The Alabama Hills

Near the town of Lone Pine, California are The Alabama Hills.  Even though you might never have been there, you’ve probably seen them many times.

Those rocks in the image above have hidden many a gang of outlaws.  The Lone Ranger has ridden across those sage brushes in the foreground. The Cartwright family grazed their horses nearby, and dozens of Hollywood’s most famous movie makers and movie stars have frequented this site. Here, at “Movie Flats”, hundreds of movies and TV shows were photographed over the years.


It’s easy to see why.  It’s an amazingly beautiful location, one ideally suited to shooting movies.  No matter which direction you look, no matter what time of day, it’s photogenic.


Located in the Owens Valley immediately east of the Sierra Nevada, The Alabama Hills also frequently experience weather phenomena tailor-made for the camera. The skies can be fantastic.

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Whitney Portal Road provides easy access to both the surrounding foothills and Mount Whitney, top of the Sierra Nevada and the highest summit in the contiguous US.

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The Sierra provides a dramatic backdrop, no matter the time of day.

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“Movie Flats” is also an excellent place to camp. In this view looking east are the mountains separating Owens Valley from Saline Valley and, farther east, Panamint Valley and Death Valley.

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Strolling around the landscape, my foot kicked this artifact, hidden in a clump of sagebrush.  It’s a film can lid from a thousand-foot load of film stock.  Rusted and dented, it had obviously been there for years. I wondered about the identity of the camera assistant who long ago tossed this can off the back of he camera truck.  Good thing I was wearing my Arriflex ball cap, too.

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Easily accessible off US 395 in California, The Alabama Hills are a satisfying destination for boondockers, photographers and movie fans.




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