Shows and movies bring us into different worlds and times. That’s one of the reasons why we love them. They take us away from the norm. So, when we get a chance to actually set foot in the real places that host the shows and movies we love, it’s like stepping through reality into make-believe.
If you’ve ever seen HBO’s Westworld, setting foot where it was filmed might make you feel as though you’ve entered another dimension, no matter how real you know the setting is.
We’ll give you the scoop on a few on-location sites of Westworld.
What Is the HBO Show Westworld?
Westworld is the brainchild of the revolutionary minds of husband and wife duo Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Nolan, JJ Abrams, and Bryan Burk produced it. It’s a science fiction series that aired on HBO from 2016 through 2022 for four seasons. It took inspiration from Michael Crichton’s 1973 movie of the same name.
Westworld portrays a dystopia where the Wild West melds with science fiction. It explores the premise of artificial intelligence (AI) beings gaining self-awareness through developing consciousness and self-thought.
Guests escape from their everyday lives by attending a highly advanced amusement park depicted as a scene from the Wild West. Only meant for adults, it’s a place where fantasies can come true without consequences.
The “hosts” (androids) welcome the “newcomers” (human guests). However, the hosts don’t function as originally planned, so begin a war of worlds. Dolores Abernathy, a starring character in the show, summarizes the dilemma throughout the entire series during a scene in season two with these words, “Here we are, a kind that will never know death, and yet we’re fighting to live.”
Who Stars in Westworld?
Bringing two worlds together in a collision is not an easy feat. Yet the stars of HBO’s Westworld portrayed their characters brilliantly. The main stars in this series include some big names like Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden.
You can’t dismiss Ed Harris as the Man in Black nor Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford.
Can You Visit HBO’s Westworld in Real Life?
While it may be the stars that made Westworld what it was, Westworld’s locations played a significant role throughout the series. After all, when filming Wild West storylines, the natural scenarios need to be as epic, if not more so, than the stars themselves.
And that’s precisely what the writers and directors had in mind when creating Westworld. The scenes had to be as real as the possibility of AI hosts themselves. In today’s technologically advanced world, AI is not a mere figment of some writer’s imagination. It’s a reality.
What you witness while watching Westworld might be a stretch of what AI currently is today, but the locations are no stretch to any imagination. They are real, and you can visit them.
Pro Tip: Use our guide on How To Stream HBO Max When You’re Camping to never miss an episode of Westworld.
Where Was Westworld Filmed?
But you can’t visit them if you don’t know where filming took place. Filming has long since wrapped up, with the final season ending in the summer of 2022. However, the wonders of those scenes that brought to life moral dilemmas will forever be in our minds.
Those wonders include the sets of Dead Horse Point and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Parks. There was also Canyonlands National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, to name a few. The stunning scenery captured alongside the theatrical magic of filming combined to create a mystical, science fiction, western TV series.
And while HBO filmed many scenes of the first and second seasons on set at a movie ranch and studios, the cast and crew did a brilliant job of making everything, AI included, seem very real.
As the show expanded, so did the scenic locations. These included scenes in natural settings in Utah and Arizona and across the globe. Some scenes were as far away as Mexico, Spain, and even Singapore.
Here are the different places you can explore the “real” Westworld.
Pro Tip: You’ll love exploring these 22 Unique State Parks.
Dead Horse Point State Park
HBO filmed portions of the pilot episode of Westworld, appropriately named “The Original,” at Dead Horse Point State Park. Ever visited the striking views that make up this natural wonder? If so, you’d recognize the horseshoe shape of the Colorado River far below from the standoff that took place overlooking the canyon.
The show filmed other landscapes at Dead Horse Point State Park, added in post-production. Remember the Mesa Gold Bar? That was actually the Skirball Cultural Center of Los Angeles merged with the overlook of Dead Horse Point.
You may not experience the bar as seen in the series, but you can definitely experience the views at this state park. Dead Horse Point State Park is full of natural wonders, including many high points with expansive views of the Colorado River, deep canyons, and high deserts. Here, you can hike, bike, camp, climb, boat, and explore the multitude of historical points throughout the park.
Canyonlands National Park
Castle Valley and Fisher Valley in Canyonlands gave the film crew plenty of beauty to work with. As for the stars, they had miles to roam throughout the first season of filming. With natural rock towers and unique geologic formations throughout this national park, it’s no wonder that many of the overhead shots in the first season were from this gorgeous location.
And you won’t want to miss paying a visit here, either. If the stars had miles to roam, think of what you could explore without the hindrance of camera crews following you around.
Canyonlands National Park offers scenic drives, backcountry treks, horseback riding, camping, and hiking trails. And everywhere you explore, you’ll experience the wonders of towering sandstone spires, cliffs, and views like no other place on the planet.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a sight of extraordinary beauty with its reflective waters and surrounding multi-colored rock vistas. It’s no wonder the crew wanted to film here. With many scenes at the end of the first season continuing into the second season happening on the water, filming at Lake Powell offered the mysterious setting desired for this mysterious getaway.
In reality, Lake Powell is right around 200 miles long, with 2,000 miles of shoreline and 100 side canyons to explore. There’s no shortage of wonder to be had at Lake Powell and throughout all of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Along with houseboats and fishing boats, and swimming holes, you’ll also find hiking trails, campgrounds, waterways for kayaking, and a plethora of outdoors meant for recreational use. This might truly be the Wild West.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Those familiar with Westworld’s otherworldly scenes might remember a season two scenario when Akecheta finds Logan under a tree. This episode and many scenes filmed in correlation to Ghost Nation – the location where a stereotypical Native American tribe resides – take place in Utah’s Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
When you visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes, you’ll find mountains of shifting pink sand. This surreal landscape in the high desert region of Utah has plenty to explore. You can camp, hike, bike, and play on the sand with off-road vehicles. It’s like your very own sandbox.
Are the Westworld Filming Locations Worth Visiting?
Westworld fan or not, paying a visit to the many locations is well worth your time. You might not be able to make it to Singapore or Spain, but Utah might just be within your reach. And with Utah’s spectacular natural wonders of towering spires of multi-colored rocks and crevassed canyon walls, you might think you’re not in this world.
That’s the entire point of the show. It was taking you away from reality and placing you in a futuristic time reminiscent of days gone by. Welcome to Westworld, where there’s no leaving this park.
Are you a Westworld fan? Tell us in the comments!
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