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Weekend Road Trip Guide for Lone Pine and Death Valley

How to have an amazing weekend exploring California's Eastern Sierra

By: Michael Fricke + Save to a List

One of my girlfriend's favorite movies is Tremors. Yes, 1990 Kevin Bacon. For her birthday weekend we decided it would be fun to visit the area where Tremors was filmed, the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine. In the weeks leading up to the trip we started getting more ideas and expanded the idea to do a small road trip of the California Eastern Sierra and see Kearsarge Pass and Death Valley also. We booked a campsite at Lone Pine Campground off the Whitney Portal Road for Friday and Saturday nights and planned to camp in Death Valley Sunday night. Here is what we did.


Friday we just drove from our home in the LA area to Lone Pine Campground and set up camp. It was a full moon. It was bright enough one did not need a flashlight to see at night.

We admired the full moon and what stars we could see and went to sleep.


We got up, got breakfast and headed north up the 395 towards Kearsarge Pass. We made a stop at Manzanar National Historical Site the location of one of the Japanese relocation centers during WWII. I highly recommend people visit Manzanar. It is something everyone should know about.

After a quick stop at Manzanar we continued to the Kearsarge Pass trailhead. A beautiful mountain pass where one can hike through the Sierras to the other side. We hiked by a few lakes, had lunch and turned back. Kearsarge Pass is a beautiful trail even if you don't do the whole thing. The lakes are stunning.

After hiking we headed back to Lone Pine Campground made a fire and dinner and walked to a nice stream by the campground before calling it a night.


We got an early start and headed down Whitney Portal Road to the Alabama Hills. A rocky landscape where many great movies have been filmed including Django Unchained, How the West was Won, and Tremors. We hiked to the Mobius Arch, a nice arch which is a great stop for photos with the Sierras in the background.

After the Mobius Arch we explored the Alabama Hills. Climbing various rock formations and taking in the beautiful views of the Sierras to the west.

After exploring the Alabama Hills we headed east into Death Valley. After two hours of driving we reached Zabriskie Point a little before sunset and took in the amazing Death Valley sunset.

We camped for the night at Furnace Creek Campground. It was a classic windy Death Valley night.


We got up early again so we could see as much Death Valley as possible on our last day. We drove to the Mesquite Flat Dunes which is one of my favorite spots in Death Valley. We walked out into the dunes and took in sights and sounds of the dunes.

We then drove back past Furnace Creek to Badwater Basin the lowest point in North America.

After a quick stop at Badwater we took Artist's Drive a beautiful drive through interesting geology and colorful rocks. Full of adventure from a full long weekend we headed back home. Successful Trip.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/plantfueledadventure/

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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