Traveling north from San Diego on U.S. 395 through Owens Valley is a favorite pastime of ours. We often make a stop in the Alabama Hills, now designated as the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area, which we use as a base camp for exploring the valley. Access to the main area is located east of Lone Pine, CA on Whitney Portal Road. The area is characterized by scattered and jumbled rock formations with stunning views of the Eastern Sierra Mountains, including Mount Whitney. We typically stay at the Lone Pine Campground, which has 38 primitive, non-hookup campsites that can be reserved through recreation.gov. The Alabama Hills, located in the eastern Sierra Nevada region of California, is a popular destination for landscape photographers. The area boasts stunning rock formations and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, making it a dream location for photographers looking to capture California’s natural beauty
One of the most iconic features of the Alabama Hills is the Mobius Arch, a natural arch that frames the nearby mountains perfectly. Many photographers flock to this location to capture the arch against the backdrop of the majestic Sierra Nevada range. However, many other beautiful rock formations exist to explore and photograph in the area, such as the Lathe Arch, and Boot Arch
Another popular spot is the Whitney Portal Picnic Area, located at the end of Whitney Portal Road and the starting point for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead. There is also a campground here with reservable sites through recreation.gov. The Whitney Portal is a popular destination located in the eastern Sierra Nevada region of California, serving as a starting point for hikers and climbers heading up to Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States. The area also boasts a beautiful picnic area, complete with tables and grills, making it a great spot for a scenic outdoor meal. Additionally, the Whitney Portal Trailhead provides access to a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous multi-day hikes. Whether you’re looking for a challenging climb up Mount Whitney or a relaxing picnic surrounded by stunning mountain views, the Whitney Portal offers something for everyone.
Photo gear for the wide-angle images can be seen in the Photography Gear Guide
The Whitney Portal Area
For those interested in night photography, the Alabama Hills offer dark skies and beautiful views of the Milky Way. The rock formations make for some interesting foregrounds with Boot Arch being my favorite. It is beautiful out in the hills at night and you rarely run into any other people.