Immerse Yourself In The Hunger Games Films At This East Coast Forest

With the upcoming release of the Hunger Games prequel "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" on November 17, 2023, there's never been a better time to visit some of the filming locations for the original Hunger Games movie. The first fantasy flick was filmed entirely in North Carolina, with Dupont State Park serving as the backdrop for a few of the film's iconic scenes with protagonist Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the other tribute from District 12.

Dupont State Park features 10,000 acres of protected forests and 80 miles of scenic roads and trails that weave throughout, transporting fans to the gorgeous yet haunting wilderness of Panem, the dystopia that Katniss calls home. If it's specific filming locations you're after, there are three to focus on: Triple Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Camp Summit Road near the old airstrip. While you won't find any mockingjays or tracker jackers in these woods, you will find towering pine trees, fishing streams, and a stunning waterfall or two.

Triple Falls

Triple Falls is a popular tourist area for its picturesque view of three cascading waterfalls, totaling a 120-foot drop over the rocks into the river below. It's also the filming location for the scene where Katniss is trying to track down Peeta and searching for clues along the river bank. Eventually, she finds him resting after a serious injury, camouflaged in the terrain by mud and leaves. From this moment on, the pair become an unstoppable team in the arena and beyond.

The specific filming area is located along the river in between the base of Triple Falls and the Station Road Highway bridge. Look for the Hooker Road access area off Staton Road, and then walk across the bridge and take the steps down to the Little River. Do be careful, as the rocks tend to get slippery in this area. For your safety, keep in mind that climbing on the waterfalls is not allowed, says the visitors information center.

Camp Summit Road and Bridal Veil Falls

Another memorable moment is the forest fire, where Katniss outruns the flames and fireballs enclosing her path. This harrowing scene was filmed near an old airstrip on Camp Summit Road. During filming, steel pipe "trees" were filled with gas to fuel real fire. Thankfully, the native forest fared just fine. Today, it looks like any other part of the woods.

The fire scene ends with Katniss running into a pool of water, cooling the fresh burn on her leg after a brush with the flames. This part of the scene was filmed at Bridal Veil Falls, which can be accessed via the viewing area half a mile off Bridal Veil Falls Road. Fun fact: During filming, the water area was low, so water had to be pumped into the pool to create a little movie magic.

From Asheville, Dupont State Forest is a 50-minute drive south on the I-26E. Beyond the mountains and forest, there are more charming filming locations scattered around North Carolina. In Hildebran, for example, fans will recognize the abandoned Henry River Mill Village that became the set for District 12, including the bakery where Peeta throws Katniss a piece of bread in a pre-games flashback. To get the most out of your time in the Hunger Games universe, the North Carolina Travel & Tourism Board suggests a four-day loop around Charlotte and Asheville on a self-guided tour. Feel free to leave the bow and arrow at home, though.