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USA Boot Arch

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The Alabama Hills has hundreds of small granite arches (the largest are about 10 feet/3 m across), but most of them are found about one to four miles (1.6 to 6.4 km) to the south. Boot Arch is one of the few arches in this part of the Alabama Hills. What makes Boot Arch special is that the arch looks like its name.

Photography Tips

Boot Arch is easiest to photograph from the north side, although it should be possible from the south side as well if you scramble up the rocks on that side. If you stand far enough back, you can frame a small piece of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the arch. If you're close, you look up at the arch and will get sky through it.

I made this image on October 2, 2020, at about 5:15 p.m., which was about an hour and a half before sunset. I deliberately underexposed this image to silhouette the arch and its "fin" against the cloudy skies. I was with a small photo group from my church (led by a professional photographer) and he later set up some LED lights so we could photograph a neatly lit arch well after sunset. The sky later cleared, so I did some simple astrophotography with the arch in the scene. I shoot Micro Four Thirds and I used everything from 12 mm (24 mm FF equivalent) to 150 mm (300 mm FF equivalent).

Because the Alabama Hills are desert, summertime temperatures can be unpleasant (above 100°F/38°C). Because the Alabama Hills is a high desert, freezing temperatures and even light snow are possible in winter. I visited the Alabama Hills twice in 2020, once in mid-February and once in early October. February had the advantage of snow on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada to the west. October had the advantage of nearly perfect temperatures.

Travel Information

Start in Lone Pine at the intersection of Hwy 395 and Whitney Portal Road. Head west on Whitney Portal Road about 2.7 miles/4.3 km and turn right (north) onto Movie Road. It’s called Movie Road because a LOT of Westerns were filmed in and around the Alabama Hills. There is a film museum in Lone Pine you may want to visit. Movie Road is a wide and nice graded gravel road. About 1.5 mi/2.4 km in from Whitney Portal Road, Movie Road makes a 90° bend to the right (east). Here is the parking area for the Mobius Arch Trail, which I did twice last year. From here, continue on Movie Road as it wanders its way generally north another 3 mi/4.8 km or so and take a narrow gravel road to the left (west) a few hundred yards/meters to a gravel parking area. I don't recall if this road or the parking area is signed for Boot Arch. Boot Arch is about 300 ft/100m west of the parking area along a dirt trail. If you will be there at night, remember to bring a flashlight. I didn't, but fortunately, the Moon was almost full.

For more information:
https://www.blm.gov/visit/alabama-hills-national-scenic-area
https://www.blm.gov/documents/california/public-room/brochure/alabama-hills-recreation-area-map-and-guide
The best guidebook for the arches of the Alabama Hill is titled, not surprisingly, “Arches of the Alabama Hills”. It is available at several stores in Lone Pine as well as through Amazon. Unfortunately, this book does NOT include Boot Arch. https://www.amazon.com/Arches-Alabama-Hills-features-coordinates/dp/1493636146
Spot Type Outdoor
Crowd Factor Nearly no other people
Best Timing All timings are equally good
Sunrise & Sunset 05:51 - 20:06 | current local time: 02:06
Photo Themes arches

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Thank you Fred Lusk for creating this photo spot in USA and Mia Pflieger for improving it with additional photos or content.
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