The hobbit, new zealand, hiking, cinema

These 7 famous movie hikes will take your summer to the next level

Words: Jason Wolf
Photography: Wikimedia

For those rare breeds who are both cinephiles and adventurers, these epic hikes are for you.

Despite principal photography having wrapped years ago, many of cinema’s most famous filming locations in the wild still exist today, preserved for the rambunctious tourist who likes their hikes with a bit of history.

Better yet, if your friends, family or significant other couldn’t be paid to hike with you, the lure of a famous location might just be the incentive future adventurers need. Here are seven epic hikes and vacation destinations that will allow you to explore iconic movie landscapes while putting in the miles.

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The Middle-Earth Tour: The Lord of the Rings
cinema, adventure, hiking, travel

© Flickr/Adam Purves

Die-hard fans of The Lord of the Rings movies know that the franchise was largely shot amidst the astonishing topographies of New Zealand. The Middle-Earth Tour provides guided tours of various pockets of the mesmerizing landscape, as well as still-standing set pieces. Fans will also get inside looks at the artwork, costuming and prop design created for the movies. This tour features an eclectic mix of sight-seeing, hiking and even helicoptering. Find The Lord of the Rings sight-seeing package that’s right for you and enjoy this monstrously immersive vacation.

The Pacific Crest Trail: Wild
pacific crest trail, wilderness, mountains, hiking

© Flickr/Bureau of Land Management 

Wild, a film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s book starring Reese Witherspoon, recounts one woman’s 1,100-mile hike across the Pacific Crest Trail. In total, the PCT is over 2,600 miles long and stretches from Mexico to Canada. Fans and hikers are invited to traipse the very trails that Cheryl did and share a journey of self-discovery that is painted with the lush perspective of California and Oregon.

Field of Dreams
sports, baseball, tour

© Wikimedia

If you’re seeking a nostalgic road trip this summer, you might want to consider trucking to Iowa, where the baseball field and home from the Best Picture-nominated film Field of Dreams still stands. Not only are there guided tours of the house along the edge of the field, but ballgames are played by the “Team of Dreams,” there is a Ghost Comedy Show that runs through the summers and the locale also features several wineries. Better yet, charging through the corn fields aren’t just allowed but encouraged. Make the trip if you’re craving some Americana paired with a dash of vino.

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Homestead Crater: 127 Hours

What do you think? Soak, snorkel or scuba? How would you spend your day in the #crater? #homesteadresortut

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Hike any of the 19 miles of trails of the Dutch Hollow trail system in Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway, Utah, and then soothe your muscles by going for a swim in the gorgeous, natural hot spring at the Homestead Resort in Utah — notably seen in the movie 127 Hours, where James Franco plummets from a high rock crevice into the water below. This subterranean pool comprised of natural mineral water is made available by the resort for therapeutic swims, which includes snorkeling gear for two.  

Mayan Temple Ruins: Star Wars
temple, travel, hiking

© Flickr/TausP.

The rebel base on Yavin IV from the original Star Wars was shot on location at the Mayan temple ruins in Guatemala’s Tikal National Park. Tourists are welcome to venture far, far away into the mountainous forests of Guatemala and explore archaeological sites that capture impressive stone structures and stairways left by the once-flourishing Mayan society. Just try to avoid making Darth Vader or light saber sound effects while trekking through the historic remains.

Malibu Creek State Park: M*A*S*H
movie, mash, hiking trail

© Wikimedia

One of the longest running and most beloved sitcoms in television history wasn’t filmed in Korea, but in the Santa Monica Mountains right here in Los Angeles. Same goes for the movie that preceded. A 50-minute drive from LA will bring you to the park, where there’s a five-mile return hike to the M*A*S*H site where vehicles, tents and that famous sign post remain. Better yet, along the way there’s a water hole perfect for swimming and countless other famous filming locations all detailed at the visitor center mid-hike.

Paramount Movie Ranch: Westworld
west world, paramount, cinema, film

© Flickr/Edward Stojakovic

Most recently remembered as The Sunken City in hit HBO series Westworld, the Paramount Movie ranch and its 2,700 acres have been the location for countless award-winning films and television series since 1927 — from The African Queen to Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman to Van Helsing. The western town is just the gateway to miles of trails across the plains and into the mountains. And it’s just a 50-minute drive from Los Angeles.

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