Inyo County is a land of extremes. It claims the highest and lowest points in the lower 48. Mount Whitney with an elevation of 14,505 feet is 85 miles west of Death Valley National Park's Badwater Basin at 282 ft below sea level. Stay in the towns of Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, and Lone Pine while exploring the area.
While the scenery in Inyo County is absolutely mesmerizing, so is its local culture. Here are three museums to see.
1. Manzanar National Historic Site
Six miles south of Independence
An estimated 10,000 Japanese Americans were held in Manzanar after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II. While most of the site was dismantled after the war, a replica barrack and mess hall offer insights into camp life, and the restored camp auditorium serves as a visitor center.; 5001 Highway 395 or go to www.nps.gov/manz/.
2. Eastern California Museum
Peer through a window into the area’s rich past at this museum. You’ll find baskets from Owens Valley Paiute-Shoshone and Death Valley Panamint-Shoshone, the Slim Princess, a fully restored narrow gauge steam locomotive, tales of local mountaineer Norman Clyde and a petrified mammoth leg from the Ice Age; 155 N. Grant St.; www.inyocounty.us/ecmsite/
3. Laws Railroad Museum
Five miles north of Bishop
Go back in time to see what early railroad settlements looked like at this museum. Each restored building and train help paint a picture of life in the Owens Valley more than 100 years ago. Ride the green 1927 Death Valley Railroad car during the summer. The museum is located north of Bishop off of U.S. 6; lawsmuseum.org.
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