The Alabama Hills – A Quick Guide | Bishop Visitor Information Center
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Intro

The Alabama Hills, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada just west of Lone Pine, is one of Hollywood’s favorite filming locations. This monumental landscape provides a myriad of settings for movie backgrounds and evocative scenes. The beautiful rock formations of the hills bordered by a vast open plain rising majestically to the snow capped mountains beyond has been a prime filming location since the early 1900s.

Mobius Arch

The rounded contours of the Alabama Hills appear in stark contrast to the chiseled peaks of the Sierra Nevada and, although considered geographically a separate range of hills, they were formed at the same time and are geologically part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Percolating water rounded the granite blocks and sculpted the many outstanding formations of the Alabama Hills.

The Mobius Arch, the largest and most picturesquely situated of the many natural arches in the Alabama Hills, almost perfectly frames Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous USA. It is the result of chemical weathering when the hills were still covered with soil.

What Makes It Great

Trail Running in the Alabama Hills. Photo: Jim Purdum

The stunning rock formations with numerous roads and trails winding through the area are a great place for auto touring, cycling, hiking, rock climbing, trail running, horseback riding, fishing, and camping. Photographic opportunities abound and the Mobius Arch is a favorite place for picture taking. Sunsets are often astoundingly beautiful.

 

 

Although only a few miles from town this 30,000-acre protected area can give one the feeling of being ‘way out there.’ A campsite nestled among the rocks with awesome views of Mt. Whitney and the Sierra Nevada can provide hours of contemplative solitude or a great place for plein-air painting. A mountain bike ride on the rough and ready trails can be challenging and exciting. A ramble around the monoliths or scramble to the top yields ever-changing views.

Who Is Going to Love It

Camping in the Alabama Hills. Photo: Jim Purdum

The Alabama Hills is a great place for families – especially those that have different wants and needs. If grandma and grandpa want a leisurely drive or an easy chair in a quiet camping spot, while mom, dad and the kids go for a hike or bike ride, this is the place. Options for dispersed camping are plentiful to find your own spot for secluded tent camping or multi-family RV outings.

 

 

It’s only minutes from town and the Museum of Western Film History, where everyone can explore the museum’s extensive collection of real movie costumes, movie cars, props, posters, and other memorabilia. Then take a self guided tour (a brochure is available at the museum) of Movie Road in the Alabama Hills and get an up close view of the actual locations of so many pictures filmed here.

Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine

Best Season

Spring and fall are unbeatable in this high desert region with temperatures in the moderate range most days and nights. Summer days are hot and winter nights are cold, but each day of the year will offer special something for someone.

It’s vast. It’s safe. It’s inspirational. It’s a place where folks can enjoy a few hours, a day, or a weekend and each person can do just what makes them feel happiest.

Horseback riding in the Alabama Hills with McGee Creek Pack Station

Directions. Parking. Regulations.

From the heart of Lone Pine (a beautiful 60 minute drive south of Bishop) go west on Whitney Portal road then, 2.7 miles along, turn right onto Movie Flat road. Many dirt roads and trails intersect with Movie Flat road leading into the hills and among the boulders. Movie Flat road is a graded dirt road maintained for passenger vehicles. Other roads may be sandy and soft requiring 4-wheel drive capability.

Alabama Hill GuideVehicle and mountain bike use is restricted to existing roads and trails and dispersed camping must be done in obvious clearances. Don’t crush the brush!

There are no services or facilities on site and the nearest hospital is located in Lone Pine. Remember inclement weather can occur at any time and often rapidly. Be prepared with layers of protective clothing, a hat and sunscreen for the hot and sunny days. Always bring plenty of water with you.

The Alabama Hills Recreation Area is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is a protected habitat for public enjoyment. For more information visit the BLM website or stop in at the Bishop Visitor Center, at 690 N. Main St in Bishop, for maps to this and other great local destinations.

 

Check out other local favorite destinations here.

 

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4 days ago

Love these historic photos from Tales Along El Camino Sierra.Two great photos from the tallest peak in the lower 48. 1-Visitors enjoying trip to the Alabama Hills with majestic Mt. Whitney looming behind them. Photo 2-A group on horseback back when horses were allowed to go all the way to the summit. This Frasher photo postcard is from the 1930s. ... See MoreSee Less

Love these historic photos from Tales Along El Camino Sierra.

 

Comment on Facebook

We miss the inyo county! So much to see and experience!

Great book.

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4 days ago

We really like this concept - why limit yourself to just summer vacations? Bishop is a great destination year-round! Thanks for the shout-out, Visit USA Parks .Let's dismiss the idea of a "summer vacation", shall we? How about a "winter vacation"?! Bishop, California has so much to offer the off-season traveler: from great outdoor recreation, mild weather, unique shops and restaurants, and interesting attractions. Visit Bishop in the off-season and enjoy an inexpensive vacation, away from the crowds and packed with great experiences! #visitbishop #ThisIsMyRoute #VisitUSAParks ... See MoreSee Less

We really like this concept - why limit yourself to just summer vacations? Bishop is a great destination year-round! Thanks for the shout-out, Visit USA Parks .

 

Comment on Facebook

I'm thinking of getting away in Bishop starting Christmas Day (Creekside Inn, of course!) but wondering what restaurants would be open Christmas Day in Bishop.

Having lived there for 10 years, totally agree! So much to do and explore!

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6 days ago

Railroad Express is fun for the whole family! The annual Railroad Express has come and gone - we wait all year for this event and POOF! Over for another year. Tag us in your photos - you'll find us at @visitbishop here, on Instagram, and on Twitter. ... See MoreSee Less

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