One of my New Favorite Camp Spots Ever…
Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California
Back at the end of August, I road tripped out to California to spend a week backpacking the High Sierra Trail through Sequoia National Park. As amazing as that trail turned out to be, the trip itself is a logistical nightmare (more later…) – a through hike starting on the west side of the Sierra Nevada and ending at Mt Whitney on the opposite side of the range. My role was to get my car to Whitney Portal (end point) and leave it there so logistically, I needed to find some camping for at least a night somewhere in that area. It took me about a minute of research before finding the Alabama Hills… Most people might not know the name, but the Alabama Hills are one of the more recognizable landscapes out there. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierras, just west of Lone Pine in the Owens Valley, they’re one of Hollywood’s favorite filming locations and now one of Instagram’s most ‘grammable spots.
The rounded contours of the Alabama Hills appear in stark contrast to the chiseled peaks of the Sierras and although they’re considered a geographically separate range of hills, they were formed at the same time and are part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The difference in appearance is due to the weathering process. At the higher elevations, the freezing, expanding, and thawing of rainwater and melting snow has caused a more chiseled splintering of the granite, while down in the warmer and drier Owens Valley, the Alabama Hills took shape as erosion slowly stripped away the soil mantle, exposing and shaping piles of boulders. For an idea of the severe disparity in landscape, jagged Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continuous United States, towers nearly 9300′ above the spherical, rusty, and grainy rocks of the Alabama Hills. (And nearly 11,000′ above Lone Pine!)
I ended up spending two nights camping among the rounded boulders of the Alabama Hills and since some of the following pictures were literally taken from my bed, it’s safe to say that this is one of my favorite spots I’ve ever camped at.