Boondocking Site Review – Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA
A lovely, large boondocking area with sweeping rock & mountain views just outside Lone Pine, CA on Hwy 395 in central-east California.
Note/ Review updated as of last stay April 2015
Location: Movie Road, just off Whitney Portal Road in Lone Pine, CA
Coordinates: Approx. 36.599853N,-118.119378W (= start of Movie Road). Link to map location HERE
Cost: FREE (14-day stay limit)
How We Found It: This is a fairly well-known boondocking spot in the area. We read about the area on other people’s blogs and scoped it out last year while staying at nearby Tuttle Creek.
Nearest Dump/Water: Nearest dump/water at Tuttle Creek BLM just ~1 mile away. $5 charge.
- Access – 4.5/5 Pretty easy access for any sized-rig here although as usual a little extra effort is needed to access the best spots:
Directions -> From the traffic stop in Lone Pine take Whitney Portal Road West ~3 miles until you hit Movie Road, then take a right. The first 1/4 mile or so is paved after which it becomes very wide, firm dirt road. Once you hit the dirt and pass the BLM sign you’re on BLM land.
Boondocking Spots-> Boondocking spots are scattered all around the dirt roads that lead off in spurs from Movie Road. You’ll see evidence of previously used spots that are cleared and have home-made fire pits. Some of the dirt spurs can be narrow and very sandy/rough so check out the road before bringing in a big-rig.
- Nature – 5/5 Excellent nature spot. You are right in the middle of the Alabama Hills with their fabulous rock formations and have a panoramic back-drop of Mt.Whitney and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Lots of interesting dirt trails to explore, hike & bike all around the area.
- Isolation – 3.5/5 Pretty good isolation here depending on where you park. The main ding is this is a fairly well-known boondocking area plus it is also on the “tourist route” as the place where lots of old Westerns were filmed. As a result you’ll definitely encounter folks driving around and checking out movie locations or doing the hike to the Mobius Arch. The further you get from the main “movie” run, the more isolated you’ll be.
- Pet Friendliness – 5/5 Another fabulous pet spot. You have days-worth of hiking and exploring in the surrounding hills, plus lots of space to hang out in camp. Also this is mostly sandy “scrub” desert with no cactus so it’s easy for paws on the ground.
Overall Rating = 4.4
BONUS ALERT = Camp in the shadow of Mt Whitney within gorgeous rocks and western movie history!
Summary: This ranks up in our books as one of the most scenic boondocking spots around. Located gorgeously in the Alabama Hills you have a backdrop of fabulous rocks with Mt.Whitney and the soaring Sierra Nevada Mountains in the western background. It is fairly easy to access with plenty of space and gorgeous views all around. Perhaps the only negative about this spot is that it’s fairly well-known on the “tourist loop” as the place to scope out where the old Wild West Movies were made (there is actually a self-guided driving tour of the Alabama Hills in the visitors center), so you will see occasional cars and folks driving by depending on where you park. Also for folks needing internet signal both Verizon & ATT are veeery iffy/spotty so you might need to scope out a few spots before you find a usable spot (or camp at nearby $5/night Tuttle Creek that has excellent signal). Overall however this is a lightly visited area so you’ll still manage plenty of alone time and the views make it all worthwhile. You are close to Lone Pine and Mt.Whitney which gives lots of opportunities for hiking & exploring movie history past, plus there are miles of interesting dirt trails to hike, bike & explore in the Alabama Hills themselves. Overall an outstanding spot and one we’ll likely come back to again and again.
Extra Info: No water or facilities (nearest dump/water is $5 at nearby Tuttle Creek BLM Campground). Veeeery, veeerrry “iffy” Verizon & ATT signals. ATT seems marginally better than Verizon, but most spots are fickle with signal bouncing back and forth between 4G and nothing at all. We were able to get a usable data signal with our Wilson Sleek booster and Paddle (directional) antenna, but some spots have no signal at all. For those who need it nearby scenic Tuttle Creek Campground is only $5/night, very scenic and has excellent signal.