Lone Pine is in the extreme southern part of the Owens Valley. The tallest mountain in the contiguous United States is Mount Whitney, which is easily seen from Lone Pine by just looking up and to the west. However, don't be fooled by the nearer and apparently taller Lone Pine Peak. Look for the portals, to the south, which lead up to and help identify Mt. Whitney.
A unique location with as much cultural and historical significance as natural beauty, the town serves as a launching point for expeditions to the summit of Mt Whitney and the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range as well as the strange depths of Death Valley. Lone Pine is a true 4-season destination.
You can take US 395 north 215 miles from Los Angeles or US 395 south from Reno (260 miles), Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite National Park. If you are coming from the Death Valley region or Keeler, take California State Route 136.
Eastern Sierra Transit has weekday service as far as Reno and Lancaster (transfer from Greyhound or Metrolink train from Los Angeles).
Shuttle services can bring you from outside the area, but likely at a premium. http://www.eastsidesierrashuttle.com/. Also try Lone Pine Kurt. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cell: ☏ .
Lone Pine is far from major airports. LAX is the nearest large airport, 215 miles south. Bishop, 60 miles north, has limited connecting service on United to SFO, LAX and DEN. Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Ontario or Burbank and renting a car may work depending on your situation.
The town is small and compact and can be easily walked. However, you will need a car, or a pre-arranged shuttle, to visit more distant locations like Whitney Portal or Alabama Hills.
- Alabama Hills. Many old westerns and contemporary films have been shot here.
- Mount Whitney. The highest point in the Lower 48 United States is at the top of this mountain.
- 1 Museum of Western Film History, 701 S. Main St, ☏ . M-W 10AM-6PM, Th-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Museum of Lone Pine Film History celebrates and preserves the long and varied film history of Lone Pine, Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra.
- 2 Owens Lake. A dry lake since Los Angeles contentiously acquired most water rights in the Owens Valley.
You can hike in the Alabama Hills and Mount Whitney (see previous section) or at the Cottonwood Lakes.
- Elevation, 125 N. Main St, ☏ . Offers a wide assortment of hiking, climbing, backpacking and mountaineering gear and supplies, from ultra-light packs and stoves to mountaineering boots and ice axes.
- Whitney Portal Store. Offers "last minute supplies for hiking, camping, fishing, and related items for the portal visitors." Offers limited alcohol purchases (6-packs of beer, etc.) Store operates seasonally. At the trailhead 12 miles up Whitney Portal Rd.
- Lone Pine Film History Museum gift shop (Eastern Sierra Film History Museum).
- Several other gift shops in town are fun to explore, with camping/outdoor/Whitney themed memorabilia.
At least a dozen eating establishments exist in Lone Pine to cater to a variety of food tastes. Generally the restaurants err on the side of American and Italian fare. If you are staying a few days, it is recommended to try several of the establishments to better experience local cuisine.
- Whitney Portal Store. On top of their retail operation, WPS has a small kitchen serving up breakfast and lunch fare. Recommendations for food are their huge pancakes and burgers — great after a long hike! The kitchen closes whenever the store closes.
Jake's Saloon, 119 North Main Street, ☏ . Daily noon-2AM. Old school bar.
- Best Western Frontier Motel, 1008 S Main St (on US 395), ☏ . Basic and clean. Fitness center, pool, free breakfast, business center.
- Dow Villa Motel, 310 S Main St (on US 395), ☏ . Historic hotel in the middle of town. Contains the older 1920s section (some rooms have no private bath) which played host to several old movie stars and the 1960s motel style addition. Has pool, hot tub, wifi and guest computer access in the lobby.
Lone Pine exists is a desert climate, so expect dry weather and extreme heat in the summertime. Drink lots of water (and eat a bit of food to help absorb it), and make ample use of the shade.
If you are stranded on the road outside of Lone Pine, be aware that little to no facilities exist outside of city limits. You may have to walk, flag a passing motorist for assistance (take care with this advice), or use a cell phone to get help. Local law enforcement consists of county sheriffs and Inyo National Forest Rangers.
Los Angeles' contentious acquisition of water rights has dried up Owens Lake (south of town), which once was similar in character to Mono Lake. Dust storms now rage during windy times. If the wind is in just the right direction, Lone Pine gets dusted. This alkali dust is not good for your health, though it is worse for the health of the citizens of Lone Pine who must endure it constantly. You can probably safely ignore this warning unless you suffer from conditions like asthma or allergies.
- Death Valley (southeast on CA 136, then east on CA 190) Death Valley N.P. is close enough that it can be visited in a long day trip, though there is enough to see there that an overnight stay within the park or east outside of park in Beatty, NV, might be worth it.
- Fossil Falls Campground (south on US 395) is about an hour away.
|Routes through Lone Pine|
|Bishop ← Big Pine ← Independence ←||N S||→ Cartago → Hesperia|
|END ←||W E||→ Jct → Death Valley N.P.|