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Where Was ‘The Great Outdoors’ Filmed?

Have you ever wondered where “The Great Outdoors” was filmed? This classic flick about enjoying the great outdoors is one of the most hilarious movies of all time. Encompassing all the things that can go wrong when spending time outdoors, it turns the fiasco into fun for viewers of all ages. But where did Hollywood decide to film this classic movie? Keep on reading to learn more about one of the greatest movies.

What Is ‘The Great Outdoors’ Movie?

“The Great Outdoors” offers a view into what can really go wrong when attempting to enjoy the outdoors. Starring two well-known comedic icons, John Candy and Dan Aykroyd, this comedy is a must-see. Not once, but again and again.

Filming Location: "The Great Outdoors" w/ Dan Aykroyd and John Candy

Written and produced by John Hughes, “The Great Outdoors” came out in 1988. It follows a family heading into the great outdoors for a family lake vacation in the made-up town of Pechoggin in Wisconsin.

All is great until Ripley’s (Candy) investment broker brother-in-law from Chicago (Aykroyd) shows up to join in on the fun. Capturing all of their misadventures, director Howard Deutch created a film full of predictable mishaps. Meanwhile, it still managed to keep audience members laughing all the way through to the end.

Where Was the Great Outdoors Filmed?

“The Great Outdoors” was filmed in Bass Lake, Calif., a small resort town near the Sierra National Forest.

Perk’s Pine Lodge was actually a rustic resort from the 1940s called Ducey’s Bass Lake Lodge, which is still in existence today. The existing cabins inspired The Loon’s Nest vacation cabin (constructed onsite in Hollywood) you see in the movie.

About Ducey’s Bass Lake Lodge

Ducey’s Bass Lake Lodge is quite the popular spot for many Hollywood movies. Other than “The Great Outdoors,” it also saw films such as “Carnival Boat” from the 1930s and “Leave Her to Heaven” from the 1940s. Hollywood also filmed the 1997 movie “Mouse Hunt” here.

And there’s no wonder this site is so popular. It was once named one of the top 10 places to lodge yourself in a movie by USA Today. But movie producers aren’t the only people who love this place. Tourists come from around the world to experience Ducey’s Bass Lake Lodge, located a mere 17 miles from the gate of Yosemite National Park.

Originally called Freeman’s Bass Lake Lodge, Buddy Freeman constructed and owned it from 1941 to 1947. He then sold it to three others, who then sold it to Maurice and Marie Ducey in 1950. The name changed to Ducey’s Bass Lake Lodge until the Ducey’s retired in the late 1960s. In 1975 it became a part of the Pines Resort. 

Unfortunately, a kitchen fire destroyed most of the resort and its artifacts in 1988. Fortunately, new owners rebuilt and opened it about a mile from the original Ducey’s in 1991. Today, while Ducey’s is not the original lodge, it still boasts a vibe unique to the Sierras and Bass Lake with lodging, dining, and entertainment. So, while you may not be able to recreate the scenes from “The Great Outdoors,” you can still make your own.

Sierra National Forest at sunrise
Head to the Sierra National Forest to see sites from “The Great Outdoors” movie.

Things to See and Do Near Bass Lake

Located in the Sierra National Forest, there are many things to see and do near Bass Lake where “The Great Outdoors” was filmed. You can enjoy mountain biking, hiking excursions, and abundant scenic views in the area.

And, you can’t miss Yosemite National Park. This is one of the country’s most sought-after national parks, and when visiting Bass Lake, it’s right in your backyard.

Visit Yosemite National Park

Less than 20 miles from Bass Lake is Yosemite National Park. And while you will need reservation tickets during peak hours to visit, this stunning place is worth the effort.

With 750 miles of trails to explore, campgrounds and lodging for all types of campers, and stunning vistas everywhere you look, you won’t want to miss Yosemite. Did we mention the waterfalls and the sequoia trees? Plan your visit now.

Pro Tip: Make sure to do at least one of these 7 Easy Hikes in Yosemite That Anyone Can Enjoy on your adventure.

Man looking at lake and mountain view in the fall in Yosemite National Park, California, USA
After exploring Bass Lake, head to Yosemite National Park for an epic adventure.

Go Mountain Biking

There are hundreds of trails to choose from when mountain biking in the same area where “The Great Outdoors” was filmed. You’ll find IMBA Classic rides, loops, downhills and shuttles, epic climbs, and more.

Try your skills in a mountain bike park. Choose one of the Flume Trails, the Lakes Basin Loop, or any trail at the Auburn State Recreation Area.

Hike a Trail

There’s no shortage of hiking trails in the Sierra National Forest. Nelder Grove will take you into a forested wonderland of towering sequoias. Try your hand at a 10-mile trek to Nellie Lake.

Access points to the Pacific Crest Trail are also accessible here. Whether you’re looking for a two-hour hike or a two-day backpacking overnight, you’ll find those and plenty more in the great outdoors of the Sierras.

Pro Tip: Make sure you have these 10 Hiking Essentials You Should Never Hit the Trail Without packed for your adventure!

Woman hiking in Sierra National Forest
Hit the trail while visiting the Sierra National Forest.

Enjoy the Views

The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway offers 100 miles of stunning scenery. Taking around three hours to complete, or more if you stop for picturesque views and hiking opportunities, your drive will grant you views of wonder. You’ll bask in the glory of granite peaks and lush meadows. No matter where you look when driving this iconic scenic route or other routes in the Sierras, you’ll see beauty. 

"The Great Outdoors" Filming Location Pictures! Then & Now!

Is the Great Outdoors a Good Movie?

Aykroyd’s character in “The Great Outdoors” said, “You wouldn’t know a good time if it fell out of the sky and landed on your face and started to wiggle!” Well, if you’re watching it, get ready to wiggle. 

While many may not rave about the movie’s complexities and superb acting skills, it will elicit a laugh from even the most serious of people. To say that it’s a good movie is a bit far-fetched. But to say that it’s a classic comedy, one that should garner your attention when in need of a good, predictable laugh, then this is one of the greatest outdoor movies ever. 

Have you watched The Great Outdoors? Tell us your favorite scene in the comments!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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