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The High Sierra is filled with deep history not just from a human perspective but an environmental one as well. From the highest peaks to the lowest valleys, each tells a story that most of us would only drive by. To hear the tales, you must check out the High Sierra museums that exist up & down this storied mountain range. Here’s just a glimpse into some of our favorites.

Giant Forest Museum

Learn more about the Sequoia National Park & the Giant Forest Museum

Image appears courtesy: Visit Visalia

Are you a tree buff? Even in you aren’t, the Giant Forest Museum provides an opportunity to become one by learning the story of the giant sequoias and the Giant Forest. Here, you’ll discover the difference between California coastal redwoods and giant sequoias. You may come for the massive trees, but just as often, you’ll leave with something much, much bigger.

Mono Basin Historical Society & Museum

For info on all museums in Mono County, visit the Museum page at

Lee Vining Court House Museums in the High Sierra
Image appears courtesy: Mono County Tourism & Film Commission

Travel back in time and experience the history of Mono Basin in a fun & interactive way at the Mono Basin History Museum in Lee Vining, California. Situated in the old Mono Lake schoolhouse, the museum displays tell the story of the local Kutzedikaa Pauites, gold mining era, early ranching pioneers, and so much more as they chronicle the rich history of the region. After browsing through the museum, head outside to see the world-famous Upside-Down House built by in 1956 by Nellie Bly O’Bryan (1893–1984), and was inspired by two children’s stories — “Upside Down Land” and “The Upsidedownians.”  A recent video produced by ABC-10 News tells  the story.

Thunderbird Lake Lodge

Learn more about this historic building and other exciting sites in and around Tahoe North

Thunder Bird Lodge museums in the high sierra
Image appears courtesy: Tahoe North

The lodge, once owned by Captain George Whittell Jr., is the reason why Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore looks like it does today. The well-kept castle of this legendary man gives a glimpse into the life of the rich & famous from the 1930’s like no other place can. Explore secret tunnels, hear about his eccentric lifestyle & most of all, marvel in the exquisite elements created by prominent architect Frederic DeLongchamps.

Each and every High Sierra museum offers a unique glimpse at the history that exists in these mountains. Both residents and visitors alike, these places gives us a chance to learn & truly appreciate the world surrounding us today.


Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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