Experience

Westworld: Utah

Here at Black Tomato, we were hooked on the sci-fi thriller Westworld and, if you’ve ever seen the show, we think you’ll agree that all that stunning scenery is enough to send your wanderlust into overdrive. Luckily, our trusty travel experts have put together the ultimate 11-day trip to set jet you off to some of the show’s most famous locations. From Moab to Monument Valley, we’ll have you driving, hiking and horseback-riding through the striking scenery of Southern Utah, before a touch of glitz and glamour in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. But this is more than just a stunning American road trip (naturally). We’ll also be treating you to the most exclusive experiences that will leave you feeling center-stage – quite literally too as you visit Melody Ranch Studio, better known as Sweetwater.

Your escape into the small screen begins a mile high in the city of Denver. Fly into the highest state capital in the US where you’ll pick up an SUV for the rest of this scenic adventure. But don’t worry – just because you’re starting a mile high, it definitely doesn’t mean it’s all downhill from here. From Denver, it’s a leisurely five-hour cruise through Colorado’s National Forests to Moab in Utah. Moab is where it all begins for Westworld – literally, the pilot episode was filmed here. So it’s only natural that this is where your Western escapade kickstarts, we’ll even have you cruising down the same stretch of Route 128 as the Westworld guests arrive on the train.

The Original

From your base at Sorrel River Ranch, you’ll have Moab at your fingertips. Whether you fancy a spot of canyon rafting, a hummer safari, a game of bocce ball on the lawn, or simply a laze by the pool – you are the Guests and the storyline is yours to customize. So be as lazy or as energetic as you like, you’re in Westworld after all.

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In the morning, you’ll take to the skies in a fixed-wing Cessna for a bird’s eye-view of Moab. As you soar over the wondrous landscapes of Canyonlands National Park, your private pilot will tell you all about the otherworldly sights of the Maze and Needles districts below. Then, in the afternoon, you’ll saddle up with your very own Hosts – cowboy-trained quarter horses and professional wranglers. You’ll venture deep into the Wild West, along the Castle Valley trails made famous by the original star of the Western screen, John Wayne.

Tomorrow, it’s onto the Navajo Mountains of Monument Valley. An area steeped in tribal traditions where rugged landscapes are infused with ancestral spirits, get lost in splendour as you set off on a private tour of this stunning backcountry, accompanied by a real Navajo Indian. Boasting 1000ft high sandstone rock formations, a minefield of mesas and buttes and natural amphitheaters, all with a coating of rich Navajo culture, it’s easy to see why location scouts are drawn to this area. The magic really kicks in though as the clouds roll and the sun glints and the whole landscape shifts in hue to reveal an awe-inspiring beauty.

Sleep like a star on set

From a cavernous valley to the famous Grand Staircase, in the morning you’ll head off to Escalante where you’ll enjoy some quirky accommodations. TV Star lifestyle doesn’t always mean glitzy hotel rooms and often an actor’s trailer becomes their home from home – but Shooting Star RV Resort is no trailer park that’s for sure. Get a taste for a life on the road in one of the star-studded airstreams with all-out décor that will transport you to sets of the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Some Like It Hot and Viva Las Vegas.

Emerge from your top-notch trailer refreshed and ready for a hike through the dreamy landscapes of the Grand Staircase, where you’ll visit ancient Rock Art sites and magnificent mushroom-like hoodoos. The highlight though? It’s got to be the deserted town of Paria. Now a well-known movie backdrop, you half expect a ball of tumbleweed to slowly blow across the ghostly streets – that or to be challenged to a duel.

Panoramas-aplenty

The Wild West gets luxurious out at Canyon Point the next day, as a three-hour drive through Southern Utah’s National Parks brings you to the stunning Amangiri hotel. Lying at the heart of the Grand Circle and within easy reach of some of the country’s most magnificent protected areas, Amangiri redefines natural beauty. From the private patios of your room to the four via ferrata, get up close and personal with Canyon Point’s majestic rock formations. Ladder rungs, fixed cables and expert guides ensure your safety whilst the surrounding valley ensures dramatic perspectives. It’s an unbeatable way to see the area…that is if you can bear to tear yourself away from the hotel’s gorgeous freeform pool…

From one amazing perspective to another, it’s an early start the next morning as you board a hot air balloon and head up into the air to watch dawn break across Lake Powell, Navajo Mountain, the Vermillion Cliffs and the Grand Staircase. There may not be any hot air balloons in Westworld, but we’re telling you – this is an experience just too good to miss.

Your final show-stopping National Park is Zion, where you’ll spend a day hiking, canyoneering and rappelling through slot canyons to your heart’s content. Back at Zion Mountain Ranch that evening, it’s just you, the National Park – and a roaming buffalo herd.

Tomorrow, you’ll swap the original American dream for the land of excess as you drive across the state border into Nevada and down one of the most famous streets in the world – the Las Vegas strip. We haven’t brought you here for the casinos though, but for an off-road driving adventure through the red-hilled Valley of Fire.

Lights, Camera, Action

Whilst by now we’re sure you’ll agree that Southern Utah is the ultimate Western filming location, sometimes you just need a handy soundstage or backlot, and that can only mean one thing – Hollywood. So to cap off your Westworld adventure with a sprinkle of glitz and glamour, you’ll head off to LA and into the iconic Beverly Hills. Whilst the exclusive spa, rooftop pool and luxurious rooms of Montage Beverly Hills Hotel may leave you feeling miles away from dusty Sweetwater – you’ll be back on set soon, quite literally, as you get behind-the-scenes at Paramount Ranch and Melody Ranch Picture Studios.

As you stroll through Melody Ranch, you may think you recognise the saloon, the general store, the jail…and that’s because you do. Melody Ranch Studio has been the backdrop to many blockbuster Westerns over the years, but it currently plays the part of Sweetwater. As you carry on by horseback to Paramount Ranch, where the final climax of the first season was filmed, you can’t help but feel that you’re starring in the show itself.

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