Where was The Last of the Mohicans filmed?
Biltmore Estate, Lake James, and Chimney Rock Park, North Carolina
Americana/ Anywhere America
About The Last of the Mohicans
The great story-telling and air of authenticity make The Last of the Mohicans a memorable film. Based on James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel and the same-titled 1936 film, Michael Mann and the star-studded cast did great justice to its 1992 screen adaptation.
We’ll add a spoiler alert right here. Daniel-Day Lewis (Nathaniel “Hawkeye” Poe) shared the screen with Madeleine Stowe (Cora Munro) and Jodhi May (Alice Munro) in the epic historical drama. The story, set at the peak of the French and Indian War, recounts the tale of Hawkeye, a white man raised by the Mohicans, and his adventures with Colonel Edmund Munro’s daughters.
Magua (Wes Studi), a Mohawk tasked with guiding the sisters and Major Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington) to Fort William Henry, leads them into a Huron ambush. Hawkeye, his adopted father, Mohican Chingachgook (Russell Means), and his brother, Uncas (Eric Schweig), heroically save the sisters and Heyward following the ambush.
Hawkeye then volunteers to guide the group to the fort, and along the way, they encounter various pitfalls. In the midst of it, Hawkeye and Cora take a liking to each other, and so do Uncas and Alice. Heyward isn’t too pleased with the development, having asked Cora for her hand in marriage before they embarked on the journey to the fort.
Upon arriving at the fort, they find it under siege after the French forces and their Huron accomplices breached the staging ground. What follows are a series of duels and ambushes culminating in bloodshed and death.
Only Hawkeye, Cora, and Chingachgook are left standing at the end. As the last living person from his tribe, Chingachgook finally declares that he is “the last of the Mohicans.”
The Last of the Mohicans Locations
The dedication to authenticity made The Last of the Mohicans even more fascinating. The cast reportedly went through wilderness survival training and learned how to construct everything from moccasins to canoes. Perhaps it’s why the film was such a hit in 1992, and it holds up well three decades later.
The Last of the Mohicans filming locations provided the backdrop where the movie came to life. The story itself takes place in the Andirock Mountains in colonial New York. In reality, principal photography took place in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
The Biltmore Estate, Lake James, and Chimney Rock Park were the precise locations where the bulk of the film shoots happened. Waterfalls provided an overall cinematic boost, and the High Falls, Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Triple Falls featured in the epic drama.
One of The Last of the Mohicans film sets reportedly set the production budget back by $2 million, and it was the setting of the action scenes. Keep reading to learn more about this location and where the cameras rolled to capture the best scenes in The Last of the Mohicans.
Originally, Hawkeye’s Mohican name was Natty Bumppo in the novels. Realizing that the name would elicit endless laughs from the ‘90s audience, the filmmakers decided to change it to Nathaniel Poe.
Major Duncan Heyward returns to Albany, New York scene in The Last of the Mohicans
Located in Asheville, the Biltmore Estate served as the backdrop for the bulk of the filming. The distinguished brick arch, where Major Heyward and his troops rode upon his arrival in Albany, is located south of Asheville.
Heyward is depicted as someone who believes that societies are structured as hierarchies of class. This point of view comes up during the debrief with General Webb (Mac Andrews) when he exclaims, “I thought British policy is ‘Make the world… England,’ sir.”
Constructed in the late 19th century for George Washington Vanderbilt II, the Chateau-style mansion is a popular tourist attraction. There’s a winery at the estate but the 250-room mansion undoubtedly stands as the centerpiece.
Hawkeye offers to guide Munro’s daughters to the fort scene in The Last of the Mohicans
DuPont State Recreational Forest
After saving the sisters and Heyward, Hawkeye, Uncas, and Chingachgook continue leading the group to the fort. It isn’t an easy decision for them to follow the unknown Mohican men who had just saved them from the Huron ambush.
Hawkeye delivers a persuasive line “If we are going to take you, we need to move…if you all rather wait for the next Huron party to come by, we’ll be on our way.”
They embark on the treacherous journey on foot, traversing a creek. They arrive at a farm and witness the heart-wrenching scene of a massacre. It’s even more heartbreaking when they have to leave the victims unburied so that they don’t alert the Hurons about their presence.
The DuPont State Forest, Staton Road, and Cedar Mountain, located about 40 miles south of Asheville, were the filming locations for those scenes. There’s plenty to do at the State Recreational Forest, and it also serves as a gateway to the Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls.
Located at 1300 Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC, you can access the park from the Hooker Falls, Buck Forest, Fawn Lake, Guion Farm, or Corn Mill Shoals Parking Areas. Stop by the visitor’s center for directions/ maps.
The waterfall leap scene in The Last of the Mohicans
The waterfall scenes were undoubtedly some of the most breathtaking filming locations of The Last of the Mohicans. Hooker Falls was the setting for the epic leaping scene.
The Bridal Veil Falls, located west of Lake Julia, is where the party found temporary shelter in a cave hidden behind a waterfall. In the script, the location is called the Glen Falls Caves. It’s also where Magua found the group, but Chingachgook, Uncas, and Hawkeye managed to escape by leaping off the waterfall.
In the real sense, there’s no cave behind the Bridal Fall. A studio set is where they filmed the cave scenes, and that’s when Hawkeye delivered his famous line, “ You stay alive. I will find you…no matter how far, how long it takes...”
Nestled within the DuPont State Recreational Forest, the Hooker Falls is the fourth cascade of water found on Little River. At Hooker Falls, the river plunges off a 12-foot ledge. The section is a popular swimming spot for locals and tourists alike.
If you happen to schedule your visit in May, the Tour de Falls event organized by the Friends of DuPont non-profit has a shuttle bus that takes visitors on a tour of the Park’s waterfalls.
Colonel Munro surrenders to the French forces scene in The Last of the Mohicans
Lake James State Park
One of the main action scenes in The Last of the Mohicans was when the British forces led by Colonel Munro tried their best to prevent the French military and their Huron accomplices from breaching the staging ground.
When they receive word back from Webb that there’s no rescue coming their way, Munro delivers one of his best lines. “I’ve lived to see two things I never expected. An Englishman afraid to support a friend, and a Frenchman too honest to profit by that advantage.”
Historically, Fort Williams Henry was in upstate New York, at the southern end of Lake George. The filmmakers constructed a set on felled forestry land to serve as Fort Williams Henry. They chose a northerly point adjacent to Lake James within the Lake James State Park.
Highway126, located east of National Forest Road/ Wolf Pit Road, ran between the lake and the set, and it was closed for the entire production period. It cost a reported $1 million to build, which comes to around $2 million, considering the inflation rate over the last three decades.
The State Park is brimming with exciting activities, from fishing to boating and swimming. There are also three campgrounds within the vicinity and trail tours offered around the grounds.
Magua takes the Munro sisters and Heyward as hostages scene in Last of the Mohicans
Chimney Rock State Park
Following the waterfall leaping scene is the one where Magua took the Munro sisters and Heyward as hostages. Magua then takes the three to a Huron settlement.
Before getting to the village, they pass a forest, and Heyward attempts to negotiate his freedom at the expense of the Munro sisters. Even after offering Magua heaps of gold in exchange for his freedom, the Huron wasn’t swayed. Heyward asks him what would be enough and to which he responds, “Heart. Give Magua new heart.”
Located at Highway 74A East, southwest of Lake James, the Chimney Rock State Park was where they constructed The Last Mohicans village set. Long after filming wrapped, the village set continued being a hit tourist destination until it eventually disappeared.
The park is hailed as the best location for hiking in Rutherford County, and you want to make sure that you’ve blocked out an entire day when visiting this The Last of the Mohicans production location.
Even more interesting, there’s an elevator on-site to whisk you up to the park’s Cliff Trail. That’s the spot to recreate the final scene where Cora, Hawkeye, and Chingachgook stared out into the wilderness.
Chingachgook's final duel with Magua scene in The Last of the Mohicans
Hickory Nut Falls
The final scenes of the movie featured lots of bloodshed and death. Magua kills Uncas, and seeing her lover dead, Alice commits suicide by stepping off the edge and falling to the rocks where Uncas’ body rests.
Chingachgook faces off with Magua and kills him in retaliation for Uncas' death. Perhaps the lighthearted moment comes when Hawkeye asks Cora if she’ll be his wife. To which Cora responds with a resounding, “yes.”
From the area where they constructed the village set at the Chimney Rock State Park, the Hickory Nut Falls are visible. That’s where they filmed the epic final duel scene.
The 404-foot fall is the perfect place to go hiking while enjoying a scenic view. No swimming is allowed but you can wade around the cool waters. There are also picnic tables on-site.
Once you get to the Chimney Rock State Park, via Highway 74E, get more information about getting to the Hickory Nut Falls at the entrance gate.
The great thing about The Last of the Mohicans filming locations is that most also served as production locations for several other big-screen flicks. For instance, Lake James is where they recorded the final scene of The Hunt for Red October.
Lake Lure, located alongside Chimney Rock Park, was one of the filming locations for Dirty Dancing. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen had to survive the wilderness but in reality, the DuPont State Forest was the setting for those scenes.
The Nolichucky River, Reems Creek, and the Table Rock Mounts were some of the other noteworthy locations featured in the Mann production.