About Olancha

Located 23 miles south of Lone Pine, California, and 45 miles north of Ridgecrest, the town of Olancha sits at the southern end of Owens Lake at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. Population ~200 and Zip Code = 93549.

Olancha sits along Highway 395 – you know, the town with the “Your Speed Is: __” posts to slow you down for a few miles.   Thousands of cars travel between Southern California and Mammoth Lakes, CA, each winter weekend for some of the country’s best skiing and for most of the summer for mountain biking / hiking / fishing / photographing / art & crafts festivals / music festivals / motor biking / etc.

Olancha has some of the most expansive views and the least expensive land between Tahoe and Tijuana.  Dotted with Joshua Trees and high desert landscape, Olancha has appeal to those looking for an Eastern Sierra getaway with easy access to great fishing, hiking, 4×4’ing (off-roading), and more.  Olancha also acts as a gateway to Death Valley, the largest national park in the country outside of Alaska.

Olancha Real Estate

CHEAP LAND!  We currently have 2 lots for sale, each with over 9 acres and one lot that is 5 acres, ready for your RV, mobile home, tent or modular home. They are located just south of Olancha between Hwy 395 and Haiwee Reservoir.  High Desert landscape with views of southern Sierra Nevada peaks.  Fishing, dirt biking, geocaching, and exploring all right there. Death Valley portal road nearby. Great chance to own cheap land in the Eastern Sierra and border BLM property.  Get you piece of “Enchanted Lake Village” subdivision today.  More info contained in this link:

 Click HERE to view all Olancha lots for Sale.

Lot 53-54 corner

Typical lot corner in Enchanted Lakes Village

Olancha - Enchanted Lake 108

View from Enchanted Lakes to Haiwee




Olancha was inhabited by Indians living among the verdant meadows on the southwest shore of Owens Lake before 1863. That year, Minnard Farley constructed his mill on Olancha Creek. Farley came east of the Sierra Nevada Range in 1860 in search of the legendary “Lost Gunsight Lode”, popularized a decade earlier when an emigrant crossing Death Valley lost his gunsite and replaced it with some local soft metal he found, which later proved to be rich silver, found in the nearby Coso Range.

By December 1863, Farley had built an eight stamp mill with five amalgamating pans, a sawmill and a blacksmith shop. Indian uprisings later in the decade culminated with the burning of Farley’s mill in 1867. By then, nearby Cerro Gordo began glowing brightly in the nearby Inyo Range, attracting stages to run north from Los Angeles, then a small burg 175 miles south. Olancha became a stage stop.

Two steamships were constructed to carry payloads of Cerro Gordo silver bullion across Owens Lake, which tied up at Cartago Landing, a couple of miles north of Olancha. Soon Olancha was bustling with traffic inbound and outbound from Cerro Gordo. A post office was opened at Olancha September 23, 1870 and has remained open ever since!

After mining died down, Olancha remained as an agricultural center. Many ranches raised livestock and produce, watered by abundant streams and springs (imagine that!). Ranchers have, for more than a century, driven cattle and sheep into the Sierra Nevada Range and nearby Monache Meadows for summer range for their cattle, and large cattle drives still are the norm today.

In 1910, the Southern Pacific Railroad reached Olancha with their Owens Valley Branch (the “Jawbone”, which is now undergoing salvage), built to provide construction materials for the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a 250 mile long aqueduct to feed pure Sierra snowmelt to the growing city, and is still in use today. Olancha continues to hold a stable population of around 200 citizens. A couple of restaraunts serve hungry tourists traveling along US 395, along with a couple of gas stations.

A large water bottling plant is located a mile north, serving the popular Crystal Geyser brand bottled water. Anheiser-Busch Brewing Company also owns property and pumps pure well water for use by their bottling plant in Los Angeles.

Nearby attractions include: Olancha Sand Dunes, the Sierra Nevada streams and backcountry meadows, Dirty Socks Hot Spring, Cerro Gordo ghost town, Fossil Falls, and a gateway to Death Valley. Today, decaying and abandoned old buildings are sagging and crumbling among occupied and cared for-homes. (History content by: David A. Wright).


Joshua Trees in Olancha

Local businesses include the famous Gus’ Jerky stand, a Mobile station and a few motels that harken back to the 50’s.  Excel Bridge Manufacturing builds bridges here and trucks them up and down California; a few even seen in Mammoth.

Just north of Olancha is an even smaller town called Cartago.  You’ll notice the big lemon house with a dinosaur and oversized ant on the side of the Hwy…maybe someone’s art talent on display.


Keeler Beach

To the east of Olancha around the north side of Owens Lake is an even funkier town called Keeler.  I imagine the residents here love their isolation.