Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills - Famous Area for Western Films

Lone Pine wasn’t originally on our California road trip itinerary, but since it was so close to Manzanar, we decided to make a quick visit after we toured the Manzanar Historic Site.

We loved this little town! Everything is western themed because the location is famous for western movies being filmed often back in the day. Hollywood still uses Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills for it’s movie set every once in awhile for films like Tremors and Django Unchained.

Our parents are huge Western movie fans and we remember watching Bonanza a million times when we were young, so we had to stop by the Lone Pine Film History Museum which gives you the history of all the films shot in the area.

We had the theater all to ourselves!

We had the theater all to ourselves!

Admission is $5 and the museum is fairly small. Before we explored the museum, we were told that they were going to play a 15-minute documentary about Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills, so we went into the theater first. They had a movie screen set up in the theatre, but guess it wasn’t working because they played the documentary on a large flat-screen TV instead. We were the only ones in the little theater, which was kind of fun.

After the documentary, we browsed around the area and looked at all the films that were shot in the area. Most are old Western films and shows like Hopalong Cassidy and Lone Ranger but there were some recent movies like Iron Man.

Before we left the museum, we grabbed a map of all the locations the films were shot in the Alabama Hills. The employee at the museum told us there are no signs indicating anything in the Hills, so we’d have to pay close attention to the map. She was right. We had no idea what was shot where. Everything looked the same! We still had fun around the rocks and it reminded us of Joshua Tree National Park.

We drove around for about 30 minutes and kind of got lost and turned around because, again, everything looked the same. We weren’t too alarmed because there were some campers we passed by every once in awhile, so if we got really lost, we could have asked one of them. Eventually, we found our way back and looked for a place to eat in Lone Pine.

Lone Pine Smokehouse had some great reviews on Yelp, so we stopped there for some pulled pork. We thought it was going to be a sit-down restaurant, but it was actually more of a fast food type place where you order your food at the register, pick up your food and eat at a table of your choosing.

One special thing about this place was that they had Fiddlin Pete playing live in their little venue that night! He was so good that we originally thought it was a CD or radio playing over the speakers. Fiddling Pete was so awesome. He played some good country and folk music and threw in some jokes in between songs. He was just perfect and completed our whole Lone Pine experience.

Fiddlin Pete doing his thing at Lone Pine Smokehouse

Fiddlin Pete doing his thing at Lone Pine Smokehouse

Have you been to Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills? What was your experience like? Were you able to spot all the film locations in the Hills? Let us know in the comments below!

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