Star Wars: A New Hope

Star Wars: A New Hope was released into theaters on May 25th, 1977. Filming locations include Death Valley National Park, England, Guatemala and Tunisia. Filming ran from March 22nd, 1976 to July 16th, 1976. The film was written and directed by George Lucas. The filming locations for Tatooine were split between Death Valley National Park and Tunisia. It was the first movie to make over $300 million dollars. The films score was done by John Williams, quite possibly the greatest film score conductor of all time. He would also go on to score every Star Wars film since. The film won six Academy Awards, which include Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1989. The films first DVD release was on January 1st, 2004.

Sand dunes - Hwy. 190 Stovepipe Wells, Ca. 92328
(Death Valley National Park, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes)

The parking area for the sand dunes is two miles east of Stovepipe Wells, Ca. To reach the larger dunes seen in the film, you'll need to walk about half-way out into the dunes.


R2-D2 starts out in the canyon - Artists Drive, Ca.
(Death Valley National Park, Artists Palette)

When you get to Artists Palette, there are two small canyons. One to the right and one to the left, R2 travels down the one to the left.

All "Now" pictures taken in 2019.

The Jawas stalk R2-D2 - Badwater Road, Ca.
(Death Valley National Park, Golden Canyon)

Since most of the scenes of R2 traveling through the canyon take place here, there are a lot of spots to be on the lookout for in order to match them up. The one I matched up was near the canyon entrance.


Sandcrawler - Artists Drive, Ca.
(Death Valley National Park)

The best way to get the proper vantage point is to park next to the road immediately before the right hand turnoff to the Artists Palette parking area. Then walk up the hill on the left side of the road, and when you get to the top look southeast.


Tusken Raider on Bantha - Desolation Canyon Road, Ca.
(Death Valley National Park, Desolation Canyon)

From the parking area walk east, but stay north of the hill. You'll eventually come to a wash. Follow the wash southeast until you reach the mouth of Desolation Canyon. The Bantha was actually an Asian elephant dressed in a costume of fur and fake horns.

All "Now" pictures taken in 2019.

Mos Eisley overlook - Furnace Creek Road, Ca.
(Death Valley National Park, Dante's View)

From the parking area, look northwest. The town of Mos Eisley was a matte painting by Harrison Ellenshaw. What you're really looking at is Badwater Basin, which is the lowest elevation in the United States at 282 feet below sea level.



  1. Thank you for the detailed explanations! Need to make this trip!

    1. It's definitely worth the trip! Just be sure not to visit in May-September unless you're looking for intense, unrelenting heat. I recommend March/April or October/November.

  2. This is such a great guide! We are heading out on Thursday! Thank you so much!! MTFBWY!!! :)