Turns out Lake Tahoe is on the highway to the danger zone. Top Gun: Maverick was just released in theaters, and it’s been a massive hit with critics and audiences alike. While the location of the third act of the film is supposed to be in a foreign location, skiers may recognize the scenes as being in the Cascades Mountains of Washington and in Lake Tahoe. The Teal Mango broke down the various filming locations of the blockbuster, with many of the locations being in California and Washington. Some of the locations where the film was shot include the Naval Air Station Semore, El Dorado County/National Forest, San Diego, Inyorken Airport, Los Angeles, Sierra District State Parks, and a few other mountainous spots for the final battle.
The air battles in the third act take place in South Lake Tahoe and in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, which is meant to represent the steep and mountainous terrain of a foreign adversary who is never mentioned explicitly in the film. According to SF Gate, various shots during the air scenes were filmed in Lake Tahoe, a parachuting scene was shot at Washoe Meadows Park, and the airport that Maverick tries to escape from is the Lake Tahoe Airport. Location manager Mike Fantasia said the following about the Lake Tahoe airport:
“We needed a mountaintop that overlooked the airport. You don’t have mountains close to most airports, but it just so happened there’s a couple of knobs of rock sticking up, called Twin Peaks, that are just sitting south and west of the airport.”
According to King 5, some of the climax scenes were also filmed in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. The Navy typically runs low-level training routes out of NAS Whidbey Island, which runs alongside the Cascades. Actor Monica Barbaro, who plays “Pheonix” in the film, said the following about the scenes in the Cascades:
“The pilots themselves said they were getting kind of emotional on the flights because the mountains there are so stunning.”
I just saw Top Gun Maverick last Thursday night, and it was a blast. It’s probably one of the most visually stunning films I’ve seen in the past couple of years. I would recommend seeing it on the biggest screen possible, as watching it at home doesn’t do the movie justice.