Alabama Hills National Scenic Area

A brown, eroded arch frames Mount Whitney in the Eastern Sierras. Photo by Jesse Pluim, BLM.

The Alabama Hills are a formation of rounded rocks and eroded hills set between the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the geologically complex Inyo Mountains. Both geologic features were shaped by the same uplifting occurring 100 million years ago. The hills are located west of Lone Pine and are managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Visitors enjoy touring film sites, photography, rock climbing, exploring natural arches, and viewing the swaths of wildflowers that bloom every spring. In March 2019, Congress designated the Alabama Hills as a National Scenic Area as a part of the John D. Dingell, Jr Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.

Visitor Center

Interior of visitor's center with a man pointing at a scale model of the eastern Sierra Nevada. Photo by Jesse Pluim.At the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center you can view Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the “lower 48 states” and plan a trip to Badwater Basin in "Death Valley, the lowest place in North America. While you’re here, explore our interpretative displays, book store and native plant garden.

Staffed by a combination of U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association employees, we provide visitor information for wilderness, campground, highway and weather conditions for the Eastern Sierra.

The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) bookstore has a comprehensive selection of books and maps of the region. Revenue from sales of these items helps support interpretative programs.

Address

US-395 and CA-136, Lone Pine, CA 93545

Hours

Hours vary, dependent upon staffing. For up to date information please visit the Visitor Center webpage on the U.S. Forest Service website.

Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Directions

Located two miles south of Lone Pine, CA 93545, at the junction of U.S. 395 and State Route 136. No overnight parking.

Safety

  • Don’t recreate alone. Leave an activity plan with friends, family, or a ranger that details where you will be and when you expect to return.
  • Have a communication plan. Cell phone signals might not always be available.
  • Carry/ drink as much water as possible. At least one gallon per person per day is recommended.
  • Protection from the sun. Dress in layers, wear a hat, sunglasses, protective clothing, and sturdy footwear.  Bring warm layers and a waterproof shell on longer hikes - the weather can change quickly.
  • Know the trail.  Carry a map and pay attention to the terrain so you can find your way back.
  • Beware dangerous plants and animals.
  • Keep children near you and stay on the trail.
  • In an Emergency:  Inyo County Sheriff (760) 878-0383
  • Nearest hospital: Southern Inyo Hospital (760) 876-5501, 501 E Locust Street, Lone Pine, CA

Enjoying the National Scenic Area

  • Pack out all trash. There are no trash services.  In the high desert environment, even natural items like orange peels take years to decompose.
  • Travel on existing roads and trails. Vegetation in this climate can take decades to recover when crushed by off road driving or parking
  • Camp in campgrounds. Using campgrounds reduces the number of vehicles, so that the great views are not blocked.
  • Use the restroom in town or at nearby campgrounds. If that isn't an option, pack out your solid human waste suing a portable waste system (RV toilet, wag bag, portable toilet, etc.)
  • Have a great time. The Alabama Hills are a great place to explore natural wonders and experience your public lands.

Day Use

  • Tour film sites. Explore the locations of over 400 movies that have been filmed here.
  • Take pictures. The Alabama Hills scenery has been an inspiration for photographers for decades.
  • Have an adventure. Hike, fish, rock climb, explore natural arches, mountain bike, ride horses, view the wildflowers, or find your own adventure

Overnight Use

Basic campground at the base of the snow capped Sierra Nevadas. Photo by Jesse Pluim/BLM.

Camping

The best place to camp when you visit the Alabama Hills is at the nearby campgrounds, all within a few miles of Movie Road. This includes the BLM Tuttle Creek Campground , the Inyo National Forest Lone Pine Campground and the Inyo County Portuguese Joe Campground

As of October 1, 2021, the west side of Movie Road in the Movie Flat area and any area marked with a "no camping" sign will be day use only areas (see map). Additional changes to dispersed camping will occur throughout the fall and winter. These changes will include a required free permit and further delineation of areas where camping may occur. Eventually, camping will be limited to sites identified with a campsite marker in the areas shown on this map

To control human waste, six porta potties have been placed in the Alabama Hills. Please either use these restrooms or pack out your solid human waste using a portable waste system (RV toilet, wag bag, portable toilet, etc.).

Please check back before your next visit to get the most up to date information. 

Cultural

  • The indigenous people of this valley still reside in this place where their ancestors have lived for thousands of years. They ask that you respect and care for this land. Do not disturb or destroy anything that you may find.

Film History

  • Beginning in 1920, Hollywood filmmakers began to take an interest in the Alabama Hills for its natural scenery. Since then, over 400 movies have been filmed here.

Notices

The BLM is making exciting changes to the Alabama Hills to improve the recreation experience for all users and to preserve this phenomenal landscape for generations to come. We'll be adding more details soon, but starting in fall 2021, look for changes to camping in the Alabama Hills, as we begin to implement our new Alabama Hills Management Plan.

THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT RELEASES ALABAMA HILLS MANAGEMENT PLAN
(1/15/2021)
News Release

Quick Facts

Created: March 12, 2019
Size: 18,610 Acres

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View from Arch Loop Trail

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Contact Us

Bureau of Land Management 
Bishop Field Office 

351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100
Bishop, CA 93514
Phone: 760-872-5000 
Email: BLM_CA_Web_BI@blm.gov