do sell three dollar cans of soda and beer. And the storytelling is worth the three dollars. We are delighted that we stopped here.

[Kelli11, 04/03/2019]

Ghost town.

Ghost Town With Charles Manson Truck

The people at the General Store are nice. Bring cash. Drinks are $3. Serious off-roading for 4WD vehicles.

[BackroadsBuck, 04/28/2016]

Manson truck.

Ghost Town With Charlie's Truck

In its heyday, Ballarat had seven saloons, hotels, and more. But as the mines played out, the town was abandoned and all that remains are a few adobe walls, especially where the old post office used to be.

It is a self-described "free zone" with a general store/trading post - and an old truck that once belonged to Charlie Manson, from when his "family" lived in a ranch south of town.

[Mulvaney, 05/29/2015]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Alien MailboxAlien Mailbox, Ballarat, CA - 4 mi.
Trona PinnaclesTrona Pinnacles, Trona, CA - 31 mi.
Fish RocksFish Rocks, Salt Wells Canyon, CA - 29 mi.
In the region:
Harmony Borax Works, Furnace Creek, CA - 36 mi.

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