The ALABAMA HILLS is a portion of federally protected public land spanning over 30,000 acres located near the town of Lone Pine, California. Situated at the foot of the Eastern Sierras with Mount Whitney towering over the high desert landscape, Alabama Hills is an alluring retreat for adventurers of all ages. Known for the massive boulders and natural arches, the landscape was formed over millions of year as a result from the weathering process caused by wind and water. The list of outdoor activities to enjoy among the rocky terrain is astounding and is ideal during autumn and spring months. Visitors are free to cycle, hike, rock climb, trail run, and camp within the boundaries of this marvelous National Recreation Area with no fees attached.
Not only will geology buffs swoon over the RICH HISTORY of this land, there’s also some bits for American history connoisseurs and film lovers alike. The name for Alabama Hills dates all the way back to the Civil War. Southern sympathizers living in Lone Pine, who were mainly searching for gold, named the majestic area after the Confederate cruiser “Alabama”, which was sunk by the U.S.S. Kearsarge in 1864. A little fun fact, located only a short distance north of the Alabama Hills are Kearsarge Pass and Kearsarge Lakes. The Union sympathizers living in the town of Independence north of Lone Pine specifically named these natural marvels after the Union ship that sank the Confederate cruiser off the coast of France .
For Western cinephiles, the town of Lone Pine offers the Museum of Western Film History, which has an extensive collection of film costumes, cars, props, and other memorabilia from over 400 films that shot in Lone Pine and Alabama Hills. There’s also the ability to do an self-guided auto tour along Movie Flat Road, which highlights the various movies that filmed in the area and include blockbusters such as Iron Man (2008) and Django Unchained (2012) to the Lone Ranger western television show (1949-1957).
CAMPING in Alabama Hills is a blast and the only option is dispersed camping since it's public landed operated by the Bureau of Land Management. There are no facilities or running water available for use and campsites are scattered around the area off dirt roads. In order to select a campsite, please be sure to search for previously used sites by locating old campfire rings with rocks. See the image above with the campfire and the small rocks that surround the fire? That's what you're looking for when you are dispersed camping in public land... minus the fire, which clearly means someone is already staying at the campsite.
Dispersed camping also has it's challenges, especially for COFFEE addicts. Though, a little secret amongst campers who are looking for an added boost of caffeine use multiple camp-friendly accessories. If you're seeking espresso drinks (hot or iced), the most convenient option would be the stovetop Bialetti Moka Express espresso maker. There are multiple sizes and color options to choose from and it's perfect for traveling with to these remote destinations in order to enjoy an epic coffee before an adventure. All you need is a small camping stovetop and coffee grounds of your choosing. It's that simple.
Be sure to check out the Campfire Adventure Co. SHOP and get the Grizzly Die Cut Sticker pictured above. 20% of the proceeds from each item goes directly towards helping protect our public land, which includes places just like the Alabama Hills and Carrizo Plain.
If you're looking to enjoy a mild HIKE while staying in the Alabama Hills, there's the Mobias Arch Loop Trail that's approximately 0.6 miles long. The trailhead and parking lot are a short distance along Movie Flat Road once you pass the official Alabama Hills sign. The road is not paved; however, it's fairly flat and a sedan or SUV is capable of getting to the trailhead easily. It's recommended to use 4x4 high clearance vehicles if you plan to go venture out further into the Alabama Hills to get a dispersed campsite, though.
Have you been to Alabama Hills? If so, share your tips and/or suggestions below in the comments section.
Till the next adventure.
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Always pack out what you pack in and leave absolutely no trace of your stay when you leave any campsite.
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