Alabama Hills are a range of hills and rock formations near the
eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada in the Owens Valley, west of Lone
Pine in Inyo County, California, United States.
Though geographically separate from the Sierra Nevada, they are part
of the same geological formation.
Alabama Hills Recreation Area
4 Filming location
6 External links
Alabama Hills Recreation Area
The Alabama Hills, managed by the U.S.
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management as
Alabama Hills Recreation Area, are a protected habitat and for
The rounded contours of the Alabamas contrast with the sharp ridges of
the Sierra Nevada to the west. Though this might suggest that they
formed from a different orogeny, the Alabamas are the same age as the
nearby Sierras. The difference in wear can be
accounted for by different patterns of erosion.
Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States,
towers several thousand feet above this low range, which itself is
1,500 feet (460 m) above the floor of Owens Valley. However,
gravity surveys indicate that the
Owens Valley is filled with about
10,000 feet (3,000 m) of sediment and that the Alabamas are the
tip of a very steep escarpment. This feature may have been created by
many earthquakes similar to the
1872 Lone Pine earthquake
1872 Lone Pine earthquake which, in a
single event, caused a vertical displacement of 15–20 feet.
There are two main types of rock exposed at Alabama Hills. One is an
orange, drab weathered metamorphosed volcanic rock that is 150-200
million years old. The other type of rock exposed here is 82- to
85-million-year-old biotite monzogranite which weathers to
potato-shaped large boulders, many of which stand on end due to
spheroidal weathering acting on many nearly vertical joints in the
Dozens of natural arches are among the main attractions at the Alabama
Hills. They can be accessed by short hikes from the Whitney Portal
Road, the Movie Flat Road and the Horseshoe Meadows Road. Among the
notable features of the area are: Mobius Arch, Lathe Arch, the Eye of
Alabama and Whitney
Typical rocks in Alabama Hills
This narrow valley doubled as the
Khyber Pass in the 1939 epic Gunga
Gunga Din Temple movie set
Alabama Hills were named for CSS Alabama. When news of the
Confederate warship's exploits reached prospectors in California
sympathetic to the
American Civil War
American Civil War Confederates, they named many
mining claims after the ship, and the name came to be applied to the
entire range. When the Alabama was finally sunk off the coast of
Normandy by the USS Kearsarge in 1864, prospectors sympathetic to the
North named a mining district, a mountain pass, a mountain peak, and a
town after the Kearsarge.
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Alabama Hills are a popular filming location for television and
movie productions, especially Westerns set in an archetypical "rugged"
environment. Since the early 1920s, 150 movies and about a dozen
television shows have been filmed here, including
Tom Mix films,
Hopalong Cassidy films, The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger and
Bonanza. Meanwhile Classics such as Gunga Din, The Walking Hills,
Yellow Sky, Springfield Rifle, The Violent Men, Bad Day at Black Rock
(1955), the Budd Boetticher/
Randolph Scott "Ranown" westerns, part of
How the West Was Won, and Joe Kidd. In the late 1940s and early 50s
the area was also a popular location for the films of B-western actor
More recent productions such as Tremors and Joshua Tree, were filmed
at "movie ranch" sites known as Movie Flats and Movie Flat Road. In
Russell Crowe rides a horse in front of the Alabamas,
Mount Whitney in the background, for a scene presumably set in
Star Trek Generations
Star Trek Generations was filmed here in addition to Overton,
Nevada and Paramount Studios. This range was one of the filming
locations for Disney's Dinosaur. More recently, many parts of the
films Iron Man, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and the
independent, experimental film 3.14... were filmed here.
^ "Alabama Hills". ListsOfJohn.com. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
^ "Alabama Hills". Geographic Names Information System. United States
Geological Survey. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
^ a b Kyle, Douglas E. and Hoover, Mildred Brooke (1990). Historic
Spots in California, p. 122. Stanford, California: Stanford University
Press. ISBN 0-8047-4483-1.
Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley, Sharp, Glazner
Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula; 1997)
Geologic map of the Lone Pine 15' quadrangle, Inyo County, California,
scale 1:62,500, Stone, Paul, Dunne, G.C., Moore, J.G., and Smith,
G.I., (U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigation Series
I-26172000; 2000 ISBN 0-607-95258-X
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alabama Hills.
Alabama Hills Recreation Area website
Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine
Film History website
Alabama Hills - VR Panorama, Don Bain's Virtual Guidebooks.
IMDB list of movies filmed in the Al