HBO's Westworld. See it now, in Utah.
Moenkopi and Cutler sandstone rise out of the desert like Gothic castles. Towers drip with grotesque features carved from rock more than 200 million years old. The sculptor here: the force of Mother Nature, whose patient hand harnessed wind, water, ice and time in the creation of Castle Valley, Utah.
The HBO series "Westworld" adapts Michael Crichton's 1973 screenplay and film into an interesting story updated for a modern audience and showcases some of director Nolan's signature nonlinear storytelling — and the reviews have been positive. The setting is spellbinding, featuring rugged terrain and breathtaking vistas. But where is Westworld filmed? The storytelling comes alive thanks to the unforgettable Western backdrops that define the state of Utah.
The sweeping establishing camera shots of Castle Valley and Canyon Country (Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands National Park) that Jonathan Nolan's production team cut into the "Westworld" narrative are fitting for multiple reasons.
This scenic corner of Utah, more than anywhere else on the map, is a place that evokes the mythological west of classic Hollywood Westerns, including John Ford's long love affair with nearby Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in his depictions of the Wild West. It is quintessential Western America, but these locations feel otherworldly, almost impossible. It is a natural amusement park of the highest order, home to Moab, Arches National Park, some of the West's best whitewater on the Colorado River and virtually limitless open space to roam.
Meanwhile, the Upper Colorado Scenic Byway, S.R. 128, links many of the film's best panoramas as it winds through the scenic valleys. Production stills from "Westworld" show a flatbed trailer trucking the the classic Fillmore & Western Railway train carriage set through Castle Valley to depict "Arrivals" to Westworld. A drive up the byway is like arriving in the amusement park of Westworld. What adventures await?
Though Castle Valley and many other Utah landscapes are woven into the fabric of Hollywood, they are also travel destinations for your next outdoor adventure. Ready to start planning your visit? Check out our variety of itineraries inspired by movies and TV filmed in Utah and the Sundance Film Festival.