[Bar scene was filmed at the Stanley Hotel.] Why do movie directors continue to return to Colorado to film? Quite simply the incredible scenery and breathtaking vistas. There is such diversity to the landscape, from the deserts of Durango, to the Rocky Mountains.
Movies filmed in Colorado
There have been hundreds of mainstream movies, from Stargate to Day of the Dead filmed in Colorado. Check out this eclectic mix of movie locations that you can visit on a road trip, that really make the most of what the state has to offer.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Starting off with this ’69 classic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was shot in Durango, Silverton, and Telluride, where the real-life Cassidy robbed his first bank. Remember the intense train explosion scene? That was shot on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad line.
Not to mention, the cringe-inducing leap where Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s characters jumped the Animas River in Durango, located 15 miles north.
Colorado makes the perfect backdrop for this iconic western. Filmed in 1969, the movie starred John Wayne, Glen Campbell, and Kim Darby. The movie was primarily filmed in Ouray, Montrose, and Ridgewood. The famous “sleeping rock” scene was right at the summit of Owl Creek Pass – you can still go up there and relive the scene.
If you’re in the Telluride area, it is worth taking a trip to the beautiful and grand Ouray County Courthouse, which features heavily in True Grit. It is located at 541 Fourth Street in Ouray. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was also filmed in Telluride.
It’s difficult to talk about movie locations in Colorado, without thinking of The Stanley Hotel located in Estes Park. It was the inspiration for the intensely creepy Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s, The Shining. Although the movie wasn’t filmed there, the 1997 miniseries was, and also scenes from the comedy Dumb and Dumber. The view of the Rockies in the moonlight from the hotel is incredible.
It is also rumored to be America’s most haunted hotel. You can stay there if you want to experience “the active energy,” but you will have to book well in advance if you want to book room 213. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime place to visit, and worth charging your credit card for a night, as rooms are between $400-$500 per night. I’d look out for those twin girls in the corridors though, and watch out for the elevators.
While you’re on your movie road trip, take a drive through Pikes Peak and Monarch Pass in the Rockies. You won’t be surprised to learn that the producers fell in love with the incredible backdrop when looking for locations, and decided to film the movie’s most epic car scenes on the hair-raising roads. This was the last time Paul Walker appeared in one of the Fast and Furious franchise.
The Hateful Eight
Whenever a Tarantino film releases, it’s always an event. As the 8th feature film of this cult favorite, the story follows the lives of several bounty hunters who are trying to survive a blizzard during the post-Civil War era. You can drive down Telluride’s main strip and visit the authentic western-style bars, hotels, and restaurants that line Colorado Avenue.
The snow-draped peaks and ridges of the San Juan Mountains line the horizon – making the town’s high-altitude ski resort a sight thought to only be found on film. If you got the penny for it, much of the film was show on location at Dunton Hot Springs, which is a luxurious hot springs ranch secluded in Southwest Colorado.
Dumb & Dumber
What list of iconic films would be complete without Dumb & Dumber? Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniel’s 90’s comedy is one of America’s most loved comedies, utilizing comedic tragedy and other turns of events. The film tells the story of two friends who travel across the country to Colorado to return a briefcase full of money.
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie was the infamous scooter scene in the Rocky Mountains. You can also visit other locations where Dumb & Dumber was filmed, including Aspen, the Stanley Hotel, downtown Breckenridge, Estes Park, and Copper Mountain.
There are so many movie different locations that you can visit in Colorado on a road trip. You can have great fun recreating scenes, and feel like you’re on a film set. And while you’re burning rubber, add a couple of these songs about Colorado to your playlist.