The Mobius Arch: nature’s perfect picture frame

(Last Updated On: May 18, 2015)

California is filled with “must see” geographical wonders and breathtaking landscapes. Many are well known like Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. But, there are some that fly under the radar to the average traveler or tourist, and The Mobius Arch is one of them.

Unless, you have heard of this place before, live in the region, or are a passionate landscape photographer, the Arch still remains a bit unknown to many. However, once you see the Arch, it will leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.

alabama hills mobius 3 (1 of 1)

The Alabama Hills

The Mobius Arch is located in the Alabama Hills Recreation Area, more commonly referred to as the Alabama Hills. These “hills” are located on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains just west of Lone Pine, California. This geological playground has been home to hundreds of Hollywood films and TV shows. It’s an outdoor paradise for those adventurists who love bouldering or rock climbing.

Check out my article: The Alabama Hills: Hollywood’s iconic outdoor playground for more details and photos of the Alabama Hills.

Looking east through Mobius Arch

Looking east through Mobius Arch

Mobius Arch Trail

Within the last few years, the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group created a trail to lead visitors from the parking area to the Mobius Arch and other nearby rock formations including the Lathe Arch.

alabama hills mobius parking (1 of 1)

The trail begins on the left (west) side of the parking area and spans roughly a half mile around the Mobius Arch and back to the right (east) side of the parking area. There is a small change in elevation and plenty of rocks to climb around, over and through.

The trail takes about 30 minutes to complete for the average person. Allow for more time if the trail is busy or if you plan on taking photos.

alabama hills mobius trail (1 of 1)

Trail Tips

Here are some tips to make your hike a more enjoyable one:

  • There are trail signs/sticks out on the trail to keep you on the right path
  • Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes
  • Start on the left side of the parking lot – this way is quicker to the Mobius Arch
  • Bring water
  • Wear sunblock or a hat because there is no shade
  • Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes during rattlesnake season
  • Expect to get dirty
  • Bring a camera
  • For photos – it’s best at early sunrise or near dawn
  • In the summer, temperatures break the triple digit mark

alabama hills mobius trail 2 (1 of 1)

Final Words

The Mobius Arch is an incredible photo opportunity unlike anywhere else in the state. It’s no surprise that photographers come from all over the world to capture the image of Mt. Whitney framed within the arch. Now that there is a trail, it makes it easier to find the Mobius Arch. You can explore a few more interesting rock formations and the Lathe Arch all along this trail.

Lathe Arch

Lathe Arch

The region is remote enough to feel like you are hiking through the desert. Yet, it’s still close enough to civilization, which provides security of knowing you aren’t lost out in the desert. Add this Arch to your bucket list.

alabama hills mobius trail rocks (1 of 1)


From Lone Pine – Take Highway 395 and head west on Whitney Portal Road. Drive roughly 2.5 miles, enter the Alabama Hills and make a right onto Movie Road. Make a right onto Movie Road, passing the historical marker, and head 1.5 miles until you come to a “Y” in the road. Veer to the right and make almost an immediate left into the parking area. The trailhead signs are at the left end and the right end of the parking area.

alabama hills mobius 4 (1 of 1)

alabama hills mobius 5 (1 of 1)