California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 27

8

Movie Locations Tour
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN

Year-round sunshine, ample land, and cheap
labor drew pioneering filmmakers to California
in the early 1900s. But once they arrived, they
found diverse geography that could stand in for
locations across the globe.
Over the last century, Hollywood has used its own backyard to play

ALABAMA HILLS

MUSEUM OF WESTERN
FILM HISTORY

MESQUITE FLAT
SAND DUNES

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

everywhere from Afghanistan to the Himalayas. Occasionally, California even plays itself. Within a few hours' drive from Los Angeles County, you can walk in the footsteps of directors like George Lucas and
Alfred Hitchcock on a road trip totally endemic to the GoldenĀ State.
Set on Mount Hollywood 1,134 feet above sea level, Griffith Observatory and the surrounding green space were created from a
donation by Griffith J. Griffith, who dreamed of giving his adopted
hometown a world-class park and facility where citizens could marvel
at the stars. Since opening in 1935, the iconic domed buildings have
hosted knife fights in Rebel Without a Cause and the first appearance
of a muscle-bound future governor in The Terminator.
Now head to the heart of L.A. and Angel's Flight, the historic
funicular where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling shared a memorable
kiss in La La Land. The 117-year-old railway, which claims to be the
world's shortest, ferries riders 300 feet up Bunker Hill for $1 each
way. Back at the bottom, duck into the massive food hall at Grand

GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY,
LOS ANGELES

PIONEERTOWN

Central Market where Mia and Sebastian spent a date night on the
stools of Sarita's Pupuseria.

ANGELS FLIGHT

Now jump on the 10 and drive two hours east to the outskirts of
PALM SPRINGS
CONVENTION CENTER

Palm Springs and the wind farm in the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass,
where Ethan Hunt dodged spinning turbines while hanging from
a helicopter in Mission: Impossible III. Swing by the Palm Springs

portions of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode VI: Return

Convention Center, where Bradley Cooper plays a gig supposedly set

of the Jedi in Death Valley. Wander the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and

at a pharmaceutical convention in A Star Is Born.

channel C-3PO and R2-D2, lost on the sands of Tatooine.

PHOTOGRAPH: JUSTIN BAILIE

Bid farewell to modernist mecca and venture north to

Cut over to U.S. 395 and the Museum of Western Film History in

Pioneertown, founded in the 1940s by a cadre of stars, including

Lone Pine, where memorabilia from features shot in the nearby wilds

Gene Autry and Roy Rogers as a frontier-town film set and tourist

are on display and film-set maps guide visitors through the Alabama

destination. Though it never caught on as the latter, dozens of

Hills, a rugged landscape of rock formations backed by the snow-

productions were shot among the retro storefronts in the '40s and

capped Sierras. Follow Movie Road to Lone Ranger Canyon, site of

'50s, including TV shows Annie Oakley and The Cisco Kid, and the

the ambush that brought Tonto and Ranger Reid together in The

1953 film Winning of the West. While the aesthetic endures, today

Lone Ranger; stood in for Afghanistan in Iron Man; and the Spanish

the town is a contemporary enclave with boho boutiques and the

countryside Russell Crowe galloped through in Gladiator.

country-cool Pioneertown Motel, a perfect spot to spend the night
before continuing deeper into theĀ desert.
Hit the road early for Death Valley National Park, an expanse of ex-

Continuing north, your final destination is Mammoth Mountain,
the 11,000-foot peak that played the Himalayas in Indiana Jones and
the Temple of Doom. After ditching their plane, Indy and co. made

treme landscapes where temperatures soar and elevations plummet. If

an improbable descent in an inflatable life raft, but you're better off

you think it looks like an alien world, you're not alone. In 1977, George

touring these slopes on skis, a snowboard, or an inner tube. You won't

Lucas turned the park into a planet far, far away when he filmed

run into any snakes-promise.

27



California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

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