National parks are no strangers to the big screen. The untouched beautiful and unique scenery in national parks is the perfect backdrop for movies and TV shows alike. Because of this, many movies have been filmed in national parks since the mid-1900s. Several of those have been in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zions National Park. Curious if your favorite movie was filmed in one of these national parks? Let’s dive into that and see!
Movies filmed in Bryce Canyon
While many movies have been made over the year, a few of the most noteworthy ones have been
- Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy
- Thunderhead: Son of Flicka
- Sergeants 3
- The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing
While not all of these movies are Westerns, many of them are. The unique backdrop of Bryce Canyon’s red and orange-hued rocks is exactly what many people think of when they think about cowboys, bank robbers and the Wild West in general. Bryce Canyon is also home to something far more unique than its hues. The majestic yet mystical-looking hoodoos in Bryce Canyon are the biggest collection in the entire world. If you don’t know, hoodoos are pillars of weathered rocks that have been around for many years. These only add to the amazing views that the canyon has provided for moviemakers and visitors alike.
Movies filmed in Zions National Park
Like Bryce Canyon, Zions National Park has been the backdrop to many movies and TV shows over the years. A few of the most noteworthy ones include:
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- Romancing the Stone
- Behind the Movie Lens
- The Arizona Kid
Again, a lot are Western movies. Sometimes the movies and shows are filmed in more than one park. For example, The Deadwood Coach was filmed in both locations as well as Cedar City, Utah. Notably, this was also the very first film ever made in the state of Utah.
Why these locations are great for filming
As mentioned, the terrain and unique features of both Bryce Canyon and Zions make for the perfect movie and TV show backdrops. Since both are protected areas, they are somewhat frozen in time. There aren’t any big buildings or modern things around. It’s just beautiful nature. This lends itself so well to Westerns. In fact, when you visit, you almost expect to see cowboys and train-robbing bandits riding through the area—it just has that feel!
Kanab Hollywood Film Museum
So many movies and TV shows have been filmed in and around Kanab, Utah since the early 1900s, that the area has been called “Little Hollywood.” So, Kanab has a Little Hollywood museum that you can visit. It’s what’s called an immersive experience, which includes sets where you can touch and relive the movie experiences that happened there. They also put on a little skit called, “How the West Was Lost” where they use audience members so you get to be even more involved. They also have a gift shop and a restaurant.
The drive from Kanab to Zions National Park is just over 30 miles away. So, it’s pretty close. Bryce Canyon is about 77 miles from Kanab. So, they’re both within a reasonable distance if you want to visit the museum while you’re in the area.
Why You Need to Visit Zions and Bryce Canyon
Even without the movies, Zions and Bryce Canyon are well worth the visit. Zions is famous for its hiking, rock climbing and canyoneering. It also features some of the famous Utah arches. The Kolob Arch, for example, is breathtaking and is the sixth-longest natural arch in the world. The park itself is full of stunning rock, plants and animals as well.
Bryce Canyon is also breathtaking. It features the largest collection of hoodoos in the world (as mentioned above), as well as other beautiful rock formations. Bryce Canyon is also home to one of the darkest skies you’ll find in the United States. So, it’s perfect for stargazing.
If you’re hankering for the Wild West, take a tour of Zions National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park with National Park Express. We have two tour options that are approximately 13 hours each. You can experience the park with a private group or make some new friends in a larger tour group. With both tours, you’ll get to experience both national parks and all of the beauty they have to offer. Our experienced team will guide you through both national parks and help you experience the beauty that was captured in many of the wonderful movies of the past.