Six of the best movie locations to visit in Utah

GRAFTON, NEAR ZION NATIONAL PARK

This year is the 50th anniversary of arguably the best buddy/outlaw movie of all time, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Several landscapes in southern Utah were used in the film; but the classic scene where Butch doubles his lover Etta James on a bicycle was filmed at Grafton, a restored Mormon ghost town just south of Zion National Park. Self-guided tours of the town are possible, with interpretive markers and a donations box to contribute to the upkeep. See graftonheritage.org

DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK 

The final scene of Thelma and Louise, when the titular characters hold hands and drive into the Grand Canyon, was actually filmed at Dead Horse Point State Park in southern Utah. Towering 600 metres above the Colorado River, with far-reaching views of pinnacles, buttes and mesas sculpted by erosion, the overlook provides a breathtaking panorama without the crowds of its body-double. See stateparks.utah.gov/parks/dead-horse

DOUBLE ARCH, ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Much of the prologue to 1989's  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where young Indi reflects on an early adventure that shaped him, was shot in Arches National Park, with the iconic Double Arch appearing briefly in the opening scene. These natural arches, best experienced at sunrise or sunset, are located in the Windows section of the park on an easy 0.8-kilometre round trip trail. See nps.gov/arch

MONUMENT VALLEY TRIBAL PARK

Located in the remote south-eastern corner of Utah bordering Arizona, Monument Valley has appeared in many John Ford westerns (Stagecoach and The Searchers), largely shaping how the outside world views the American west's history. The desolate red terrain is today part of the Navajo Nation, and while its iconic buttes and mesas can be seen from the 27-kilometre Valley Drive, it can be explored more intimately on horseback or an interpretative tour with a Navajo guide. See navajonationparks.org

BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS

Located in north-western Utah, this is the largest salt flat in the region, best known for land speed records at Bonneville Speedway. The World's Fastest Indian, a film about a world record attempt, starring Anthony Hopkins, was filmed here, as was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, with the flats doubling as Davy Jones' Locker. The flats are open to the public year round and free to enter; most visitors come for the annual Speedweek, held in August. See blm.gov/visit/Bonneville-salt-flats

BLUE JOHN CANYON, CANYONLANDS NP

127 Hours, starring James Franco, was filmed in the actual location where Aron Ralston survived being trapped under a boulder for five days in 2003. The stunning slot canyon is located in a remote corner of Canyonlands National Park, 100 kilometres from the nearest highway and only accessible to experienced canyoneers. Take heed of the risks, as shown in the film. See utah.com/blue-john-canyon

Julie Miller travelled as a guest of Visit Utah. See visitutah.com

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