127 Hours, 2010
Visit: Canyonlands National Park
Visit: Homestead Resort,
700 North Homestead Drive Midway (tel: 888.327.7220) Contact the Activity Center at 435.657.3840 for availability
127 Hours film location: trapped in the canyon: Bluejohn Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Photograph: wikimedia / Michael Grindstaff
127 Hours is filmed at the real location in Utah where Aron Ralston survived being trapped by the arm for more than five days in 2003. You’ve presumably seen the film, so you know the risks involved in visiting this tough environment.
Danny Boyle astonishingly turns the near plotless story into a cinematically gripping experience.
The rock cleft in which Ralston (James Franco) is pinned by an unmovable boulder is the narrow Bluejohn Canyon, running south from the larger Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, southwest of Moab in southeast Utah.
Bluejohn Canyon is in a very remote part of the park, more than 30 miles from a paved highway and 60 miles from services. If you want to explore it yourself, you’ll need technical canyoneering skills, along with plenty of water, food and the correct gear. To give you an idea of what to expect, you can read an account of visiting the canyon at Utah.com
And remember that there are cycling restrictions in the park.
Apart from the actual location filming, the production makes use of an astonishingly convincing recreation of the canyon floor built in the old Granite Furniture warehouse, 1050 East 2100 South in the Sugar House district of Salt Lake City.
Although following Ralston’s story very closely, one elaboration is the pool-dipping scene. Don’t go looking for this location in the vicinity of the canyon. It’s a good 300 miles to the north.
The Crater is a natural hot spring surrounded by a rock dome of tufa, or travertine, slowly built up by the periodic overflow of mineral-rich water. Originally accessed from the natural opening at the top of the dome, you can now reach the pool via a tunnel. The resort is open year round to scuba divers and swimmers.
Homestead Crater is open for viewing every hour, on the half hour, but you need reservations for all crater activities – which definitely do not include plummeting into the pool from a height. Remember that the point of the scene is to dramatise Aron’s recklessness, and this very dangerous activity was staged for the film by stunt performers.
Oh, and don’t forget to let somebody know where you’re going...