Olancha (formerly, Olanche) is a census-designated place in Inyo County of the U.S. state of California. Olancha is located 37 miles (60 km) south-southeast of Independence, at an elevation of 3658 feet (1115 m). As of the 2000 census, the CDP population was 134.
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).
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/sq mi (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.
In the state legislature Olancha is located in the 18th Senate District, represented by Republican Roy Ashburn, and in the 18th Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Maze. Federally, Olancha is located in California's 25th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Buck McKeon.
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).
The post-punk power quartet The Owl recorded a song titled "Olancha" in 2005 inspired by guitarist Jesse Sateriale's experiences from his early childhood in the town.
Ambient composer Harold Budd (raised in the desert town of Victorville, CA) recites his "Poem: Distant Lights of Olancha Recede" on the album By the Dawn's Early Light (1991, All Saints). "Olancha Farewell" is a short synthesizer piece on Budd's album Lovely Thunder (1986, Editions EG).