The Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California is the perfect movie setting. Have you heard about the Alabama Hills but didn’t really know where it was? Have you ever wondered where the fabulous scenery of rounded boulders, arches and mysterious gullies seen in so many famous Western movies and TV shows was located?
Well wonder no more…I can tell you exactly where. The world famous Alabama Hills!
The Alabama Hills has been the filming location and perfect movie setting for over 300 movies. It reminded us of the perfect movie setting in Shelburne Falls, MA for Robert Downey, Jr’s movie “The Judge;” you can read our post here.
Movies and television shows filmed in the Alabama Hills during the 1920s to 1950s were mostly Westerns. More recently films such as Star Trek V and VII, Tremors, Gladiator, Dinosaur and Iron Man to name just a few have been filmed here.
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What are the Alabama Hills?
The Alabama Hills is an outstanding area of rock formations and stunning scenery framed by Mount Whitney and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Its rugged environment is a popular location for movie makers, television shows and commercials.
Hiking, picnicking, landscape photography and visiting movie filming locations have made the Alabama Hills a popular tourist destination.
From Lone Pine, California take Whitney Portal Road west about 2.5 miles where you will see the famous Movie Road.
Turn right on Movie Road. In about 1.5 miles you will come to a “Y” in the road. Go right and immediately pull into the parking area on your left where the well marked trailhead is located.
Mobius Arch at Alabama Hills
Here you will find the Loop Trail that will lead you on a hike through beautiful rock formations and several arches. Mobius Arch is located a short way along the trail head that starts on the left of the parking area. There’s a small sign and easy to follow trail to the arch.
Mt. Whitney, at 14,505 feet, the highest peak in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Navada mountains are visible through the twisted span of Mobius Arch. The scene provides a picture perfect photo opportunity.
Face Rock at Alabama Hills
I have no idea how this Face Rock art started but I was looking forward to seeing it on our way to the Alabama Hills. I’ve been told that the locals like to change the look of this whimsical rock art from time to time so purhaps it will look different when you visit!
Face Rock is located off Whitney Portal road about 2 miles from Highway 395. It’s on the right side of the road with easy access.
Movie Road Self-Guided Tour
There have been so many famous movies filmed here that you will want to pick up a copy of the Movie Road Self-Guided Tour booklet in Lone Pine. The booklet will help you locate some of the filming sites. Movies from Lone Ranger to Tremors and some Star War scenes have been filmed here. Movie stars such as John Wayne, Hopalong Casside, Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger and Tom Mix have been shooting it out with outlaws since the early 20’s. Mel Gibson, Alec Baldwin, Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood, Nicolas Cage and Robert Downey, Jr., to name just a few have stared in movies filmed in the Alabama Hills.
We visited the Alabama Hills twice on our tour of the sites along US Highway 395 in California. On the first visit we encounter rain but still enjoyed the visit. We were able to locate Face Rock and Mobius Arch and hike the entire Arch Loop Trail despite the weather. On our second visit we enjoyed better weather and were able to see some of the sights we missed on our first visit.
The Alabama Hills is a great area to visit not only for the historic movie interest but the scenery is remarkable and unique. Enjoy!
Directions to the Alabama Hills Trailhead
Take Hwy 395 to Lone Pine
At the stop light turn west onto Whitney Portal Road
Drive approximately 2.5 miles to Movie Road, turn right
In approximately 1.5 miles you will come to a Y in the road
Go to the right and pull into the dirt parking area immediately on your left
Markers for the hiking trail are on the left and right sides of the parking area
You can begin your hike at either side. The marker to your left is the shortest route to Mobius Arch.
To read more about the history of the Alabama Hills and to download a copy of the Movie Road Touring Brochure you can visit the Bureau of Land Management website.
Have you been to Alabama Hills? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the area too. Let us know about your visit to the Alabama Hills in the comments below.