ByKen McDonnell, writer at Creators.co
Now Loading's sentimental Irishman. I can't stop playing Overwatch, please send help.
Ken McDonnell

The post-apocalyptic world that we see in Horizon: Zero Dawn is a world that is so advanced in its degeneration most of the people that are alive during Aloy's story have no idea how their environment came to be. In this version of Earth, set hundreds and hundreds of years after the apocalypse, you might struggle to place things as well—unless you're familiar with the Southwestern area of the United States, that is.

Here Is Every Real World Location You Can Find In 'Horizon Zero Dawn'

If you know your way around the Colorado and Utah area, Aloy's homeland probably feels pretty familiar to you, which makes sense! Speckled throughout the Sacred Lands, Meridian and beyond are some very real landmarks and formations.

Here are these areas today placed side-by-side with their post-apocalyptic future selves from the game:

1. Colorado Springs

[Credit: milespartnership.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: milespartnership.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

A large part of the map is based on the city of Colorado Springs in the eastern part of Colorado. It's also one of 12 vantage points that you can find in the game.

2. Pikes Peak Range Riders Memorial (Colorado Springs, CO)

[Credit: statues.vanderkrogt.net/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: statues.vanderkrogt.net/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

The Pikes Peak Range Riders Memorial is a memorial dedicated to a group of riders that would gather and ride their horses around Pikes Peak in order to promote the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. From 1949, the funds made from the rodeo would serve to support various facets of the community.

3. Sports Authority Field (Denver, CO)

[Credit: bizjournals.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: bizjournals.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Opened in 2001, the Sports Authority Field at Mile High is home to the Denver Broncos and can be found as the Denver Stadium Vantage Point in the game.

4. Red Rocks Amphitheater (Jefferson County, CO)

[Credit: historythings.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: historythings.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

The Red Rocks Amphitheater has been a world-famous venue in Colorado since 1941. The Sterlin-Malkeet Amphitheater Vantage Point is the place for you if you want to see this beauty in-game.

5. Monument Valley (Arizona-Utah Border)

[Credit: southwestdesertlover/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: southwestdesertlover/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Monument Valley is a cluster of sandstone buttes located in the Colorado Plateau. It's a location favored by Hollywood and its image is probably the first thing that jumps to mind when you think about the American West. The Monument Valley Vantage Point can be found in the game.

6. Bridal Veil Falls (Telluride, CO)

[Credit: hikingwalking.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: hikingwalking.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Bridal Veil Falls is a hikeable two-pronged waterfall located in Telluride. There is a hydroelectric power plant at the top that can be seen in the game at the Bridal Veil Falls Vantage Point.

7. Bryce Canyon (Kane County, Utah)

[Credit: tripadvisor.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: tripadvisor.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

This National Park is located in southwestern Utah and can be found at the Bryce Orbital Vantage Point in the game.

8. Eagle Canyon (Central Utah)

[Credit: Mark Andrews/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: Mark Andrews/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Eagle Canyon is a remote space located in the San Rafael Swell. The name comes from a pun about how the canyon is so deep that an eagle couldn't fly out of it. You can take a look at the game's version at the Eagle Canyon Vantage Point.

9. King’s Peak (Ashley National Forest, Utah)

[Credit: utahoutside.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: utahoutside.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

King's Peak is the highest peak in the state of Utah—it's highest point is 13,534ft which makes it the highest in Utah. You can check it out in-game at the King's Peak Vantage Point.

10. Hallett Peak (Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, CO)

[Credit: summitpost.org/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: summitpost.org/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

This mountain summit is located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, its highest point is 12,720ft and the summit can be reached by even the freshest of climbers. It looks so damn good in-game!

11. Lake Powell (Arizona-Utah Border)

[Credit: utahwatersports.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: utahwatersports.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Lake Powell is a reservoir located on the Colorado River visited by over two million people every year. You can visit a much less crowded version in Horizon Zero Dawn at the Lake Powell Vantage Point.

12. The Maroon Bells (Pitkin County, CO)

[Credit: ultimatetaxi.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: ultimatetaxi.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

The Maroon Bells are two peaks among the Elk Mountains. Because of their composition of mostly loose and rotten metamorphic sedimentary mudstone, there are signs on the trail that refer to these peaks as "The Deadly Bells." Yikes!

13. United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel (Colorado Springs, CO)

[Credit: cdphe.state.co.us/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: cdphe.state.co.us/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Built in 1962, the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is the crowning jewel of the Cadet Area at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. See this wonder at the Air Combat Academy Vantage Point.

14. Cheyenne Mountain Complex (Colorado Springs, CO)

[Credit: conworld.wikia.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: conworld.wikia.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

When you first put on your focus, some coordinates will pop up and they refer to this mountain complex. Could it be that Aloy was "born" in Cheyenne Mountain?

This complex also houses a military installation and nuclear bunker. Some think that the Nora tribe from the game are actually named after NORAD, the North American Defense Command which also found its place in the complex in the past.

15. 16th Street Daniels & Fisher Tower (Denver, CO)

[Credit: flickriver.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: flickriver.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

It's hard to imagine that this cave painting in the game wasn't referring to this distinctive tower located in Denver. Built in 1910 as a department store segment, it now houses both office and residential spaces.

16. Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum (Colorado Springs, CO)

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum makes an appearance—surprisingly, it's still got pieces of its clocktower intact all of those years into the future. The clocktower on top was originally part of the El Paso Courthouse until 1973. Peep the museum and its famous hat at the Explorer Museum Vantage Point.

17. Among The Front Range Formations (Rocky Mountains, CO)

[Credit: cliffshade.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: cliffshade.com/Sony Interactive Entertainment]

While out and about on your hunts, you absolutely must stop to take in the wonderful sights inspired by the Front Range region of the Rocky Mountains. It all comes together so nicely!

It seems like the best thing to do when you finish this exclusive is to take a road trip visiting all of these Horizon Zero Dawn landmarks and shooting down robots to harvest them for parts. Right?

Do you think that the game did a good job of recreating the Midwest?

Article by: Ashley Washington


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