Entrance sign, southbound
|• 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)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|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, Charlie (Manson) ordered me to do so, it was fun”. 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.
At the 2010 census 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 people (24.5%).
The whole population lived in households, no one lived in non-institutionalized group quarters and no one was institutionalized.
There were 78 households, 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 one person and 6 (7.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.46. There were 50 families (64.1% of households); the average family size was 3.10.
The age distribution was 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 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 78 were occupied, 44 (56.4%) by the owners and 34 (43.6%) 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.
At the 2000 census there were 134 people, 50 households, and 38 families 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. Of the 50 households 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 households were one person and 4.0% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.13.
The age distribution was 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% 65 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 household income was $30,000 and the median family income 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.
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.
- Author Kliph Nesteroff once lived in Olancha and chronicled its film history.
- The town is featured in the video game American Truck Simulator.
- "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.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-01-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), Center for Land Use Interpretation.
- http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/faq/[failed verification]
- Climate Summary for Olancha, California
- Will You Die For Me? Archived 2007-04-04 at the Wayback Machine, Watson's Manson memories, first published in 1978
- "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Olancha CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "U.S. Census website". 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.