Description - On May 24, 1969, the BLM dedicated nearly 30,000 acres of public land west of Lone Pine, California, as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. Management plans are being considered that will eventually include a scenic trail system that people may walk and enjoy this geologic phenomenon at a leisurely pace.
The full intent of the BLM management plan is to preserve the hills in as close a natural state as possible, for the enjoyment of future generations of Americans.
The Alabama Hills gather their name from a Confederate warship responsible for wreaking havoc to northern shipping during the Civil War. Prospectors sympathetic to the Confederate cause named their mining claims after the Alabama and eventually the name stuck to these unique hills.
The fame of the C.S.S Alabama was both brilliant and short lived. Yankee warships finally cornered the Alabama off the coast of Normandy. There, in a running gun battle with the Northern steamsailer, U.S.S. Kearsarge, she was sunk in the summer of 1864. This event provided northern sympathetic miners to indulge in the art of "one-upmanship," by naming a whole mining district, mountain pass, a peak and a town, "Kearsarge".
The rounded, weathered contours of the Alabamas, form a sharp contrast between the crisply sculptured ridges of the Sierra. This leads the viewer to believe the Alabamas are almost antique in nature. Actually, both geologic features were shaped by the same cataclysmic uplifting 100 million years ago. Millennia of wind, snow and eons of wind blown sand have blasted across their contours. These were the tools that sculpted the outstanding formations of weathered granite in the Alabamas.
While enjoying the scenic and recreational values of the Alabama Hills, hikers, rock climbers and sightseers should use utmost caution at all times. The few remaining mine shafts and tunnels in the general area should be avoided because of the extreme hazards they represent. False bottoms might give-way or tunnels collapse because of deteriorated shoring timbers. The Alabama Hills are beautiful, but there are hazards that could injure the unwary or unprepared visitor.
Directions from Lone Pine, CA: Alabama Hills Recreation Area is located west of Lone Pine. Access roads include Whitney Portal and Moffat Ranch.