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6 Real Locations From Outdoor Movies To Explore

Image used with permission by copyright holder

As much as we might love being outdoors, there are times that call for staying in. Whether you’re enjoying a movie night in or looking for your next outdoor adventure, there are quite a few classic, quintessential movies that capture life outdoors with stunning scenery. For example, Free Solo traced rock climber Alex Honnold’s free-climb ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Apart from the jaw-dropping climb itself, one of California’s most popular parks is captured beautifully, too. That’s why these outdoor-themed movies and their amazing real-life settings are worth planning your own adventure trip around.

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A River Runs Through It (1992)

A River Runs Through It
68 %
pg 123m
Genre Drama, Family
Stars Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt
Directed by Robert Redford

An absolute must-watch for any outdoor enthusiast, <em>A River Runs Through It</em> was filmed in some of the most beautiful landscapes of the western United States. Though the book and movie are set in Missoula, Montana, the film was actually shot in a number of locations other than Missoula, including the small Montana towns of Bozeman and Livingston. But of course, the movie’s river scenes are one of the greatest appeals of A River Runs Through It.  The filming locations for those scenes included Yellowstone River, Boulder River, and Gallatin River. There were also some parts of the movie that were shot in Jackson, Wyoming. However, that was some 30 years before it was the ultra-luxe destination it is today.

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild
73 %
r 148m
Genre Adventure, Drama
Stars Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt
Directed by Sean Penn

Another cult classic is <em>Into The Wild</em> which is also based on the book by Jon Krakauer. The movie is about backpacking through some of the most primitive and remote wilderness in the United States in Alaska after the main character graduates from college. While the book tracks the character from the end of his time in an Atlanta college all the way to the Alaskan forests, the movie was actually shot in a number of other states. The scenes took place in South Dakota, Oregon, and even Arizona. Of course, some of the movie was also shot in the real place — Alaska — too.

Read more: Best National Parks to Visit Remotely

Legends of the Fall (1994)

Legends of the Fall
45 %
r 133m
Genre Adventure, Drama, Romance, War, Western
Stars Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn
Directed by Edward Zwick

For those who are unfamiliar, <em>Legends of the Fall</em> is a historical drama about a family living in the western United States and the troubles they face, as well as the atrocities committed against Native American people. While the beloved classic movie is meant to take place in the American West, it was actually filmed in northwestern provinces of Canada including British Columbia and Alberta. From Calgary to Vancouver, the film spans many stunning locations such as the Ghost River in Alberta and Gastown, Vancouver. There’s even one part of the movie that was filmed in St. Anne, Jamaica. So if this is a favorite for you, add Western Canada to your outdoors-based travel bucket list.

Read more: Best Netflix Movies

The Great Outdoors (1988)

The Great Outdoors
24 %
pg 91m
Genre Comedy
Stars Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Stephanie Faracy
Directed by Howard Deutch

Moving away from more somber and sad films albeit stunning odes to nature, John Candy and Dan Aykroyd star in <em>The Great Outdoors</em> , a comedy any outdoors enthusiast has to see at some point. So many have an idealistic picture of a family camping vacation only to have it turn into a comical disaster which is undoubtedly why the comedy has such a cult following. Set in rural Wisconsin, the movie was ultimately filmed in its entirety in California, clear across the country.

The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
68 %
pg-13 142m
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Directed by Gary Ross

While <em>The Hunger Games</em> might not be your typical idea of an outdoors movie, Katniss Everdeen’s hunting skills and love for the forests of her district in the books meant that the movies were partially filmed in one of the most underrated outdoor destinations of the United States — the Appalachian mountains. The first movie was largely filmed outside of Asheville, North Carolina in small state parks with gorgeous scenery. The mountainous landscape and its forests are some of the most biodiverse places you can find and home to the oldest mountains in the world. So if you haven’t been, add Asheville to your bucket list for hiking, foraging, and maybe even channeling your inner survivalist.

Read more: Appalachian Cuisine Guide

The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant
76 %
r 157m
Genre Western, Drama, Adventure
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

While we sincerely hope no one has an encounter with a bear such as Leonardo DiCaprio did in his role as a frontiersman in <em>The Revenant</em> , the movie does share an appreciation for the severity of the forces of nature. Though the movie was meant to take place in the Western Territories of the United States in the 1820s, the film was made in a number of mountainous destinations across the equator. Filming locations included Fortress Mountain in Alberta, Canada and Kootenai Falls in Montana. However, the final scenes were filmed in Argentina and Chile among Tierra del Fuego.

Read more: Best Amazon Prime Movies

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Molly Harris
Molly Harris is a freelance journalist, cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Lonely…
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