More than 900 big screen films and TV films have been shot in Utah and Hollywood first discovered its stunning scenery in the 1920’s when films like Stagecoach were filmed. The Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission, started in 1949, is the longest ongoing film commission in the world and few realise it was at Dead Horse Point by Canyonlands National Park – not the Grand Canyon, that Thelma and Louise took their final leap. And filming continues today – recent Hollywood productions that wrapped in Utah include Gravity, and Transformers: Age of Extinction and the Need for Speed.
Day 1 – Arrive in Salt Lake City.
Arrive in Salt Lake City, surrounded by lakes and mountains, and see where films were shot in the city including High School Musical 1 + 3, The Sandlot and Dumb and Dumber.
On the nearby Salt Flats – Independence Day, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the World’s Fastest Indian and more!
Day 2 – Sundance. 45 minutes ride from Salt Lake City.
Owned by one of the world’s most acclaimed actors, Robert Redford, and the filming site of Jeremiah Johnson, this chic eco resort is synonymous with film, as the birthplace of the internationally renowned Sundance Film Festival. www.sundanceresort.com
Days 3 and 4 – Moab. Around 4 hours ride from Sundance.
Moab is the ‘Adventure Capital’ of Utah. A bustling town with lots of hotels, restaurants and bars. Visit the 2,000 natural stone arches of Arches National Park and the jaw-dropping Canyonlands National Park.
Film buffs should check out:
The Movie Museum in Moab
Dead Horse Point State Park, for amazing views of where Thelma and Louise drove off the cliff
Arches to see where Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Need for Speed were filmed here
Drive down to Red Cliffs and Sorrel River resorts just outside Moab and see where Johnny Depp and crew filmed scenes of The Lone Ranger
Float along the Colorado River in the region and catch a glimpse of an old City Slickers set.
Day 5 – Monument Valley. 3 hours ride from Moab.
The home of iconic films such as Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1950s), Easy Rider films (1960s), Forrest Gump (1994) and The Lone Ranger (2013). Check out the Gouldings Lodge hotel/motel views and movie museum that chronicles the history of Harry Goulding discovering Monument Valley and how he provided the images that inspired John Ford to begin filming in Monument Valley in the 1930s
Day 6 – Capitol Reef. 2.5 hours ride from Monument Valley.
Drive to Capitol Reef National Park stopping in Torrey for lunch, then on to Escalante on the Scenic Byway 12 – Utah’s All American Road rated as one of the most beautiful roads in the USA. Film buffs may like to stopover at the Shooting Star RV park and stay in a film star themed old fashioned Airstream in Escalante.
Days 7 and 8 – Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. Escalante to Bryce Canyon 1 hour ride. Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park 2 hours ride.
See the spectacular red rock amphitheatre of Bryce Canyon and its Hoodoos (like giant red rock Terracotta Warriors), gaze at the stars at night led by expert ‘Dark Rangers’ then head to Zion National Park and hike The Narrows through the waters of the Virgin River or up the steep face of Angels Landing.
Film buffs can visit Grafton, the ‘ghost town’, near Zion’s great town of Springdale where the famous bicycle scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed.
Ride down to the film industry town of Kanab, close to Lake Powell and home to the Little Hollywood Museum. Kanab’s film debut was in 1924 with Deadwood Coach and when Frank Sinatra came to town with the Rat Pack, he paid for a swimming pool to be built at the Parry Lodge – where guests can still stay. Most recently John Carter of Mars was filmed in the region.
Day 9 – St George. Springdale to St George under 1 hour ride.
St George, the first major city in the south of Utah, is just 1.5 hours from Las Vegas. Visit its beautiful state park, Snow Canyon, where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed and High School Musical 2.
Day 10 – On to Las Vegas or return to Salt Lake City. 1.5 hours ride from St George to Las Vegas or 4.5 hours ride from St George to Salt Lake City.
If you are taking your rental vehicle to Las Vegas there will be a relocation fee.
Extra information on the areas above:
The Film Commission provides a list of all films shot in Utah at www.film.utah.gov
Utah, visit www.visitutah.com