National Parks Seen On the Big Screen
America’s national parks aren’t just scenic, often they make the scene. Check out these national park locations you may or may not recognize from your favorite films.
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/Ronoster
Photo By: Kylie Pearse
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/Michael Fitzsimmons
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/lightpix
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/fstockfoto
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/dmathies
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/Jeff Goulden
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/David Hughes
Photo By: iStockPhoto.com/bluehorizonphotos
Death Valley National Park
California or Tatooine? The desert landscape and stunning sand dunes of Death Valley National Monument — and its proximity to Los Angeles —have made it a popular location for movie shoots. In "Star Wars," Death Valley is the stand-in for many scenes on the fictional planet Tatooine. Parts of "Return of the Jedi," "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" and many other classic movies including "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," "King Solomon's Mines," "Spartacus" and "Tarzan" were also shot in Death Valley.
Arches National Park
In the opening sequence of the third "Indiana Jones" movie, a troop of Boy Scouts hikes under the Double Arch of Utah's Arches National Park. You'll see the same arch — and others -— in 2003's "The Incredible Hulk." Parts of "City Slickers" and "Thelma and Louise" were also shot in Arches.
Redwoods National Park
A spaceship lands in a forested area near a typical suburb, a set-up that brings us the adorable alien from "E.T." That forest is none other than Redwoods National Park. Also, further down California's coast, the redwoods of Muir Woods stand in as Endor, the home of the Ewoks in "Return of the Jedi."
Badlands National Park
Kevin Costner rides across a stunning backdrop of prairies, badlands and buttes in the 1990 Oscar winner "Dances with Wolves." Parts of "Armageddon" and "How the West Was Won" were also shot in the Badlands.
Denali National Park
In "Into the Wild," a young man on a journey to find himself through nature winds up camping out in an abandoned bus in Alaska's Denali National Park. The wild landscape, flora and fauna are practically characters in this film, based on a true story.
Crater Lake National Park
Like "Into the Wild," the movie "Wild" is also based on the true story of a young person finding herself through a solo trek in the wilderness. Shot almost entirely on location on the Pacific Crest Trail in California and Oregon, a scene near the end of the film takes the main character through a moment of reflection at Crater Lake.
Devils Tower National Monument
Is there any more iconic natural formation in the movies than Devils Tower, the center of alien activity in 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"? The Wyoming location, America's first landmark designated a national monument, manages to evoke earthiness and otherworldliness at once.
Grand Teton National Park
Apparently, no landscape says rugged individualism more timelessly than Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. "Django Unchained," "Brokeback Mountain," "Shane" and "Rocky IV" all include scenes shot in the Tetons.
Coconino National Forest
"The Revenant," which is supposed to take place in South Dakota in the 1800s, was mostly shot in Canada, however, a need for a snowy mountain range brought the crew to the San Francisco Peaks, a volcanic mountain range that, while not a national park, is part of Cococino National Forest in Arizona, south of Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim.
Big Bend National Park
At the end of 2014's Oscar-nominated movie "Boyhood," famously shot over 12 years, the boy of the title, now a young man, is seen hiking a canyon at Big Bend. The Texas national park also represents in "Paris, Texas" and "No Country for Old Men."
Pisgah National Forest
The dystopian world of "The Hunger Games" is divided into districts, with distinct physical and natural characteristics. District 12, home to Katniss Everdeen, is a mining region surrounded by woods and rivers, shot in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest just east of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "The Last of the Mohicans" was also shot in Pisgah.