Visited: May, 2016
This post is a continuation of Manzanar
The inspiration to visit Lone Pine in California all started with this photo:
I was immediately smitten and decided that’s where I wanted to go for my birthday. To spend the night in the middle of the desert looking at the stars.
Where We Stayed:
The town closest to the Alabama Hills is Lone Pine. A very small town kept alive by the backpackers that make their homages to Mt. Whitney and the Alabama Hills.
There isn’t much to do in Lone Pine. There are a few shops and gas stations, ice cream parlors and local coffee. The town has a Western theme to it, living off of it’s rich Movie Making history. The location is famous for the old western movies and some more recent favorites being filmed out on their hills like: All the Tremors and Django Unchained. There is even a Film History Museum, but we didn’t go.
What We Saw:
To get to the Alabama Hills from Lone Pine, take Whitney Portal Road and go straight and you are in the Hills. If you would like to see the famous Mobius Arch, you will need to turn on Movie Flat Road on the right. Take that turn and continue for a little while staying to the right. There are no signs on the road that will tell you where you are, so you have to be careful. When you reach a turn out, this is where you can park and there you will see a small, easy to miss trail head sign. Simply follow the sign for a easy walk half mile to the arch.
Mobius Arch is part of a larger hiking trail through the rocks and on a fun path that does require some effort to get through. The arch is about 20 minutes from the parking area because we walked halfway through the hiking loop, you can take a shortcut from the parking lot with a steep trail headed down the hill and that cuts almost straight to the arch.
You can also see Lathe Arch. This small arch is it almost perfectly flat, and does not bow out like many other arches; perfect for kids and photo opportunities.
You can also see the lovers rock in the loop. More adventurous couples climb up there and smooch ; ) It’s higher up then I am willing to climb.
The surrounding mountains and sweeping desert make this place nothing like anything we’ve seen before. The terrain makes for a fun day of exploration and absolutely safe for kids.
There are a lot of photographers out here as the arches are a favorite spot to photograph. We met a few, exchanged some ideas, and they encouraged us to come back at night.
A Brilliant Night Sky
We came back at 1AM to experience the beautiful milky way ourselves just like in the photograph that inspired this expedition. We were not disappointed. My photo skills however did leave me disappointed.
I HIGHLY recommend that you camp out or make the 10 minute drive back out to the Mobius Arch parking site just to sit. Bring cocoa and turn every light off to be blanketed by the darkness and be overwhelmed by the stars. It .is. breathtaking. A zillion more stars than this photo offers you.
Look at this one again instead…
What We Ate:
Alabama Hills Cafe
This small restaurant in the shadow of Mt Whitney. The service was incredibly friendly, the portions were huge and they came out fast. Hubby ordered the Fish and Chips (in the desert of all places) and he swears it was one of the best he’s had. They told us the fish is caught fresh. I especially recommend the banana split. The ice cream is delicious!
Total Time Spent: 5 hours