Our 1.6-mile walking trail features interpretive panels discussing this important moment in our history. While walking along the trail, one will be able to view the buildings and reconstructions that the site has to offer. It is important that while visiting the site, that you stay on the trail and do not pick up any artifacts along the trail. Plan to wear sturdy walking shoes and bring plenty of water as there is minimal shade.
Points of Interest
Guard TowerThe Guard Tower at the entrance represents one of the eight guard towers, manned by Military Police, that were located around the perimeter of the camp. The Guard Tower at Minidoka was reconstructed in 2013 through a partnership with Boise State University. The reconstruction closely resembles the guard towers that were on site, at Minidoka, offering visitors a glimpse into the emotional and psychological experiences of those confined.
The Honor Roll acknowledges honors the Japanese Americans from Minidoka who served in the Armed Forces during WWII and remembers those who sacrificed their lives while serving. Minidoka incarcerees made up twenty-five percent of the first inductees into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Japanese American unit. The current Honor Roll is a reconstruction of the original that was located at Minidoka. The Honor Roll is not complete due to insufficient available historical documents. Minidoka National Historic Site aims to continue towards completion by adding names to the Honor Roll to recognize those who served in the Armed Forces who were confined at Minidoka.
Historic Baseball FieldMinidoka had 14 baseball fields during operation, making baseball a popular pastime of incarcerees. Currently, Minidoka maintains a historic representation of what a baseball field at Minidoka may have looked at center field. Along with baseball, Minidoka also had bad basketball, volleyball, ice skating, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts among other activities. The baseball field allows visitors to understand the importance of recreation to Japanese Americans, to create a sense of normalcy in their lives while at Minidoka.
Learn more about the baseball fields
Fire Station No. 1Fire Station No. 1, located next to the Visitor Center, was one of two Fire Stations at Minidoka. After the war, when John Herrmann and his family were granted most of the land that Minidoka National Historic Site now maintains, Herrmann and his family lived in the back of the Fire Station until their house, was built through the Farm in a Day project. The Hermann house is now being used as the temporary visitor’s center. The Fire Station has some modifications for structural purposes, however, is one of the few original buildings that the Park Service has retained. During operation, the Fire Department served the camp and the surrounding communities.
(Note: Fire Station No. 1 is not open to the public except during guided tours. Visitors are, however, welcome to view the building from the outside.)
Learn more about the fire stations
Block No. 22 Barrack and Mess HallBlock No. 22 (just past the baseball field) demonstrates the size of a typical block and invites visitors to imagine the living conditions for those incarcerated at Minidoka.
The mess hall, located in the center of the block, is the tar paper building and provides insight into the food conditions of the incarcerees. Chefs were expected to prepare meals for up to 300 people, three times a day, costing only .35 cents a meal. Prior to 1943, the War Relocation Authority was responsible for feeding incarcerees. However, incarcerees petitioned to grow ethnically appropriate foods in the agricultural areas of the camp to provide better quality and quantity of food. Napa cabbage and daikon radishes, some vegetables that were important to their diet were eventually grown as well.
The barrack, the lighter colored building, demonstrates the living conditions for incarcerees. Barracks were typically one 120’x 20’ building and were constructed of greenwood that was then covered with tar paper. No insulation was provided. In the summer, the greenwood shrank, leaving incarcerees exposed to the harsh elements. The barracks were divided into smaller rooms, with each family sharing one room. The walls, however, did not extend to the rafters, and no insulation was provided, meaning noise was a major issue, along with the elements that came with living in the high desert.
(Note: The Mess Hall and Barrack are not open to the public except during guided tours. Visitors are, however, welcome to view the buildings from the outside.)
Learn more about barracks and mess halls
Root CellarThe Root Cellar is the only existing structure that is known to be completely built by incarcerees. Constructed in 1943, the root cellar was designed to store the produce that the incarceees grew on the agricultural portions of the site. The root cellar shows signs of collapse due to age.
Last updated: April 15, 2020