Museum of Western Film History. Costumes, cars, props, and more chart the history of filmmaking in the Alabama Hills, Eastern Sierra, and Death Valley. Take the self-guided driving tour through the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine to view 10 historic movie and TV locations, including those for Gunga Din and Rawhide. 760-876-9909; museumofwesternfilmhistory.org.
Manzanar National Historic Site (about 12 miles north of Lone Pine). Manzanar was one of 10 camps where more than 10,000 Japanese Americans were interned in World War II. The visitors center has exhibits and a 22-minute film. Outside, a self-guided driving tour takes you past sentry posts, reconstructed barracks, and the camp cemetery. 760-878-2194; nps.gov/manz/index.htm.
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (east of Bishop). Some of the world’s oldest trees, including the more than 4,800-year-old “Methuselah” tree, are perched atop the desolate White Mountains. Be forewarned: The steep and narrow road to get there from the Owens Valley includes hair-raising dips and sharp turns. Along the way you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada. The road is typically open May–November. fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5129900
Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ, Bishop. It’s famous for cheese-filled sheepherder bread, but equally worth a stop for its Dutch- and European-style breads, pastries, and candies. 760-873-7156; schatsbakery.com.
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. Tufas, bizarre-looking limestone formations that poke out of Mono Lake, create an otherworldly landscape. One of the largest concentration of “tufa towers” is at the South Tufa grove. To get there, take State Route 120 (5 miles south of Lee Vining) east until you reach the interpretive kiosk and short trail. Learn more about tufas at the visitors center just north of Lee Vining. 760-647-6331; parks.ca.gov/?page_id=514.
Mono Cone, Lee Vining. Find road food at its best here—including supertall, soft-serve vanilla ice cream cones dipped in chocolate. 51508 US Route 395.
Bodie State Historic Park (pictured above). This gold-mining ghost town is cool and creepy. In 1880, Bodie was home to nearly 10,000 people, but the boom was short-lived. Peer into windows, and you’ll see dusty antique furnishings and disintegrating curtains. Learn more about Bodie’s history at the museum or on a guided tour. Caution: The last 3 miles before the park may be rough at times, so take it slow.
Bridgeport. The main attraction here is the Mono County Courthouse, built in 1880 and the state’s second oldest in continuous use. Consider a visit during the town’s Independence Day celebration, which has been held for more than 150 years. bridgeportcalifornia.com.