"Home of Old West Movies and the High Sierra" Top 5 Page for this destination Lone Pine by Hopkid

Lone Pine Travel Guide: 126 reviews and 335 photos

Not just a podunk town on U.S. 395

Lone Pine is a small town (listed population: 2,000) but is larger some of the really tiny towns that mark the trail of U.S. Highway 395 which runs along the base of the eastern Sierra Nevada through the Inyo Valley in eastern California. To the west are the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains. To the east are the Panamint Mountains, smaller than the Sierras but still picturesque. Lone Pine's main street is a few blocks long and has a number of motels, eating establishments, and sporting goods stores stocked with outdoor gear.

There are two main attractions that draw visitors throughout the year. Lone Pine is the gateway to the highest peak in the continental U.S., Mount Whitney (elevation: 14,495 feet). The main Whitney Trail is really a hike rather than a climb as there is a well-maintained trail all the way to the summit and no technical climbing is required. There is also a climbing route for the more adventurous and skilled. This reputation as the highest and being so accessible brings climbers and hikers from all over so they can claiim that they made the summit. Because of this popularity, permits must be obtained through a lottery held by the National Forest Service. This limits the number of folks on the trail on a given day and is an attempt to minimize the impact and damage to the environment. Permits may be obtained for a three-day (two nights camping) or one-day attempt on the summit. When deciding which permit to get be forewarned that a one-day attempt will require 22 miles and nearly 6,500 feet of elevation gain of hiking.

Lone Pine also draws visitors because many movies, mainly westerns, were filmed in the granite boulder-strewn landscape that surrounds the town. Movies such as Gunga Din (with John Wayne), High Sierra (Humphrey Bogart), Rawhide, How The West Was Won, The Great Race (remember the great bar fight scene?), Nevada Smith (Steve McQueen), Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood), Tremors (great flick!), portions of two Star Trek movies (V and VII), and Gladiator among the over 100 films. There are driving tours that take you out to some of the filming locations. Lone Pine also hosts a film festival every year; this year will be the 17th edition. And they are just now putting the final touches on a Museum of Lone Pine Film History that will focus on the films shot in and around Lone Pine.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Charming, clean, friendly
  • Cons:Small, small town in eastern California
  • In a nutshell:Great place to stop overnight and spend a day or two exploring
  • Last visit to Lone Pine: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Aug 11, 2006
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Reviews (7)

Comments (6)

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    Climbing parts of Mt. Whitney must have been quite an experience. The view must have been spectacular! Regards from Texas...

  • penumbra's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2006 at 12:01 PM

    For a small town, it sounds like its well stocked, with even a chance to see movie stars.

  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo
    Aug 31, 2006 at 4:45 PM

    Nice! %7

  • Karnubawax's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2006 at 10:20 PM

    Beautiful photos! I can't wait to see what you write on Manzanar (I've been there several times)! I'm reading a book on it right now! - David

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2006 at 9:34 AM

    We drove through Lone Pine on our way to Death Valley, but didn't stop. Looks like we should have! Thanks for the info and photos!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2006 at 9:17 AM

    Pasta was the thing before a climb, I thought? LP is an interesting town to venture out of. An interesting milleau of people living there.


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