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Top 18 Landscape Film Locations in the American West

Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana

It’s hard to think of movies made in Hollywood without seeing images of the American West. Golden deserts and awe-inspiring canyons, majestic mountain tops, wide serene lakes, and vineyard hills are just a few of the unforgettable vistas often memorialized in many of our favorite movies. The diversity of the American West landscapes is definitely one of the biggest calling cards to the film industry. No wonder Hollywood quickly relocated to California in the early 20th century, after just a few short years stationed in New York.

So without further ado, we’d like to share with you a few of the top landscape film locations in the American West and the iconic movies that make them famous:

  1. Glacier National Park, Montana: Cattle Queen of Montana, Heaven’s Gate
  2. Paradise Valley, Montana: A River Runs Through It, The Horse Whisperer
  3. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming: The Big Sky, Shane
  4. Devil’s Tower, Wyoming: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  5. Badlands National Park, South Dakota: Dances With Wolves
  6. Pyramid Lake, Nevada: The Misfits
  7. Lake Tahoe and Truckee, California: A Place in the Sun, The Gold Rush
  8. Monterey Peninsula and Point Lobos, California: Vertigo, The Sandpiper
  9. Mount Whitney and Lone Pine, California: High Sierra
  10. Santa Ynez Valley, California: Sideways
  11. Death Valley, California: Zabriskie Point, Star Wars
  12. Zion National Park, Utah: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jeremiah Johnson
  13. Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona border: Stagecoach, The Searchers, Easy Rider
  14. Moab, Utah and its surroundings: Rio Grande, Thelma & Louise, Geronimo
  15. San Juan Mountains in Ouray County, Colorado: True Grit
  16. Chama River Valley, New Mexico: All the Pretty Horses, City Slickers, Wyatt Earp
  17. Zia Pueblo Reserve, New Mexico: All the Pretty Horses, The Missing
  18. Alamo Village in Bracketville, Texas: The Alamo

We’re sure you can also add a few more to this list based on some of your personal favorite movies. Feel free to include them in the comment section below.



  1. Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The west is too beautiful to not be in movies! I am going to Glacier in July on my Motorcycle.

    • Posted February 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Sightser – Let us know all the beautiful potential filming locations if you discover any!

  2. Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    How about Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid and Cliffhanger that were filmed near Durango, Colorado.

  3. Posted January 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Kimberly! Excellent additions!

  4. Posted February 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    There’s good info here. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Keep up the good work mate!

    • Posted February 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks TSwain! Feel free to add more should you stumble upon updated info.

  5. Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    What is the date of the issue that the 18 best is in?

    • Posted February 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      We got the data from On Location 2 – Famous Landscapes in Film (published in Nov 2007). Do you have more updates to add? We’d love to see them! Thanks.

  6. Posted January 4, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Great share indeed. It’s great to learn where such “chef d’oeuvres” were shot

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