|Census designated place|
Entrance sign, southbound
Location in Inyo County and the state of California
|• Total||7.872 sq mi (20.388 km2)|
|• Land||7.841 sq mi (20.308 km2)|
|• Water||0.031 sq mi (0.080 km2) 0.39%|
|Elevation||3,658 ft (1,115 m)|
|Population (April 1, 2010)|
|Time zone||Pacific (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||272775|
|Official name||Farley's Olancha Mill Site|
Olancha (formerly, Olanche) is a census designated place in Inyo County of the U.S. state of California. Olancha is located on U.S. Route 395 in California, 37 miles (60 km) south-southeast of Independence, at an elevation of 3658 feet (1115 m). As of the 2010 census, the population was 192, up from 134 at the 2000 census.
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) due north 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 7.9 square miles (20 km2), over 99% 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).
The first post office at Olancha opened in 1870.
On August 11, 1969 Manson Family members Charles “Tex” Watson and Dianne “Snake” Lake settled down in Olancha two days after Watson had stabbed Sharon Tate to death. Here, Watson bought a newspaper revealing that it still was a mystery who committed the Manson murders and confessed to Lake: “I killed her, Charley (Manson) ordered me to do so”. This fact was witnessed by Lake during the Watson trial in 1971. Lake was shortly put into custody in Independence after complaints from Olancha inhabitants for swimming nude. After a few weeks the two of them left Olancha for the final Manson hideout in Death Valley.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Olancha had a population of 192. The population density was 24.4 people per square mile (9.4/km²). The racial makeup of Olancha was 133 (69.3%) White, 0 (0.0%) African American, 4 (2.1%) Native American, 8 (4.2%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 38 (19.8%) from other races, and 9 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 47 persons (24.5%).
The Census reported that 192 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 78 households, out of which 23 (29.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 44 (56.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1 (1.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 5 (6.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 7 (9.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 0 (0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 22 households (28.2%) were made up of individuals and 6 (7.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46. There were 50 families (64.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.10.
The population was spread out with 44 people (22.9%) under the age of 18, 9 people (4.7%) aged 18 to 24, 37 people (19.3%) aged 25 to 44, 69 people (35.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 33 people (17.2%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.2 years. For every 100 females there were 115.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 120.9 males.
There were 97 housing units at an average density of 12.3 per square mile (4.8/km²), of which 44 (56.4%) were owner-occupied, and 34 (43.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 2.9%. 108 people (56.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 84 people (43.8%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 134 people, 50 households, and 38 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 18.4 people per square mile (7.1/km²). There were 62 housing units at an average density of 8.5 per square mile (3.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 53.73% White, 0.75% Native American, 5.97% from other races, and 9.70% from two or more races. 37.31% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 50 households out of which 40.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.0% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.0% were non-families. 20.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 32.1% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $30,000, and the median income for a family was $46,250. Males had a median income of $31,250 versus $26,250 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,124. There were 4.5% of families and 9.4% of the population living below the poverty line, including 17.2% of under eighteens and none of those over 64.
Olancha in popular culture
- Part of the film Bug (2007) directed by William Friedkin, starring Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon and Harry Connick, Jr., was filmed in Olancha. 
- Other films filmed in or near Olancha include Iron Man (2008), Panic in Motion (2005), Taxidermist (2008) and Tremors (1990). 
- Ambient composer Harold Budd (raised in the desert town of Victorville, California) recites his poem "Distant Lights of Olancha Recede" on the album By the Dawn's Early Light. "Olancha Farewell" is a short synthesizer piece on Budd's album Lovely Thunder.
- Two episodes of The Twilight Zone, "Third From the Sun" (1960) and "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (1961) were filmed here.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files - Places - California". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Olancha, California
- "Farley's Olancha Mill Site". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1191. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
- Climate Summary for Olancha, California
- Will You Die For Me?, Watson's Manson memories, first published in 1978
- "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Olancha CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Senators". State of California. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- "California's 8th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved April 11, 2013.