Alabama Hills Recreation Area

 Lenticular clouds form over the rock formations of the Alabama Hills

Lenticular clouds form over the rock formations of the Alabama Hills

If you love movies, a scenic drive to the Alabama Hills Recreation Area to see where over 700 movies and a dozen television shows were filmed can be a very interesting adventure. Additional recreational activities for visitors include hiking, rock climbing, fishing, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Located about 2 miles west of Lone Pine at an elevation of 5,354 feet (1,632 meters), the 30,000 acre Alabama Hills region was named after the Alabama, a Confederate Navy warship that destroyed many northern ships during the Civil War. 

Because the scenery is so ruggedly picturesque, scenes from old TV shows such as The Lone Ranger and Bonanza were shot there. The scenery is also featured in classic western movies such as Gunga Din, The Violent Men, How the West Was Won, and Bad Day at Black Rock. More recent productions with scenes shot in the Alabama Hills include Star Trek Generations, Dinosaur, Tremors, parts of Iron Man and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Located near Movie Road, the Mobius Arch, the flatter Lathe Arch, and other natural arches formed out of rocks have also been used as backgrounds by many movie makers and photographers. The view from underneath the golden colored Mobius Arch, which has a span of 17 feet and is 6 feet high, includes a great capture of Mt. Whitney.

 Mt. Whitney is seen behind Mobius Arch

Mt. Whitney is seen behind Mobius Arch

To learn more about filmmaking in the Alabama Hills, visit the Museum of Western Film History at 701 South Main Street in Lone Pine. Here you can see a large collection of movie memorabilia and props, cars used in movies, movie posters, and costumes from movies that were filmed in the Alabama Hills -- featuring many cowboy movie stars such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and John Wayne.

If you're looking for a good Lone Pine hotel, the Mount Whitney Motel and the Dow Villa Motel are both family owned and operated. Best Western and Comfort Inn also operate motels in Lone Pine.

The nearest available stores with supplies are all in Lone Pine and the nearest hospital is also in Lone Pine. No first aid is available in the Alabama Hills Recreation Area so it’s a good idea to bring a first aid kit with you, especially if you’re rock climbing or mountain biking.

From Highway 395 in Lone Pine, take Whitney Portal Road west for about 2-1/2 miles and turn right on Movie Road.

Peter Cross is an accomplished creative writer who has produced hundreds of articles for many different clients since 2006 when he retired from his consulting business.