Explore Utah Through the Lens of "Horizon: An American Saga"

It's no surprise that Hollywood has turned to Utah's stunning and untouched terrain time and again.

Written By Taylor Hartman

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Horizon: An American Saga –– Chapter 1 © 2024 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. Rated R.   |  Richard Foreman/Warner Bros. Pictures

Utah's landscapes have long inspired great storytelling, with tales etched into red canyon walls by its ancient peoples and valleys marked by the wagon tracks and homesteads of pioneer settlers. It's no surprise that Hollywood has turned to Utah's stunning and untouched terrain time and again. 

Most recently, Kevin Costner selected Utah as the backdrop for his epic Western, “Horizon: An American Saga.” The landscapes, from sweeping deserts to towering mountains, were ideal to film an American Western. Whether you are an explorer seeking unique adventures or a film tourist interested in visiting movie locations, this guide will help you discover the sites featured in Costner’s film. (Read: Saddle Up for a Utah Cowboycation)

San Juan County: Echoes of the Ancients and a Mountain Backdrop

Take a scenic loop drive from La Sal to Castle Valley, where you'll encounter the awe-inspiring La Sal Mountains, likely recognizable from the film. Rising over 8,500 feet above its surrounding desert valley in southeastern Utah, the snow-capped mountains are a striking contrast from the desert below. 

For lodging specific to San Juan County, consider staying at Desert Rose Resort & Cabins in Bluff, Utah or Bluff Dwellings Resort & Spa. This charming resort offers comfortable accommodations with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, making it an ideal base for exploring the natural beauty and ancient history of the region. While in the area, don’t miss a visit to the nearby Needles District of Canyonlands National Park for a hike among spectacular rock formations.

Grand County: Rivers, Valleys and Adventure

Travel along Hwy 128's River Corridor near Lower Onion Creek Campground to capture dramatic landscapes that perfectly embody the American West. Experience must-dos like hiking in Arches National Park, off-roading in the nearby canyons, mountain biking at the Sand Flats Recreation Area and staying at one of Moab's unique hotels, like the rustic Red Cliffs Lodge or the cozy and historic Moab Springs Ranch. Top off your adventure with a rafting trip on the Colorado River for an exhilarating view of the landscape from the water.

Venture into the Fruit Bowl Area and Professor Valley for a stunning backdrop with red rock formations and open spaces. Visitors can expect breathtaking vistas and a sense of adventure. See if you can recognize the areas where Costner filmed as you explore. Try a hot air balloon ride over Professor Valley for a unique perspective of the dramatic scenery.

Professor Valley, Grand County

Photo: Richard Foreman/Warner Bros. Pictures

La Sal Mountains, San Juan County

Photo: Horizon: An American Saga –– Chapter 1 © 2024 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. Rated R. Credit: Richard Foreman.

Fruit Bowl, Grand County

Photo: Horizon: An American Saga –– Chapter 1 © 2024 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. Rated R. Credit: Richard Foreman.

Washington County: Desert Vistas and Outdoor Fun

Embark on a loop drive around Sand Hollow in Warner Valley, where you’ll be greeted by striking vistas and numerous recreational opportunities. Sand Hollow State Park offers boating, fishing and off-highway vehicle riding. Ensure you have the logistics sorted, as the area’s remote location means limited services and cell reception. Cap your visit with a sunset hike to the nearby Petrified Dunes of Snow Canyon State Park for an unforgettable view of the colorful sandstone formations and the vast desert landscape.

Kane County: Tranquil Retreats and Scenic Beauty

Explore Cave Lakes Canyon Ranch and Apple Valley in Kanab for a peaceful retreat. Cave Lakes Canyon Ranch offers private lakes, canyon views and rustic accommodations. Staying at the ranch, you’ll feel like you’re part of the movie since so many scenes from "Horizon: An American Saga" were filmed there. Spend a day at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, where you can enjoy off-roading on the expansive dunes or simply take in the stunning desert scenery.

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San Rafael Swell, Emery County

Photo: Horizon: An American Saga –– Chapter 1 © 2024 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved. Rated R. Credit: Richard Foreman.

Emery County: Rugged Canyons and River Adventures

Discover the rugged beauty of the San Rafael Swell, where the San Rafael River meanders through towering canyon walls. Visit the Emery County Visitor Center for insights into the area's geology and history, including fascinating displays about the region's ancient inhabitants. 

No place allows you to immerse yourself in your travels and adventures quite like Utah. Plan a film-inspired trip and explore the iconic landscapes featured on the big screen. 

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