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Popular Alabama Hills Campsites Being Closed to Camping

Popular Alabama Hills Campsites Being Closed to Camping

Alabama Hills has long been one of our favorite RV camping destinations for its incredible rock formations and scenery. Unfortunately, we are now seeing this gem getting shut down.

camping in alabama hills closure
That’s us camped where it’s now closed. Alabama hills makes an appearance twice in the Go North Series.

As camping and outdoor recreational activities have increased over the last several years. More guests are visiting national parks, seashores, and monuments. People are also staying local and visiting their own county and state parks. 

However, with this increased traffic comes problems with people disrespecting the land. These areas become littered with trash, disrupting natural habitats, and roads fall into disrepair. The Bureau of Land Management has taken steps to prevent such problems in Alabama Hills. Let’s look at why campsites are being closed in this California location.

Why Are Alabama Hills Camping Areas Closing?

According to the Bureau of Land Management, changes are happening “to improve the recreation experience for all users and to preserve this phenomenal landscape for generations to come.” 

As of October 1, 2021, several camping areas were closed, but additional ones will close in the future for ongoing improvements.

Additional significant changes include the development of new rock climbing routes and management strategies for roads and trails. These improvements will also include “strategically placed toilets, trash facilities and signage to minimize the adverse effects of day and overnight use.” 

Through these changes, the BLM hopes to create a better educational experience for guests and protect the area’s natural resources.

The BEST Campsite ever! Alabama Hills, CA - Boondocking!

About Alabama Hills

The Alabama Hills are rounded rocks formed by erosion 100 million years ago. They reside in a semi-primitive environment between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Inyo Mountains in California. 

In 2019, the Alabama Hills became a National Scenic Area. People love to visit to enjoy the 29,000 acres of beautiful vistas and unique landscapes. Outdoor enthusiasts also enjoy horseback riding, biking, hiking, and rock climbing. 

Pro Tip: Learn more about this area and find out why Alabama Hills, CA is one of Our Favorite Boondocking Spots.

rocks at alabama hills
Alabama Hills is a fan favorite for many RVers.

What Are the New Restrictions at Alabama Hill?

In the fall of 2021, camping areas at Alabama Hills underwent some changes. This results from a year-long study and work completed by numerous local stakeholders. All camping west of Movie Road is now marked as day use only. 

alabama hills closure map
Here is a map from the BLM showing the new camping restrictions.

You can also no longer camp south of Whitney Portal Road. This area falls under the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power lands. 

Dispersed camping at Alabama Hills also has some limitations and will require a permit in the future. Check the BLM website before planning a camping trip to Alabama Hills as plans continue to change.

Two people hiking in Alabama Hills.
Preservation of Alabama Hills is important as it becomes more popular amongst adventurers.

Upcoming Plans For Alabama Hills

The Alabama Hills Management Plan is an environmental assessment project. There are three areas of focus: building, maintaining, and preventing. These strategies will conserve, protect, and enhance this area for generations.

Building

Because so many outdoor adventurers enjoy rock climbing at Alabama Hills, they will develop a new route. The plan also includes more toilets, trash facilities, and signage in better locations. This will help keep the overnight and day-use areas clean. 

Although the BLM wants guests to enjoy this beautiful area, they also don’t want to erect buildings or build structures that destroy the ecosystem at Alabama Hills. So they don’t have any plans to construct educational centers or other edifices on the land.

Maintaining

This area is a popular filming location. While the BLM remains open to these activities, individuals will have to acquire permits. This helps protect the wildlife and habitats of Alabama Hills. 

The plan also discusses management strategies for roads, routes, and trails. These essential tools will create a positive visitor experience.

Alabama Hills
Alabama Hills makes for a stunning boondocking location.

Preventing

Protecting the natural resources and values of the BLM is the number one priority. In doing so, the plan outlines the potential for more partnerships and educational opportunities. 

It also mentions improvement projects “to conserve, protect, and enhance cultural and historical resources, [and] popular movie locations….” 

It will also prevent the disruption of native plant and wildlife habitats. Additionally, they hope to reduce the risk and spread of wildfires through fuel treatments. 

Man hiking in Alabama Hills.
Enjoy hiking and camping in Alabama Hills!

Where Will Camping Be Allowed At Alabama Hills?

You can still camp at Alabama Hills. The Tuttle Creek Campground, located 1.6 miles down Horseshoe Meadows Road, has 83 RV and tent sites. It costs $8 a night with no hookups. 

Lone Pine Campground also has 42 single campsites. It’s located 6 miles west of Lone Pine, CA. Sites here cost $26 a night. Note this is an active bear area, so the campground provides bear boxes. 

Finally, Inyo County operates Portuguese Joe Campground located off Tuttle Creek Road. It has 20 campsites for $14 a night. It has no hookups either.

Pro Tip: Discover more about What Is BLM Land? Plus find out how you can camp on it!

What to Expect in the Future

More areas will probably see similar plans in place over the next several years. We’ve already seen changes made to the way some national parks operate. Although these changes may inconvenience some visitors, they serve to maintain the integrity of the natural resources of Alabama Hills.

mountain biking lone pine alabama hills
Thats me rockin the rocks!

All RVers need to keep this lesson of closure in mind however and tread lightly. Pick up trash even if it is not yours, and encourage appropriate land use with our fellow camping enthusiasts. Lets take care of our land so we and future generations can continue to enjoy it.

Have you ever explored Alabama Hills? Drop a comment below!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
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craig meacham

Monday 27th of June 2022

Camped there many times. The last 5 years has seen exponential growth in visitors. Many are dumber than a house cat and leave toilet paper scattered around and feces where it fell. Stay home if that is how you "enjoy" the wilderness.

Tree

Friday 28th of January 2022

I’ve visited Alabama Hills once a couple years ago and it’s still my favorite boondocking spot! We spent about 10 days there and loved exploring the area. While I wish it was all still open, I understand the restrictions. I respect the decision to create specific camping areas to avoid the area getting trashed like we’ve seen happen elsewhere. Just needs a little more planning for my next trip there, which will likely be this year.

Tim Loomis

Thursday 27th of January 2022

It is alarming that they are closing it. Typical California politicians though. As far as disrespecting the park, we see that as well here in Utah. I mean who brings a can of spray paint in their backpack to go hiking? We see spray paint vandalism in many of our National Parks as well as trash thrown all around. I like to go camping, hiking, 4-wheeling, etc, but always respect the land "leave no trace". Just hard to imagine the type of people doing these things.

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 27th of January 2022

Good points!

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