National Forest Foundation

National Forests in the Movies

The National Forest System


You may have seen National Forests all over country without even knowing it. For the last seventy years, National Forests have served as prime filming locations for some of Hollywood’s biggest films. As we head into the holiday weekend and the shortest days of the year, it’s a great time to grab some popcorn, curl up on the couch, and catch a glimpse of these famous forests:

  • Pisgah National Forest of Western North Carolina can be seen in The Last of the Mohicans as well as the upcoming adaption of Suzanne Collins bestselling novel The Hunger Games
  • In Northwestern Montana, the Kootenai National Forest served as the backdrop for the 1989 film Always by Steven Spielburg starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman and Audrey Hepburn. The river running thriller The River Wild with Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon was also filmed on the Kootenai National Forest.
  • Homeward Bound, Disney’s family film about the journey of three beloved pets, was filmed throughout four National Forests in Oregon: Deschutes National Forest, Mount Hood National Forest, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and Willamette National Forest.
  • Fifty years after its original release, the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe was filmed on the Santa Fe National Forest in Northern New Mexico.
  • From 1972, the movie Deliverance was filmed in Southern Appalachia in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
  • How the West was Won, a 1962 classic featuring an all-star cast of Gregory Peck, John Wayne, James Stewart and Debbie Reynolds was filmed across the West, including the Inyo National Forest in California and the Uncompahgre National Forest in Colorado.
  • Starring the comedic trio of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short,Three Amigos featured the Coronado National Forest of southern Arizona.

Coronado NF, New Mexico

  • The Academy Award winning film Dances With Wolves, which Kevin Costner both directed and starred in, was filmed at the Black Hills National Forest in southwestern South Dakota.
  • Robert Redford’s A River Runs through It was filmed on the Gallatin National Forest in southern Montana. On some rafting trips on the Gallatin River, guides point out particular points of interest from the film.

Do you know of any other films that feature a National Forest? We’d love to hear about them on our Facebook page.

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