I’ve driven Highway 395 through the little town of Lone Pine, California several times and was totally unaware of the Alabama Hills and the unique landscape hiding just to the west of town. It wasn’t until I read about it on a few other blogs that I was clued into this gorgeous boondocking opportunity. Things were heating up in the lower desert elevations as we headed back north in April of 2014 so it was a good time to head to the higher elevations and check out the Alabama Hills. Forecasts called for highs of 70-80 degrees and lows around 40, good boondocking temps. As we proceeded up Highway 395 north and approached the Sierra Nevada Mountains I was excited to still see a good snow pack on them. What a gorgeous site they were.
Getting Our Bearings
First thing we did was hit the local visitor center for some information and to fill our fresh water tank. The center is located just south of Lone Pine and provides a lot of info for the area. It’s a modern building and has a huge parking lot so no problems taking the RV in. They have a fresh potable water spigot right out front. The ranger on duty there was able to give us some great information on where we were allowed to camp and even marked a few choice spots out on the map for us. There is an organized BLM campground called Tuttle Creek Campground for 5 bucks a night which has a dump station, garbage and a camp host. It’s located outside of the hills area though and we wanted a little more hill scenery and privacy so opted to hit one of the many dispersed camping spots available for free use off of Movie Road. The ranger told us about a spot he liked for its great views located near the end of the Movie Road. He said it is also well away from the popular rock climbing spots and the main areas that can get dusty from off road traffic. Cool, we would give that one a look see.
The beauty of this extremely remote looking boondocking location is it’s not so remote at all. It just seems that way because you are hidden between the Sierras and a small set of foothills. So you are completely separated from the busy highway 395 and the town of Lone Pine only a few miles away. Directions in are easy. When you see the only stop light in town this is the intersection for Whitney Portal Road, turn onto it and head up toward the mountains, after a few miles turn right onto Movie Road. That’s it; you’ll soon start to see several dry camping spots to choose from and many little roads that lead into the rocks to hidden spots. If you would like to find the campsite we picked out check the map below for its location. The main road is fairly wide, flat and hard packed so no problem driving the rig along it other than some fairly gnarly washboard from the grader here and there. We just took our time and had no problems. Some of the branch roads leading into spots looked a little more challenging so you would want to walk in first to make sure before bringing a big rig in. I did see several Class “A” sized rigs there.
Absolutely Stunning Landscapes
The ranger sure gave us terrific advice on our spot! We were treated to a fantastic view of the mountains including the center piece of Mount Whitney, tallest peak in the lower 48 states. The contrast of the round, brown boulders of the Alabama Hills and the jagged bluish-gray snowy Sierra Nevada range made for some unique scenes, and an awesome photography background. We did many hikes around the area looking for cool rock formations, spring wild flowers and some of the many natural arches. The most famous arch is called the Mobius Arch and is situated in such a way that you can photograph Mt. Whitney through it. We headed out the short trail before sunset one morning and got some great shots of it as the first pinkish light was hitting the mountains.
Movies are Made Here
Other than jaw dropping scenery Alabama Hills other claim to fame is as a movie location and thus the name Movie Road. The area has been used as a location for a ton of movies, TV Shows and commercials over the years, most notably old classic westerns, but also some newer stuff like Ironman and Django Unchained. To get all the details, see real movie props and nostalgia items, be sure to check out the Lone Pine Movie Museum. It’s well worth the 5 bucks donation fee to visit. There is also an “Alabama Hills of Lone Pine “Movie Road” Self Guided Tour” available which will help you find all the cool movie locations.
Video Highlights from Alabama Hills
For us though it was all about the gorgeous natural scenery and peace and quiet the Alabama Hills offer. We were there 5 days and for the most part felt we were all alone in this amazing landscape as we couldn’t see another sole in sight. Every once in a while a car would drive by on the dirt road behind us or someone would stop to take pictures but that was it. We will definitely be back for more.
If your looking for great boondocking spots I recommend the Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides – Ray
Photo Gallery From Alabama Hills Visit 2014
Follow our RV adventures! Sign up for the free monthly Love Your RV Newsletter – Receive the eBook “Tips for the RV Life” as a gift. Also head on over to the Love Your RV Forum and chat with me and other RVers about all things RV. – Cheers Ray