Alabama Hills (CA)


Few blogs links that provides additional information, this will help you plan your road trip to this area:
My Eastern Sierra blog directory

Death Valley

Where? : Just west of Lone Pine town (395 hwy).

Google Map Link


What? : One of the most fun and photogenic places I visited, you can spend hours just exploring this location, discovering arches, walk among potato shaped boulders and see the amazing sierra mountains just above you in the west. This unique place was used by many old western movies and represent back then the classical western landscape.


When? : year round, winter is less crowded, can be cold but usually without a lot of snow.


Due note 1: To my surprise, although it is a unique and beautiful place this is an open BLM land and not a state park. No need for any night reservation but better to find already used campsite. There are many options some are very nice places surrounded by large rocks.

Due note 2: The best viewing time, as usual, is just at sunrise where the high sierra mountains are getting the first light and before sunset (the sun go down here earlier than what is say for that day because of the high mountain range to the west).


My thoughts: I visit here few times and I never missed the sunset or sunrise, it amazing (even I if spend the night in the nearby Lone Pine hotel).

Spending the night is highly recommended, interesting arches and rock formations + stars and the mighty sierra mountain range give this place a unique vibe.


The visit:

Going up from Lone Pine on the Whitney Portal Rd. and after few miles you will see the Lady Of Alabama painted rock (now called Nightmare Rock), a nice stop to take some pictures. Right after you will see on your right the turn into the park well maintained main dirt road.


The first stop will be at Shark Fin Trail Head, take the short hike to see the rock up close.

Once reaching to the end of the road take right and you will see the parking lot on your left.

This is the Trail Head to The Mobius and Heart Arch Loop Trail.

Mobius Arch is the most famous of the Alabama Hills arches. You are likely to see other people taking pictures, so try to get there early as you can, especially on weekends.

You can do the short hiking loop in any direction; my recommendation is counterclockwise. Follow the well-marked trail down and after few loops you will see in one of the rocks in front of you a small Heart Shape Arch.

Keep going and you will reach the famous Mobius arch.

A small but unique rounded and smooth Mobius like arch formation. The high sierra mountains can be seen from within the arch to the west. You will spend some time here, probably with other people…

Lathe Arch is another very small low arch right at the west side of Mobius arch (10-20 m away in the rocks), if you go low it can provide a nice photo of the sierra mountains.


Next location is Alabama Hills Movie Road, keep going south on Movie Flat Road and after few turns you can see in the high rocks to your left the Eye of Alabama Hills Arch. The road turns south and climbs a hill. Stop at the hilltop and look back on the road, valley with all rock formation and the entire high sierra mountain range, what a view !

Next attractions are Boot Arch + Cyclops Arch

Keep going on Movie road, after few rocky places on your left the road go’s down and that you will see a narrow trail going left. Drive into this trail and you will see a small parking spot.

To find Boot Arch you need to go west for few hundred ft, look for the rocks and spot the unique arch formation at the edge of the rocks.

Return to your car and keep going +/- 0.3 mile and park your car. From here you need to hike ~300 ft left (north) and find the hidden Cyclops Arch, you can see it from the north side, just keep looking in this area and you will find it.


Lone Ranger Canyon:

This is a nice short ride out of the main road, the trails go between the nice rock formation and you can even find some nice spot to locate your campsite.


Horseshoe Meadows Rd:

A nearby road that lead to the south sections of the Alabama hills, also with some nice rock formations and hidden arches and also less crowded places to camp.

Lone Pine Campground:

A nice organized campground, I think it is close during winter (?), I did not stay here.

Whitney Portal:

I visit here only during winter when the road is closed, and all is covered with deep snow. A nice hike from the closed gate but not a mandatory one assume you are not going up to mount Whitney.