In Episode 57 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien continue the conversation on how to best utilize video in your business and how to add more by using easy tips and techniques.  Matt provides a way to visit the National Parks without leaving the warmth of your own home!


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Wandering Zen – Stay In and Get Out!

Wandering But Not Lost Stay In and Get Out!

The weather has been crazy the past month and with President’s weekend upon us it might not be the best time to head on out for a road trip.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t still do some great wandering, especially in the National Parks.  The list of movies set in or filmed at the National Parks is a long one, but we pulled out 15 that we think you will enjoy. So, pop the popcorn, grab a beverage, and get ready to live vicariously as you binge watch a few wandering adventures…


 1.  Star Wars, A New Hope (1977) – Death Valley National Park, California

Although the actual location that George Lucas selected for Luke Skywalker’s home planet was Tunisia, he did many pick-up scenes at Death Valley. For example, the spat between R2D2 and CP30 on Tatooine was shot at Mesquite Flats. Other scenes include R2D2 being kidnapped by Jawas, some of the Tusken Raider scenes, and the Sandcrawler scene. If you want to plan an expedition when the weather gets better head over the Steve Hall’s Death Valley Adventures site and start your itinerary

2.  North by Northwest (1959) – Mt Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota

Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is on the hit list and when killing him by a car accident, on a train, or by crop duster doesn’t work, they decide that pushing him off the Mount Rushmore is the way to go

3.  ET, The Extra-terrestrial (1982) – Redwood National and State Parks, California

The Redwoods will show up again on our list but this time they are the setting for a true friendship between Elliot (Henry Thomas) and an awkward looking alien with a heart-light

4.  The Shining, (1980) – Glacier National Park, Montana

Opening scenes of this creepy Jack Nicolson movie show Jack Torrance driving up the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier. Overhead shots were also filmed around Mary’s Lake and the Going to the Sun Road

5.  National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Remember that scene where the Griswolds stop at the Grand Canyon and Clark, having just stolen from the lodge’s cash register, gazes at it for about two seconds before hustling his family back in the car? Props to director Harold Ramis, who hauled a crew to Arizona just to film that brief scene at the classic El Tovar lodge and an overlook on the canyon’s South Rim

6.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1669) – Zion National Park, Utah

The famous scene where Butch and Sundance leap off a cliff into a river to avoid their pursuers was shot in Colorado, but the movie’s most spectacular backdrops were at Zion National Park. The scene where Paul Newman squires Katharine Ross around on a bicycle was filmed just outside the park in the ghost town of Grafton

7.  Dances with Wolves (1990) – Badlands National Park, South Dakota

8.  Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming.

If you haven’t been to Devil’s Tower, you really get a good sense of the place in this movie. As a matter of fact, you see it in several forms.  Mashed potatoes at the dinner table and in a crazed frenzy out of mud and yard scraps in their family room

8.  Planet of the Apes (1967) – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona/Utah

Much of astronaut George Taylor’s (Charlton Heston) journey takes place around Glen Canyon NRA. Taylor’s journey with Cornelius and Zira through “the forbidden zone” was filmed along the Colorado River in Glen Canyon. The final beach scene with the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand takes place about 3000 miles from the New York Harbor, in Malibu.

10.  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – Arches National Park, Utah 

Arches National Park near Moab was featured in the opening sequence of the third Indiana Jones movie. If you’re familiar with the terrain, you may recognize some land markers as young Indy (River Phoenix) explores the high desert as a Boy Scout. It’s there in Arches that Indiana encounters a group of no-good-nicks with the Cross of Coronado

11.  The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Redwoods National and State Parks, California

The redwoods make the list again and It’s not hard to imagine a herd of triceratops or a pack of velociraptors emerging from under some of the world’s tallest (and oldest) trees.

12.  Thelma & Louise (1991) – Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Most assume that the ladies drove off into the Grand Canyon, however, the famous plateau in Canyonland, once locally referred to as Fossil Point is now popularly dubbed as Thelma and Louise Point – although the actual scene was filmed just a short bit out of the park

13.  The River Wild (1994) – Glacier National Park, Montana

Here you’ll catch Meryl Streep doing some of her own rafting stunts in this 1994 adventure thriller

14.  Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) – Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

15.  Pet Cemetery (1989) – Acadia National Park, Maine

This the second nod to Stephen King on the list and it seems as though our paths cross a lot! If you are looking for terror and a trip to Maine, check out an episode we did on Stephen Kings’ Maine for even more movie (and book) selections for binging!

For the past 100+ years, our National Parks have been one of the ideals that have continued to make America great. The story of the creation of the Park Service is an interesting tale and is filled with foresight, conservation, morals, and opportunism. I dare not attempt a retelling of that drama, nor should anyone, because Ken Burns summed it up purposefully, poetically, and perfectly in his PBS documentary, The National Parks – America’s Best Idea. If you have not seen it, you must. You will have a heightened appreciation for the parks and the people who worked so passionately to secure them for us and future generations.

So, do some wandering this weekend from the comfort of your own home! 

Glacier National Park

Redwood National Park

Zion National Park

Acadia National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Mt Rushmore

Badlands National Park

Devil's Tower

Death Valley National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Arches National Park

Glen Canyon

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Mentioned in the Episode (Resources & Links)



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