We originally wanted to ride our gravel bikes up to Cerro Gordo, an old ghost town in the area. However, the giant rainstorms and flooding last month washed out parts of the road and it was closed for maintenance. So instead we rode our bikes around Alabama Hills to check out the interesting geology and soak up the amazing views.
The Alabama Hills were named for the CSS Alabama, a Confederate warship deployed during the American Civil War. When news of the ship’s exploits reached prospectors in California sympathetic to the Confederates, they named many mining claims after the ship, and the name came to be applied to the entire range. The rounded contours of the Alabamas contrast with the sharp ridges of the Sierra Nevada to the west. Percolating water rounded the granite blocks and sculpted the many outstanding formations of the Alabama Hills.
This monumental landscape provides a multitude of settings for movie backgrounds and evocative scenes. The beautiful rock formations of the hills bordered by a vast open plain rising majestically to the Sierra Mountains beyond has been a prime filming location since the early 1900s. Hundreds of movies have been filmed here including How the West Was Won, Iron Man, Django Unchained, and even tv shows such as The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, and Annie Oakley.
This is a great area to just wander around an explore and that is what we did. Our ride was 12 miles with 1,137′ of climbing. We started off on Movie Road which quickly turns to a dirt road with some rocky sections and some sandy sections. We turned left and right and meandered around, always coming back to the main road. At some point we wandered down a 4X4 road that led to a singletrack trail. Knowing nothing about it other than it looked cool, we took it. Wowzers! After some steep descents we found ourselves in a boulder wonderland overlooking a magnificent canyon. Views on this day were A++.