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How to Adventure Like Indiana Jones

The Indiana Jones theme song is enough to invoke images of everyone’s favorite adventuring archeologist. With his trusty whip, Indy fights off the bad guys, saves history and narrowly escapes death. It’s one of the greatest film franchises of all time.

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Despite his complete disregard for Leave No Trace policies, Dr. Jones has inspired countless people to get outside and find their own adventure.

Back with the fifth and final film in the series, Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny, fans have a new journey to lost cities and foreign places. Some of those places you can explore for yourself.

Here’s a look at some of the most iconic hiking trails related to each movie.

Raiders of the Lost Ark – The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The franchise’s first movie starts with one of the most famous scenes in film history. Deep in Peru, Indiana Jones nabs a golden statue from a booby-trapped temple. He dodges arrows and runs from a giant, tumbling boulder to escape. It sets the stage for the whole franchise.

While you won’t have to worry about poison blow darts, you can see Peru’s history on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu hike.

The famous route is 26 miles long and takes about four-days with elevation reaching above 13,800 feet. On the final day, you get to the remains of the city of Machu Picchu.  

There is a permitting system to hike the trail that the Peruvian Government controls. Hikers must also have a licensed guide. The route is highly protected due to its popularity and historical significance. 

With the exception of elevation sickness, most hikers complete the trek thanks to the short distances walked each day and the help of guides. Just a warning, even with permits, hundreds of other people will be on the trail with you. 

The Temple of Doom – The Pin Bhaba Pass Trek in the Indian Himalayas

The next installment brought Indiana Jones to Asia, but the film had a handful of issues trying to film in places like China and India. This movie also has a long list of controversies regarding depictions of people and places in the area. That said, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of beautiful hikes along the Indian Himalayas. 

In northern India sits the state of Himachal Pradesh and the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek. The hike is about 30 miles and leaves from a lush green valley that heads up and over the Himalayas. Hikers get to see the varied landscape as they climb, with plenty of cultural points, including set-up pray flags and cliffside monasteries for Tibetan Buddhists who call the area home. 

Many guide services can help facilitate transportation and help foreign visitors complete the journey. 

Guides in the area claim the Pin Bhaba Pass is one of the safest ways to enjoy the Himalayan Mountains. Still, hikers should have experience with high elevation as the hike goes from about 8,000 feet up to more than 13,000 over a few days.

The Last Crusade – The Jordan Trail to Petra

Sean Connery joins Harrison Ford as Indy’s father in what was originally the final movie. The Last Crusade focuses on the Holy Grail, the cup that brings immortality to whoever drinks it. The filming location includes the ancient city of Petra, and you can hike to what remains of the area on The Jordan Trail.

The trail is an effort to bring more outdoor tourists to the country of Jordan. The trail stretches about 400 miles and takes about 40 days to complete. Think of it like the Appalachian Trail but with more stops in cities and villages along the way. 

The trail runs from the northern part of the country and ends at the Red Sea, but the section that goes from the city of Dana to the remains of Petra is the journey’s highlight. Petra existed around 300 BC. The parts remaining today include sections carved into cliffs. 

The trail comes with plenty of challenges, like sourcing water. Also, while it’s not required, organizers with the trail do suggest hiring a licensed guide for the trip.

The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

After a 19 year hiatus, Dr. Jones returns in an infamous opening scene that almost annihilates him in a nuclear testing explosion. He survives thanks to hiding in a heavy-duty refrigerator sending him and the fridge flying through the area of the American Southwest. 

This opening scene takes place in “Hangar 51,” aka Area 51. Obviously, this is a restricted government area, and you probably don’t want to be caught backpacking. However, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is a short drive down the road.

DNWR is the largest wildlife refuge in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Part of it contains the Nevada Test and Training Range, which the military uses for practice runs. Rather than choose a specific trail, there are plenty of unique hikes for great views of the desert and surrounding mountains provided by park rangers. 

Admission to the area is free. Be sure to pack plenty of water and watch weather conditions as the deserts bring extreme heat and the potential for flash flooding.

The Dial of Destiny – West Highland Way, Scottish Highlands

The latest installment in Indiana Jones brings the Space Race front and center. While we don’t know precisely where the key areas of the film take place, we do know a lot of filming was in Scotland. Locations include Glasgow and the surrounding countryside, so let’s head north to the Scottish Highlands.

There are endless routes, scenic areas, and quaint villages. The most well-known trail may be the West Highland Way, a long-distance thru-hike that covers almost 100 miles. Running from the towns of Milngavie to Fort William, hikers will go through mountain terrain and see numerous Scottish Lochs and other scenic areas as they enjoy all the country has to offer.

Similar to the U.S. Appaclhain Trail, you do not need a permit to do the 96-mile hike. However, certain camping areas will require one. Also, for those who prefer to avoid sleeping on the ground, there are plenty of places to stay along the route.

Indiana Jones: The Dial of Destiny is in theaters now.

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