5 Movies Filmed in National Parks

By Elizabeth Young

Panoramic vistas, crystal-clear lakes, deserts that never end, snow-capped mountains, and giant monoliths—whether they're starring as the backdrop in thrillers and dramas or alien planets in sci-fi movies, the U.S. National Parks have long held an important and prominent role in American cinema.

In celebration of National Park Week, here are some of our favorite films that take place in National Parks.

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969)

This is a photo of Zion National Park, Utah

With Paul Newman and Robert Redford, this iconic movie is one we're sure many of you have seen, or at least heard of. But did you know much of the movie was filmed in Utah's Zion National Park? If you can take your eyes off of Paul Newman and and Robert Redford long enough, you may notice some stunning natural landscapes and classic western scenery with these bank- and train-robbing bandits on the run to Bolivia.

This is a safari tent near Zion National Park in Utah

Channel your inner Butch Cassidy and head for Zion. This luxury safari tent is located in Kanab, Utah, and is perfect for visiting Zion National Park. Stay here and you'll be right on the southern border between Utah and Arizona, as well as roughly 10 miles east of Kanab, where you can enjoy starry nights under the magnificent southern Utah sky.

"North by Northwest" (1959)

This is a photo of Mount Rushmore

The chiseled granite faces of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Roosevelt make an unforgettable appearance during a climactic chase scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s dizzying thriller "North by Northwest." While shooting did take place in and around South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the harrowing chase scene itself, against Hitchock's wishes, ended up being filmed on a replica erected on a Hollywood sound stage.

This is a photo of a luxury cabin near Mount Rushmore.

This safari tent is located in Keystone, South Dakota, where it is situated on a multi-acre glamping site nestled among the Black Hills. Mount Rushmore lies just a few miles away and can be seen right from the site, which is stippled with towering pine trees. For movie-buffs, this is the perfect rental.

"Into the Wild" (2007)

This photo is of Denali National Park in Alaska

Much of "Into the Wild," a Sean Penn-directed biographical film, was shot on location at Denali National Park and Preserve. It was here that young Christopher McCandless (played by Emile Hirsch) attempted to live off the land in an abandoned bus parked along the remote Stampede Trail. We wouldn't recommend exploring the natural wonders of Denali in the same, some would say reckless, nature that McCandless did, but the stunning beauty captured by this film does make us want to head for the great outdoors.

This is a photo of a tiny house near Denali National Park in Alaska.

Located in Talkeetna, Alaska, this is the perfect choice for glampers hoping to enjoy a secluded and quiet vacation in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. With an amazing lakeside location, glampers will be able to enjoy all that Denali National Park has to offer. This part of the world boasts beautiful scenery and is a great opportunity to have some truly unique experiences, including one of the popular flight tours on offer in the area.

"Dances with Wolves" (1990)

This is a photo of Badlands National Park.

Having been badly wounded, Lt. John Dunbar (Kevin Costner), a Civil War hero, makes his way to the Western frontier. There he encounters Indians, buffalo, a dancing wolf, and Mary McDonnell. Camera crews filmed the movie at a variety of locations, but the most gorgeous, mixed grass prairie landscape they found was at Badlands National Park in southwestern South Dakota.

This is a photo of a cabin near Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

The cabin is located in a small community just off scenic Rimrock Highway. This rental has a great central location in the Black Hills, South Dakota—just 15 minutes from Rapid City and approximately 30 to 45 minutes to nearby tourist destinations, such as Keystone, Mt. Rushmore, Hill City, Crazy Horse, Custer, and Deadwood. Whether guests are looking to hike and explore, shop and sightsee, or just relax, this cabin will make a glamping trip to South Dakota enjoyable for all.

"Star Wars Episode VI—The Return of the Jedi" (1983)

This is a photo of Redwood National Park.

If you've seen this infamous saga, you'll probably remember the Ewoks, those little, furry creatures living on the forest moon of Endor? Well, those small, bear-like creatures actually live in one of the most spectacular forests in California. In the Redwood National and State Parks stands the forest of mighty trees at more then 300 feet high, more then 2,000 years old, and with an all but closed canopy of towering Redwoods.

This is a luxury cabin rental in Eureka, California.

This gorgeous cabin rental offers a private oasis where glampers can relax and enjoy nature. Nestled among towering redwoods, the rental is just 10 minutes from both Eureka and Arcata. In addition, glampers will be just one and a half miles from the bay and a short 15 minutes from a wide range of local beaches. And of course, Redwood National Park is also located nearby and is well worth a visit.


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