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Lone Pine California

At first glance, Lone Pine, California doesn't look like much. It is a dusty desert town of a few thousand people, on highway 395, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. There may be two traffic lights now. So what makes Lone Pine a Great vacation destination? Several attractions.

The Lone Pine California Film Festival

Movies filmed in this part of California, include; Gunga Din, How The West Was Won, Star Trek, Tremors, Springfield Rifle, Joshua Tree, Gladiator, Maverick, and many more. John Wayne, Gene Autry, Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, William Boyd, and dozens of other stars have all spent time in Lone Pine. The television series filmed there include; The Lone Ranger, Have A Gun, Bonanza, and Wagon Train. If you spend much time in Lone Pine, you'll later find yourself saying "Hey I've been there," when you are watching movies at home.

A total of over 200 movies, and numerous television series have been filmed in and around the area. The Lone Pine Film Festival, held in early October every year, features some of the classics, as well as more recent films. For more information and the exact dates of the festival, visit the Lone Pine Film Festival Website.

The Alabama Hills

Just a few minutes south of Lone Pine, turn to the west, and you'll find the Alabama Hills, one of the most unique geological areas you'll see. The rocks here are rounded an smooth looking, but piled up in the most amazing formations. Here too, you may recognize some of the scenery from old westerns. At the visitors center on the south side of town, you can get a map for free that will guide you to some of the rock arches, cave and other sights. You will have to walk into the maze of rocks to get to some of the better ones.

Mount Whitney

Lone Pine is the gateway to Mount Whitney, at 14,496 feet, the highest mountain in California, and in the lower 48 states. The Whitney Portal Road starts right in the center of town, and takes you the 20 miles up to the trail head and campground of the same name. Then the Whitney Portal Trail, if you want to go further, takes you the 11 miles to the top. It is a very strenuous hike, and although some do it in one day, the 22-mile round trip is best broken up into two or three days, with a night or two spent in the beautiful high country.

The National Forest Service has designated a large area of the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park around the mountain as "The Whitney Zone." You must have a permit to be hiking within this area. Permits can be obtained from the inter-agency visitors center on Highway 395, just south of Lone Pine. Most likely you will have to plan ahead, as permits are limited (and a separate summit stamp may be required now to go to the peak of Whitney).

Other Attractions In Lone Pine California

There is a small campground just behind downtown (to the west), and there are several nice motels in Lone Pine. The visitor's center south of town has information on all the activities and sights in the area. The reservoir south of town is used for swimming and fishing. The Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History will be opening soon. Local actors have gun battles in the bar just for fun and to entertain you (no charge).

We love Lone Pine. Where else in California (or anywhere) can you go swimming, watch a gunfight, explore caves and rock formations in the desert, and then drive up the road for a snowball fight (there is snow up there most of the year)?

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