Rent a classic film from the
public library shot in a national park.
Not all movies use back lots and special effects to get that special outdoors look. National parks have served as a backdrop to Hollywood films since 1910. If you're a movie buff who hasn't explored the great outdoors yet, let this list of classic films shot on National Park Service lands be your gateway into the wider world of camping.
National Monument. The land was originally home to the predecessors of the Hopi and
Zuni people and has since been excavated and studied by archaeologists. The pueblos and
canyons make for a beautiful landscape -- and it's easy to see why location scouts chose
Wupatki as a backdrop for this Western. The film was also shot in the nearby Coconino
National Forest and Kaibab National Forest.
North by Northwest (1959): The national memorial Mount Rushmore serves as a pivotal
setting for this Alfred Hitchcock adventure. It's not hard to imagine Cary Grant running
from spies in a death-and-death chase to freedom across this park. Just make sure you
imagine it and don't act it out; Hitchcock himself ran into controversy for his action
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969): For this classic Western, Butch Cassidy
(Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) -- the ultimate criminals on the
run -- took advantage of the scenery in Utah's Zion National Park. Once you're there,
you'll want to stay for the mind-blowing scenery. Besides the multitude of trails to lead
you around the sandstone, there are many naturally occurring arches that are a wonder to
behold in person.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940): This John Steinbeck classic novel-turned-film about
the Dust Bowl exodus utilizes the Petrified Forest to re-create a journey many have
taken through Arizona. The park has some great views and plenty of finds to keep
paleontologists, archaeologists, and others -ists busy for a long time. But main attraction
is really all the petrified wood, which is some otherworldly mix of logs and stone.
Spartacus (1960): Death Valley National Park has served as a location for multiple
films, including Star Wars Episode IV -- A New Hope. In Spartacus, the first sequence
in the quarries was filmed in the Nevada park. While it would be no fun to try to reenact
labor-intensive scenes, taking advantage of the hiking, biking, and camping opportunities
available in this 3-million-acre park could lead to a memorable vacation that becomes a