I'm a European and a huge fan of long distance offroad-motorcycle travel, would love to hear some advice on "wild-west" landscape locations (for the lack of a better word).

Something similar to The Magnificent Seven (2016 remake) or WestWorld tv show:

enter image description here

I've visited Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, and both are kinda "desert-ish", while the one on the picture looks more Northern (since there's grass and trees, sometimes even forests).

Where should I go? Utah?

PS. I'm not a huge western-movie fan, just like this kind of nature :)

  • 2
    Remember that there might be CGI in there also (at least for FuturWorld). – Max Dec 7 '16 at 20:25
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    The desert vs grassland appearance of some areas can change depending on recent rainfall. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 8 '16 at 0:31
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    Do you know of Sturgis - sturgismotorcyclerally.com - it is an annual motorcycle rally held in South Dakota. A friend showed me some pictures, and the scenery looked Western to me. – Rocky Raccoon Dec 8 '16 at 16:28
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    Obviously not US, but the first thing I thought of when seeing this picture is Ayers Rock, Australia. – Matthew Read Dec 8 '16 at 20:56
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    All the places mentioned here are stunning, but, if you can't make it to the US, there is Almería in Spain, which was a common location for arguably the most famous Western director of all time, Sergio Leone (see e.g. Tabernas and Cabo de Gata-Níjar): When I saw his films as a kid, I always assumed they were filmed somewhere in California/Nevada/Arizona/NM/Utah/Colorado because the scenes look so similar. – errantlinguist Dec 9 '16 at 9:42

jazzcat's photo shows "The Priest" and "The Rectory" in Castle Valley, Utah, from the north. Castle Valley is just NE of Moab, Utah. It's an area familiar to rock climbers. photo and area info on Mountain Project


Since you mentioned those two particular shows, you can find the exact shooting locations from IMDb

Westworld locations

  • Moab, UT (several different locations)
  • Monument Valley, AZ (which you have been to)
  • etc

Also see thing like There's a Reason You Recognize the Landscape of 'Westworld'

Magnificent Seven (2016) locations

  • San Francisco Peaks, AZ
  • Coconino National Forest, AZ
  • etc

I don't personally know any of these locations, but I have been to UT and AZ and recommend them both. They have a huge variety of landscapes that are all interesting.

  • 1
    Lots of other Westerns were filmed at those locations too. – DJClayworth Dec 7 '16 at 20:01
  • @DJClayworth. That's probably why you recognize the landscape of Westworld... – Mad Physicist Dec 8 '16 at 16:57

New Mexico also has a variety of landscapes, many of which are similar to the described ones.

Lincoln National Forest picLincoln National Forest is humongous and has a great deal of paths, roads, and other ways to traverse it (but do so gently, please!).

Gila River PicThe Gila River valley (in the southwestern quarter of New Mexico primarily) is more lush and wet than most of the rest of the state. See this article for some beautiful pictures (and some interesting water politics!).


I've visited Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, and both are kinda "desert-ish", while the one on the picture looks more Nothern (since there's grass and trees, sometimes even forests).

If you want more northern, there is Smith Rock in Oregon:

enter image description here

but it doesn't have the miles and miles of landscape of the desert southwest. There are really only a couple of views like the above

Another one off, and definitely not western, is Seneca Rocks in WV:

enter image description here

It is more forest than prairie. Like Smith Rock, it is a single formation

There is also City of Rocks in ID:

enter image description here


Some destinations that come to mind:

  • The Badlands (in South Dakota)
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
  • The Grand Canyon (Arizona)
  • The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest (Arizona)
  • Central Arizona (between, say, Phoenix and Flagstaff)

Of course, as you've noticed, the Arizona locations don't tend to have grassland nearby. The Dakotas, however, have lots of both desert and grasslands, sometimes quite close together due to terrain. Driving around the Western areas of the Dakotas and Eastern areas of Wyoming and Montana, you will see lots of enormous ranches with large herds of cattle. Also, you're likely to see at least a few herds of buffalo roaming around in the grasslands, especially in the national or state parks.

One note on the Dakotas: you probably don't want to visit in the winter unless you really like snow and very cold temperatures (think -20 to -40 C.) While the temperatures there may be +40 C in the summer, they can get insanely cold in the winter. Many of the scenic roads there are completely closed during the entire winter season.


Big Bend National Park in Texas. This is the largest National Park in the 48 States...as I recall, it is about 750,000 acres. It is all desert, semi-desert and mountains. Google it.

  • It would be helpful if you could provide a picture or a description of what a tourist is likely to find there. – Robert Columbia Dec 15 '16 at 13:38

Red Rock State Park in Sedona Arizona

I highly recommend Sedona, Arizona and Red Rock State Park just outside of Sedona. I have visited here before and the red colors of the mountains are breath-taking. Have a look at a road through Sedona:

Sedona, Arizona By Ken Lund [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

National Parks of Utah

Another location to consider is the state of Utah and its National Parks. They advertise the "Mighty 5" which are 5 of the most beautiful parks. They are:

  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park

See more information here: https://www.visitutah.com/places-to-go/most-visited-parks/the-mighty-5

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

Another recommendation just came to me: Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. This park is just outside Las Vegas so that is a bonus if gambling is your thing.

Valley of Fire By Don Graham [CC BY-SA 2.0]


Let me recommend a destination in another state - California!

Consider California's Death Valley, part of the Mojave Desert:

enter image description here (image credit: Wikipedia)

Most of Death Valley is part of Death Valley National Park. Death Valley and the area surrounding it is a well-known habitat for the greater roadrunner, the inspiration behind the Road Runner cartoon character from Warner Bros.

This is a great way to see the eastern half of California, which is even dryer than the infamously dry west half!

There is some romantic imagery here. You can imagine yourself part of the one of the wagon train migrations taking gold prospectors out west seeking fame and fortune.

Death Valley is also hot hot hot, so it could be a great alternative if some of the other destinations are too cold for you. It's also dry dry dry, so take lots of water. Please be careful, don't be like these European tourists!

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    [topicstarter here] Thanks! Yes, I already went through Mojave & Death valley back and forth on an adventure bike (LA to Vegas and back) last year and loved it. Thanks anyway. – jazzcat Dec 9 '16 at 17:25

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