One of the best things about living in California is the abundance of locations to explore. Whether a rugged coast line, wide open plain or cragged mountains, getting there is always part of the adventure and there are always dramatic vistas to be found. Another thing that is for certain though in the Golden State, with beauty, comes crowds. To avoid the masses, we usually travel off season and to places just off the map or down that road no one takes. One of these such places is the Alabama Hills.
Located off 395, at the outskirts of the sleepy town of Lone Pine and nestled against base of the Sierras Nevada Mountains, it is a hidden gem that thousands travel past and never take the time to enjoy. Our most recent trip there was in the month of February and we were surprised with by not only it’s beauty but the utter lack of humanity there—no crowds!
While most fly by on the 395 rushing to get to Mammoth, we took our time driving the three hours or so north from Los Angeles, stopping to take in the great Eastern Sierra Highway.
Once in the park, actually a BLM managed Recreation Area, the Alabama Hills are riddled with natural beauty, unique rock formations featuring arches, huge rounded boulders and breathtaking views of Mt. Whitney and surrounding mountains.
Right about now you may be asking yourselves why is it called the Alabama Hills? It looks nothing like the gulf coast state? Well you have a group of southern Confederate sympathizers to thank for that. When the Confederacy launched the CSS Alabama during the Civil War, stories of the ships exploits reached the prospectors, who in turn began to name claims and mines after the ship, soon the entire area was known as the Alabama Hills.
The hills, while the same age as their taller cousins just to the west, the Sierra Nevadas, the Alabama Hills experienced a different type of erosion, creating the sometimes eerier rounded and stacked shapes we see today.
(Disclosure: Burbs2Abroad traveled to the above location as guests and was not compensated for this review. As always, our opinions are our own.)