One of the many things that makes this country great is its willingness to remember inglorious moments in its past, such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the detention of more than 110,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese descent. Manzanar War Relocation Center was the first of 10 internment camps built throughout the western U.S. It held about 10,000 citizens (mostly from Los Angeles, California) in 36 blocks of wooden barracks across a one square-mile fenced enclosure.
Museum, film, reconstructed barracks, gardens, memorial
Opened in 2004, the National Park Service visitor center is located inside the former camp auditorium, which now houses an excellent museum. Self-guided walking and auto tours take visitors to two reconstructed barracks, the camp gardens, and a cemetery with the Manzanar Memorial.
You can walk or drive the 3.2-mile auto tour with 27 interpretive stops.
Located in the camp’s cemetery, the Manzanar Memorial is often swathed in origami paper cranes.
Summer, though temperatures can get hot with little shade.
Manzanar is located right off Highway 395 west of Death Valley National Park and the dirt roads inside the site are passable by all vehicles.
Camping is available in Death Valley National Park and dispersed camping is allowed in the scenic Alabama Hills managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Explore More – How many Japanese-Americans served in the U.S. military during World War II?