For fans of the Netflix thriller Birdbox, the story of a blindfolded woman and two children fleeing an invisible enemy is unnerving in part because the trio is missing out on so much gorgeous California scenery along the way.
The film stars Sandra Bullock and was shot in a few locations around California that have been attracting eager fans ever since. The gorgeous Arts-and-Crafts house, for instance, where Bullock’s character hides with other survivors, is a private home in the L.A. County town of Monrovia, and has been the frequent site for light-hearted, would-be-victim selfies. (Another Monrovia landmark didn’t make the movie, but is also worth a selfie: Samson the Hot Tub Bear.)
If you’re as uneasy as we are about hanging outside a private home, head for one of the film’s outdoor settings instead (and be mindful of Netflix’s tweeted request that fans not hurt themselves). The forest scenes near the end of the movie were filmed at Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park, which also served as the home turf of the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. The last scene in Birdbox was filmed at Scripps College in Claremont.
The centerpiece location, though, is the Smith River in California’s Del Norte County, which Bullock’s character paddles in pursuit of safety. You can do the same along this stretch of river, not far from the towns of Crescent City and Hiouchi, with no threat of meeting up with a suicide-inducing specter. Rent your own kayak from Smith River Kayaks and paddle out, or ask the outfitter to help you with a guided tour.
Another option is to take one of the kayaking or rafting tours from Redwood Rides Adventure Outfitters, which helped out on Birdbox. “We brought the film crew to every spot in the movie, having worked with their locations people since August 2017,” says Adam Spencer, co-owner of the Crescent City outfitter. “We also put together an all-star group of river guides to help their stunt team get the rapids shots they were after.”
He recommends that fans take one of his company’s Redwoods by River tours, which are half- or full-day trips that cover the same area where the majority of the river scenes were shot. “Those trips offer incredible views from the river of old growth redwoods,” he says, as well as class I and II rapids. While there is plenty to see, Spencer adds that the tours are also “Birdbox-challenge-friendly from late fall to early summer, while the river is high enough for rafts, for anyone who wants to bring their own blindfold.” That way, “you have the guide row you along.”