Star Wars fans have the image of a Tatooine sunset, from Star Wars: A New Hope, burned into their brains. But where did it come from?

A long time ago (1977) , in a universe not that far, far away (two hours from Las Vegas and four from Los Angeles), a director introduced us to a film that became a cultural phenomenon. While much of the galaxy was filmed in studios, some of the original Star Wars movie was filmed on Earth. And it’s still there, in Death Valley National Park.

Mesquite Flat Dunes / National Park Service

Mesquite Flat Dunes / National Park Service

When the 1977 movie Star Wars is seen at Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley,including that Tatooine sunset, it starts inevitable tales of when the movie’s director came to this true American oasis, situated in 3.3 million square miles of desert, to transport people to another galaxy.

Artist's Drive / National Park Service

Artist’s Drive / National Park Service

Past generations of employees have shared stories with newer generations and certainly know where the movie locations are, and where to stand to watch a gorgeous Tatooine sunset. These include the breathtakingly and picturesque locations throughout Death Valley National Park including Dante’s View, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (pictured, top), Desolations Canyon, Artist’s Drive and Golden Canyon – all just a quick 20 to 40 minute drive from the Resort.

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While Death Valley may seem like another universe to vacationers, those in the know have also found an “oasis-like planet” that is the Inn at Furnace Creek and the family-friendly Ranch at Furnace Creek.

Dante's View / National Park Service

Dante’s View / National Park Service

So for those that want to pay homage to the real movie locations and sets, this is the place. And if you want to explore the universe, this is still the place – it’s one of the only gold-tier designated International Dark Sky Parks in the United States where stargazers can actually see the Milky Way with the naked eye.

In celebration of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Furnace Creek Resort is hyper-spacing an exclusive map for guests leading them to the filming locations, like the Tatooine sunset, that are easily accessible via car. The temperature is also ideal in “winter” at Death Valley, with January highs averaging 67 degrees (F); February averaging highs of 73 degrees (F); and March averaging highs of 82 degrees (F).

For information, rates, details and reservations, go to or dial 800-236-7916.

Find out how you can see a Tatooine sunset in real life

Source: National Park Service