Many classic movies have been filmed within the boundaries of America’s National Parks due to their iconic landmarks and natural beauty. Our ranking is partially based on the quality of the movie and partially on the prominence of the setting to the story. We hope this list brings back some fond cinematic memories. Click here to check out all of our Top 10 Lists.
10. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
Rocky IV (1985), Shane (1953)
The jagged Teton Range makes for one of the most impressive backdrops in the country.
9. Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Into the Wild (2007)
Chris McCandless was not technically within the park, but several scenes were shot there.
8. Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Georgia to Maine)
A Walk in the Woods (2015)
The movie is not as good as the book, but the scenery and soundtrack are both excellent.
7. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Arizona-Utah)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
This spartan, but beautiful landscape makes for an otherworldly setting for (spoiler alert) planet Earth.
6. Death Valley National Park (California)
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
The sand dunes and canyons here filled in for Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine.
5. National Mall (District of Columbia)
Forrest Gump (1994)
A great scene in a great film takes place on the nation’s front lawn in Washington, D.C.
4. Mount Rushmore National Memorial (South Dakota)
North by Northwest (1959)
Cary Grant hanging from the giant carvings was actually a set piece, but most was filmed on site.
3. Devils Tower National Monument (Wyoming)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Who hasn’t sculpted this volcanic monolith out of mashed potatoes after watching this movie?
2. Zion National Park (Utah)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
This off-the-wall classic film featured the natural wonders of southern Utah.
…and finally, our #1 National Park setting for films!
1. Redwood National and State Parks (California)
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Outbreak (1995)
We kept expecting Ewoks to pop out from behind the massive coast redwood trees.
Glacier National Park (Montana)
The Shining (1980)
The Going-to-the-Sun Road was featured as the family drives up to the isolated winter lodge (filmed elsewhere).
Arches National Park (Utah)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), City Slickers II (1993), Thelma and Louise (1990)
Utah’s red rocks are prominent in portions of these three movies.