Highway 395 has been a favorite drive of ours since Jeff and I were both kids. We each have fond memories of road trips with our respective families, frequently heading to Mammoth — his family for skiing, my family for hiking and camping. Since getting married three years ago, Jeff and I have taken our own kids on two Highway 395 summer vacation road trips: all the way to Oregon in 2010, and for an extended stay in Mammoth in 2011. The majesty and ruggedness of 395 scenery is just as breathtaking as we both remember from childhood, but fortunately, the highway is now wider and much better maintained.
U.S. Route 395 is a U.S. Route in the western United States. The southern terminus of the route is in the Mojave Desert at Interstate 15 near Hesperia. The northern terminus is at the Canadian border near Laurier, where the road becomes Highway 395 upon entering British Columbia. At one time, the route extended south to San Diego. I-15 replaced the stretch of 395 that ran from San Diego to Hesperia. Old 395 can be seen along I-15 in many locations before it branches off at Hesperia to head North.
— Source: Wikipedia
Whether you are heading to Lone Pine to tackle Mount Whitney, planning an active vacation in the Mammoth area, or are taking a cushy road trip in the family motor home, every Californian and every California visitor must drive historic Highway 395 at least once in their life.
Following are Greene Adventures’ recommendations for fun (educational as well as quirky), family and dog-friendly sites and activities that are easily accessible along beautiful the southern stretch of Highway 395, from Interstate 15 to Lone Pine, California (click through on each heading for complete write-up).
A short driving tour just 2.5 miles west of Lone Pine will take you into a geological wonderland that has been used as the backdrop for hundreds of movies. Nestled right at the base of Mount Whitney and the majestic High Sierras, this 7-mile scenic drive along Movie Flats Road will take you through some of the greatest rock formations you’ve ever seen, and many that you will recognize from hundreds of old western movies.
If you are a fan of Westerns, be sure to give yourself a half hour or so to tour the Lone Pine Museum of Film History first to learn more about the movies filmed in the Alabama Hills and the surrounding area.
While dogs are permitted in the Alabama Hills, they are not allowed inside of the film museum. So your party can tour the museum in shifts while someone waits outside with the dog.
No road trip along Historic Highway 395 is complete without visiting, at least once, this haunting piece of World War II history. Manzanar National Historic Site is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in between Lone Pine and Independence.
Manzanar National Historic Site marks the site of the former Manzanar Relocation Center, one of the ten war relocation camps into which the U.S. government forcefully interned 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Manzanar operated as an internment camp between March 1942 and November 1945, housing and holding more than 10,000 Japanese Americans.
It is possible to experience much of the site from within the comfort of your air-conditioned car by taking the free driving tour. Dogs are not allowed inside of the interpretive center, but they can explore the grounds if leashed.
Another “must-do” stop along the southern stretch of 395 is Erick Schat’s Bakkery — a favorite with anyone driving through Bishop. Just try checking-in to this location on Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter, and you can expect instant excited comments from friends, families, and event strangers.
This famous bakery is jam-packed with racks and display cases showing off dozens of mouth-watering breads, rolls, and baked goods. You can order a sandwich to eat there or on the go, or simply stock up on fresh baked bread for your road trip and vacation.
Dogs are not allowed inside of the bakery, so your party will have to explore the incredible sights and smells in shifts.