National parks are already vacation worthy, but now you have more reasons to go.
Spice up a vacation itinerary by visiting places you’ve already seen on the silver screen. The films on this list used national parks as backdrops to some unforgettable scenes. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to create your own adventure once you get there.
1. “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977) For some of us there are still only three “Star Wars” films. Part of the reason we cling so heartily to the original trilogy is that they didn’t use green screens/chroma keys for all of their locations. Parts of Death Valley National Park, where temperatures regularly soar to over 100 degrees, were used for some of the Tatooine sets. Who wouldn’t want to brave that weather for a chance to experience a galaxy not so far away?
2. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989): The final installment in the original “Indiana Jones” series took us to reclaim artifacts from far off places, but who could forget the iconic flashback at the start of the film? Young Indie leads his fellow scouts into an adventure that projects his eventual career path. You too can relive those harrowing moments by taking a trip to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, where the scenes were filmed. If you’re a movie buff this park will really appeal to you. It served as the backdrop for many other films.
3. “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997): If hunting down graverobbers or Sith Lords isn’t your style then maybe you’ll enjoy running away from velociraptors, or at least pretending to. Parts of this sequel were filmed in Redwood National Forest, located in Northern California. Take a hike around Fern Canyon to feel immersed in the beauty of the outdoors and relive those nail-biting moments. (Tip: Stay away from the long grass.)
4. “The Hunger Games” (2012): While no one wants to be a citizen of Panem, some people might enjoy visiting a location used in the first film of the successful series. The Pisgah National Forest served as the backdrop for Katniss’ hunting expeditions beyond the fences of her home district. Other locations in North Carolina were also used in this production, so the trip could easily become a tour.
5. “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (2007): Mount Rushmore is an icon all its own, but when you add Nicolas Cage to the mix things are bound to get a little adventurous. Book of Secrets was filmed at various national memorials (including the ones for Lincoln and Washington) which makes it a good movie to base a tour off of. Step into America’s history and maybe you too can stumble upon an unsolved mystery. – Bianca Hernandez
This article originally appeared on Sierra Magazine’s website.
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Image: mike baird