Lone Pine: Movie Road
Lone Pine Film History Museum
701 South Main Street, Lone Pine, California 93545
Movie Road, Lone Pine, California 93545
Whitney Portal Road, Lone Pine, California 93545
Movie Road and Alabama Hills
Alabama Hills, located a few miles down Whitney Portal Road, over the past several decades, almost a century, has played host to the filming locations for literally hundreds of movies. The first feature film was a silent western in 1920 called The Roundup starring Fatty Arbuckle as Sheriff Slim Hoover. From the 1920's through the 1950s, over 300 movies were filmed in the area, the majority of them westerns although the Alabama Hills has also filled in for Africa, Arabia, the Himalayas, and India at times too.
More modern movies that have been filmed there include Star Trek V and Star Trek VII, Maverick, Tremors, Gladiator, Iron Man, Django Unchained, the 2013 version of The Lone Ranger, and the Man of Steel. Back in the day, many western TV series were also filmed in Lone Pine including the 1949 TV Series of The Lone Ranger, Rawhide and Bonanza. More recent TV series filmed there include the sci-fi western Firefly.
Since May 24, 1969, the 30,000 acres of land west of Lone Pine making up the Alabama Hills and Movie Road have been under the authority of the Bureau of Land Management. The area was important to Native Americans, and is still used by the Paiute tribe today. In addition to the various movie sites, another favorite stopping point is the Mobius Arch or the Alabama Hills Natural Arch, a rock formation in the shape of a mobius like arch.
Whitney Portal Road continues on past Movie Road through the Alabama Hills on its way to Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the 48 states coming in at 14,505 feet of elevation. Whitney Portal Road has also been the location of several ghostly apparitions.
The Alabama Hills were named after the CSS Alabama, a Confederate warship. Californians who were excited about the victories of the CSS Alabama named several mining claims after the vessel, with the entire range eventually being called the Alabama Hills. After the CSS Alabama was sunk, pro north Californians named several points of interest in the area after the ship that sunk it, the USS Kearsarge.
The Alabama Hills may also play host to the demon cryptid, the Lone Pine Mountain Devil.
Memorial Movie Marker
Located at the beginning of Movie Road is a plaque dedicating the site. It is situated in a rock. It states:
Since 1920, hundreds of movies and TV
episodes, including Gunga Din, How the West
Was Won, Khyber Rifles, Bengal Lancers and
High Sierra, along with the Lone Ranger
and Bonanza, with such stars as Tom Mix,
Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rodgers, Gary Cooper,
Gene Autry, Glenn Ford, Humphrey Bogart
and John Wayne have been filmed in these
rugged Alabama Hills with their majestic
Sierra Nevada background.
Plaque dedicated by Roy Rogers whose
first starring feature was filmed here
Nightmare Rock is a very large rock along Whitney Portal Road as you get into the Alabama Hills. It is of a unique shape that has inspired people to graffiti a face, usually a nightmarish one, upon it. Lately it's been sporting a Kiss style star around its left eye.
Lone Pine Film History Museum
Lone Pine is home to a 10,500 square foot museum dedicated to the films and TV shows that have been filmed just west of the town in Alabama Hills. Properly called the Beverly and Jim Rogers Lone Pine Film History Museum, the museum is located on the main street of Lone Pine and features exhibits and movie memorabilia from hundreds of pictures that were filmed west of the town.
Memorabilia that can be discovered in the museum include the dentist wagon from Django Unchained, the car Humphrey Bogart drove in High Sierra, and full on creatures from Tremors! In addition there are outfits, clothes, and hats from countless movies as well as movie posters from many of the films. There's even an entire display for Iron Man as some of the Afghanistan scenes were actually filmed in Lone Pine.
Additionally the museum has an 85 seat theater, holds tours of notable movie sites out in Alabama Hills, and in mid October on Columbus Day weekend, helps host the Lone Pine Film Festival.
- Weird California (2006) by Greg Bishop, Joe Oesterle, Mike Marinacci, p: 197
- Southern California Curiosities (2004) by Rubin, Saul, p: 203
Last Edited: 2015-05-30