Olancha, California

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Olancha (formerly, Olanche)[2] is a census-designated place in Inyo County of the U.S. state of California.[1] Olancha is located on U.S. Route 395 in California, 37 miles (60 km) south-southeast of Independence,[2] at an elevation of 3658 feet (1115 m).[1] As of the 2000 census, the CDP population was 134.

Located in the Owens Valley next to the now mostly dry Owens Lake, the arid settlement is home to a major bottled water plant for Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water.[1][2]



Olancha is an unincorporated community located in the Owens Valley on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range at the elevation of 3,650 feet (1,110 m), in Inyo County, California. It is on US Highway 395 near the junction of State Route 190, approximately 200 miles (320 km) northeast of Los Angeles. Owens Lake - a dry saline lakebed - lies to the northeast of Olancha. Olancha Creek flows from the slopes of nearby Olancha Peak (12,123 ft), passing near the town of Olancha, and finally towards Owens Lake. To the east of town lie some sand dunes, as well as a hot spring known as "Dirty Socks".

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 7.3 square miles (18.9 km²), all of it land.


Olancha was established by Minnard Farley, who came to the area in 1860 and discovered silver ore in the nearby Coso Range. The name "Olancha" is believed to be derived from the nearby Yaudanche tribe. For processing the ore, he built a stamp mill just south of Olancha Creek. The remains of a stone wall from this mill still exists and has been designated as a California Historical Site (marker #796).

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