Scenic USA - California

Alabama Hills

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Alabama Hills - Lone Pine, California

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Mobius Arch inset photo by Ken Reece

     Seen in the distance, with a blue hue, bare granite slopes and distinct sharp ridges, California's Sierra Nevada Mountains provide a grand backdrop for the well worn Alabama Hills - Lone Pine, California Alabama Hills. Displaced from the State of Alabama by 1500 miles, these California foothills were actually named for a Confederate warship, the CSS Alabama. Sympathetic to the South, prospectors named their mining claims after the Confederate ship. Over time, the entire area took on the name Alabama Hills.
      These rounded potato-shaped boulders, made of metamorphic rock, have been slowly chiseled, chipped and shaped by erosion for nearly 200 million years. Quite a few of these rock formations have been shaped into natural arches. A concentration of rock arches are found along Movie and Horseshoe Meadows roads. The Alabama Hills offer an intriguing foreground motif for the Sierra Nevadas and the tallest mountain in the lower 48, Mount Whitney.
     Beginning with The Roundup in 1920, Mobius Arch - Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, Barbara Stanwyck, William Boyd, Gene Autry and hundreds of other western film stars went on to fill the pages of Alabama Hills movie history.
     Since 1990 Lone Pine has celebrated its place in the movie industry and all the great films shot in the nearby foohills. Each October, western film buffs flock to Owens valley and join this weekend festival, filling the streets, restaurants and hotel rooms. Western film stars are on hand to sign autographs and reminisce about their place in Alabama Hills motion picture history.

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   Movie Road Touring Guide


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