6 Days   •   960 Miles

Classic Westerns of the Silver Screen

When you picture the American West, chances are you are picturing Utah. From the alpine backwoods of Jeremiah Johnson to the sweeping vistas of Westworld and all the John Ford's in between, Utah is the place to travel for movie magic.

Start: Salt Lake City
Finish: Las Vegas or Salt Lake City

Hours of driving: 16–19+ depending on an option to extend to Zion National Park and your return destination.

You've seen this before. Those monoliths, like two mittens rising from the desert floor. That arch. Those sheer canyon walls. John Wayne has roamed these lands in search of revenge. Westworld's The Man in Black is searching for ... well, something else. And when Paul Newman and Robert Redford's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid take off running, that's also Utah. When you picture the American West, chances are you are picturing Utah. From the alpine backwoods of Jeremiah Johnson to the sweeping vistas of Westworld and all the John Ford's in between, Utah is the place to travel for movie magic.

You could pick any corner of Utah and settle in for several days checking hot Hollywood destinations off your checklist, but for fans of the Western, your trip really begins — after a pitstop at Sundance Mountain Resort (founded by Redford) — in scenic, iconic Southern Utah. You'll explore the slickrock landscapes of the Moab area and wander through among the towering sandstone rock formations and high-country desert of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

Moving west, the plot thickens in one of the most-loved locations, "Little Hollywood," in Kanab and wraps up in the setting of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." And while the films are the focal point of your tour, you'll be encountering some of America's most scenic parks and monuments of some of Utah's best state parks — this is listed as a six-day itinerary, but gift yourself extra days to fully enjoy it all.

Day 1

Salt Lake City to Moab

230 Miles

Landing in Salt Lake City, Utah, gets you close to Utah's extensive portfolio of national parks, monuments, state parks and open lands. But don't hit the road just yet. We have entire itineraries to explore classic Salt Lake City attractions and lesser-known stops both within the city and the surrounding area. Added incentive: In 2014, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Salt Lake City one of America's 5 New Foodie Cities and things have only gotten bigger and better. There are also distilleries, breweries and some great live music. One more stop on the way to Southern Utah: Sundance Mountain Resort, part of the Utah setting for Redford's "Jeremiah Johnson." A stop at the Owl Bar is a stop at the restored Rosewood Bar, formerly of Wyoming, formerly popular among Butch Cassidy's crowd. From Sundance, it's on to Moab, a time-honored playground for filmmakers and outdoor adventurers alike.

Salt Lake City, Sundance Mountain Resort, Green River or Moab

Day 2

Dead Horse to Canyonlands

75 Miles

A character of its own, Dead Horse Point State Park provided some of the awe-inspiring landscape for the HBO series, "Westworld." The state park’s campground includes reservable yurts and in addition to scenery, visitors can experience IDA-certified International Dark Skies, an impressive mountain bike trail system, hiking and easy access to Canyonlands National Park. Even though Thelma & Louise took place at the Grand Canyon, the filmmakers went to Dead Horse Point to film the famous last scene when the women drive off the precipice. That said, many visitors find Dead Horse Point to be even more captivating than the views at the Grand Canyon, so come prepared with a camera and to extend your stay plan to book a site in the campground well in advance of your visit.

Lodging in Moab or camping in Dead Horse Point, Canyonlands or BLM land. (Read: "The Best Time to Visit Moab")

Day 3

Double Arch to Castle Valley

150 Miles

Shot at the famous Double Arch in Arches National Park, young River Phoenix (playing an adolescent Indiana Jones) narrowly escapes the bad guys on foot, horseback and train. There are more than 2,000 arches in this park and miles of trail that can occupy days, but it’s less than a mile to recreate the movie memory at Double Arch. It's not exactly a Western, but it's a classic that's too good not to follow. Next, head up S.R. 128 along the Upper Colorado River. This scenic byway is part of the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway and accesses trail systems, rafting, a winery and canyon complexes surrounded by unforgettable red rock landscapes. The area is well known for iconic Castle Valley and the excellent Fisher Towers area — captured in the 1950s John Ford film, "Rio Grande," and in a number of "Westworld" scenes.

Take a second or third night in the Moab area or begin the journey south toward your next stop with overnight options in Monticello, Blanding, Bluff, Mexican Hat or Monument Valley.

Day 4

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

200 Miles

Monument Valley is an iconic symbol of the American West and a place of profound significance to the Navajo Nation. The Twelve Dancers feature, in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, is where John Wayne's character, Ethan, finally catches up with Scar, the Comanche chief. “The Searchers” is considered among the greatest and most influential Western movies ever made. To share in that history, make your way to John Ford Point, where the Texas Rangers plan an attack on the Comanches. In fact, the park is a consistent, standout character in John Wayne's western flicks. Another good place to start: "Stagecoach." Monument Valley also provided the majestic location for Stanley Kubrick to depict the story of evolution and the distant past in "2001: A Space Odyssey." The park also makes an appearance in Johnny Depp's "The Lone Ranger" and the Academy Award-winning "Forrest Gump," among dozens of other movies. For the closest look at the park, book a Navajo-guided tour.

Monument Valley area or Kanab

Day 5

Little Hollywood

80 Miles

Kanab is an adventure base camp near Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument also known as Utah's “Little Hollywood” for having welcomed numerous filmmakers to create classic, timeless movies. Perry's Lodge was known as the place to stay for incoming film productions. The guest list includes John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan and more. A Kanab must-see is the Little Hollywood Museum, which houses an actual Hollywood set including a few structures used in the 70s film, "The Outlaw Josey Wales." The Johnson Canyon Western Movie Set is just a few short minutes from Kanab and was featured heavily in what is considered to be one of the longest-running prime-time shows on television, Gunsmoke. Kanab is an ideal base camp to the monument, Zion National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, plus the town itself offers civilized amenities and upscale dining amid its quintessential wild western setting.


Day 6

Following Butch Cassidy

225 Miles

Many travelers visit southwestern Utah to see the soaring cliffs of Zion National Park and to hike, climb and mountain bike the incredible red rock landscapes. For movie buffs, this scenic corner of the state of Utah comes alive with nostalgia for Robert Redford’s iconic film, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The complete list of filming locations includes the ghost town of Grafton, Snow Canyon State Park, the city of St. George and Zion National Park. There's a whole itinerary (Read: Butch Cassidy's West) that explores the memorable scenes from the film before chasing down the man behind the legend. For the sake of this itinerary, explore Snow Canyon State Park, the ghost town of Grafton (visit with respect) and, if you haven't been, Utah's top park, Zion. Of course, if you haven't been to Zion, you'll want to add some time to the end of this itinerary and consider booking advance reservations overnight in Springdale or within the park. It's a lot to take in. Read how to visit Zion National Park.

Las Vegas is closer, but it's only a couple of hours farther back to Salt Lake City, so you have a couple of options for round-trip air travel.

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