The Alabama Hills are located between the town of Lone Pine and Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental United States. The Hills are best known as the scenic back drop to classic western films like Bad Day at Black Rock and How the West Was Won as well as television shows like The Lone Ranger. Newer films like Django Unchained, Iron Man, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen have even found the Alabama Hills to be a desirable filming location.
Long before Hollywood, and even the earliest white settlers discovered the beauty of the Alabama Hills; the Paiute called these hills home. The massive outcroppings of boulders served as the perfect shelter for the Natives, and the nearby mountains provided opportunity for game and gathering.
The Paiute continued to live in the Alabama Hills even after the earliest white settlers arrived. In the 1860’s a conflict arose between the Paiute and the settlers, the Paiute was found to be slaughtering the settlers’ cattle during the harsh winter months. The settlers retaliated by killing members of the Paiute tribe, and in retaliation the Paiute began to kill the settlers. This began the Owens Valley Indian War, which lasted until the winter 1862 when the settlers destroyed all the Paiute food reserves. In the spring of 1863 the Paiute was forced to leave their beloved homeland and were relocated to Fort Tejon in the Tehachapi Mountains.
Today the Paiute again live near the Alabama Hills at the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation. The Reservation was established in 1937. The current Tribal population is estimated to be around 350 persons.
The pictographs found in the Alabama Hills are likely left here by the early Paiute that settled this area. This particular site utilized orange and white paint, with a majority being in orange. I’ve posted in the gallery below the images as you can see them with the naked eye, as well I’ve posted enhanced images utilizing a program called DStretch. DStretch has done a wonderful job popping out the designs that have faded and you can no longer see.
Interested in visiting this site?
GUIDE SERVICE OPTION: Jim’s Guide Service may be the right choice for you. Jim can provide you with a single day to multiday rock art tours throughout the Mojave Desert. Visit the guide website for more details.
BOOK OPTION: The Alabama Hills Pictograph Site is featured in Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. III. Detailed maps, and GPS coordinates are included. Order your copy now.