Discover Parks & Wildlife contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of the Amazon links (or other affiliate links), we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See our disclosure policy for more information.

9 Places That Could Be Straight Out Of The Post-Apocalyptic World Of Fallout

Ever fancy a stroll through the wilderness that makes you question whether you’re still on Planet Earth or accidentally wandered onto a Fallout set? Well, gather ’round, fellow wanderers and wasteland enthusiasts!

Inspired by binge-watching the new Fallout show on Amazon, we’ve scoped out locales that’ll have you doing double-takes. Places that look like Bethesda’s designers sketched them during a coffee break where you half expect to find a Vault Dweller chilling with a Nuka-Cola after going top side.

So, if you have an insatiable appetite for the extraordinary and a taste for post-apocalyptic chic without the actual apocalypse, then you’re in the right place to plan your next adventure. Let’s get started!

1. Tsingy De Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar

a wooden bridge hangs between two sharp looking rock faces in tsingy bemaraha national park in madagascar
© Depositphotos

Madagascar’s Tsingy De Bemaraha is not your average walk in the park, unless your park is made entirely of limestone spikes sharp enough to give a T-Rex second thoughts about stepping foot there.

This “limestone forest,” part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, looks like Mother Nature decided to take up sculpture art and got a bit carried away with the spiky bits.

Fun fact: the word “Tsingy” translates to where one cannot walk barefoot, which, frankly, is the understatement of the century. As if the spikes weren’t enough to attract attention, this area is also a hotspot for biodiversity, boasting species that aren’t found anywhere else on Earth.

2. Craters Of The Moon National Monument, Idaho

cinder cones at crater moon national monument stand tall next to a small pathway
© Depositphotos

Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument is basically what you get when the Earth decides to show off its acne scars. This expansive landscape, replete with lava flows, cinder cones, and cavernous craters, looks more like a Starfleet away mission location than a place you’d find just a road trip away.

It’s aptly named, considering NASA astronauts trained here in the 1960s to prep for moon landings, highlighting its otherworldly vibe. Dominated by a vast ocean of basalt lava, the park sprawls over 53,571 acres, serving as a stark reminder that our planet is still a work in progress.

And while trekking these lava fields, you can’t help but appreciate the beauty in desolation, proving yet again that nature might just be the original goth.

3. The Pinnacles, Western Australia

a red dessert with tall rocks with golden light from sunset at the pinnacles in nambung national park
© Depositphotos

In the “so weird it’s fantastic” category, the Pinnacles of Western Australia firmly stake their claim. Imagine, if you will, thousands of limestone pillars, rising like nature’s own game of Whack-A-Mole gone spectacularly haywire, scattered across the desert area of Nambung National Park.

These otherworldly formations range from mere inches to towering structures more than 10 feet high, creating a scene that screams “alien landing site,” minus the actual aliens (as far as we know). They were formed over millions of years from seashells scattered on this land since it was at one time under the sea.

Did you know the desert becomes a wildflower wonderland in spring? Who knew such a stark landscape could host such a colorful party?

4. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area, New Mexico

rock formations fill the frame in sporadic locations under a blue sky in the bisti badlands, de-na-zin wilderness area
© Depositphotos

If Mars had a vacation home on Earth, it’d probably be in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area of New Mexico. This place is like nature’s exhibit of abstract art, with rock formations so bizarre that you’d think they were crafted by a giant toddler with supernatural powers.

Here, the terrain is a chaotic mix of hoodoos (those funky spire-shaped rocks), petrified wood, and dinosaur bones; yes, you read that right – dinosaur bones. It’s a paleontologist’s dream and a hiker’s paradise, assuming the hiker loves wandering through scenes straight out of a sci-fi movie.

Covering over 41,170 acres, this area is a testament to the wild, untamable spirit of nature, proving that even in the middle of the desert, there’s more to see than just sand.

5. Atacama Desert, Chile

a stone hand raises from the sand in the midst of atacama desert in chile as a symbol
© Depositphotos

The Atacama Desert in Chile takes “dry” to a whole new level, making the Sahara seem like a tropical resort. It’s so lacking in rainfall that some areas haven’t seen a drop in centuries, earning it the title of the driest non-polar desert in the world.

In our opinion, this place is less a “desert oasis” and more a “Mars simulator,” which is why scientists likely love using it as a stand-in for the Red Planet. They actually test space rovers here because if you can survive the Atacama, Mars is just a hop, skip, and a light year away.

And its unearthly beauty isn’t just for show; the desert blooms with a riot of flowers after the rare rains, a phenomenon as contradictory as finding an ice cube in a sauna. Visiting the Atacama is like stepping onto another planet, where the rules of Earthly landscapes take a backseat to a world of extreme aridity and breathtaking views.

6. Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

hoodoos (aka goblins) fill the frame under a beautiful sunset sky in goblin valley state park
© Depositphotos

Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park is the closest you’ll get to attending a rock monster convention without actually leaving Earth (did you picture the “Rock Biter” in Neverending Story like we did when we said a rock monster?).

Think of Goblin Valley as the equivalent of a toddler left alone with clay—resulting in thousands of bizarrely shaped rock formations eerily resembling goblins, and oddly enough, no two are alike. These natural sculptures, formed by the erosion of sandstone, provide a surreal backdrop that could outdo even the best CGI movie sets.

Notably, the park served as a filming location for the sci-fi classic Galaxy Quest (which John happens to love), cementing its reputation as an alien land on Earth. Besides fueling the imagination of Hollywood, it’s also perfect for hikers, offering a unique blend of whimsical scenery and outdoor adventure.

Who needs aliens when you’ve got goblins, right?

7. Wadi Rum, Jordan

a sone structure fills the frame in the foreground with desert sand and tall stone mountains in the background of wadi rum
© Depositphotos

If Mars and Earth had a baby, it would probably look like Wadi Rum. This desert valley cuts through the sandstone and granite rock, creating a lunar landscape that makes you question which planet you’re on.

And like Goblin Valley, it is also no stranger to fame, having starred in more movies than you can count on both hands, including the epic backdrop for Lawrence of Arabia and The Martian. But it’s not just a pretty face; it is also steeped in history, with petroglyphs dating back to the 4th century BC.

Here, the adventures range from rock climbing to hot air ballooning, offering a front-row seat to one of Earth’s most remarkable shows.

8. Shiprock Peak, New Mexico

a tall rock, known as shiprock, stands along among a desert type landscape under a sunset sky of pinks and purples in new mexico
© Depositphotos

New Mexico isn’t just about chile peppers and Breaking Bad tours; it’s also home to Shiprock Peak, a dramatic rock formation that rises a startling 1,583 feet above the high-desert plain of the Navajo Nation.

Shiprock Peak, known to the Navajo as “Tse Bit’ai” or “the rock with wings,” has a mythology that’s as magnetic as its appearance. Legend has it that this monolith is all that remains of a giant bird that transported the Navajo ancestors to their lands.

Geologically speaking, Shiprock is actually a volcanic plug, a throat of a volcano that solidified and has been exposed after millions of years of erosion.

Please take note: while you can’t climb it (out of respect for its cultural significance), the surrounding landscape offers trails that provide stunning views. And as you can see from the photo, it’s a photographer’s dream at sunrise and sunset, casting shadows that stretch for miles.

9. Socotra Island, Yemen

several dragons blood trees stand tall in an otherwise barren looking landscape in yemen
© Depositphotos

Socotra Island is Earth’s answer to the question nobody asked: “What if Dr. Seuss was in charge of designing an island?”

The island is a treasure trove of biodiversity, where nearly a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. Think trees that look like flying saucers on trunks, known as Dragon’s Blood Trees, and cucumbers that decided to grow on vines, coined the Cucumber Tree.

And there’s also the fact that the island is often described as the most alien-looking place on Earth (you be the judge, as you’ve seen the rest of our list). Socotra is a testament to isolation’s power to create a tapestry of life unseen anywhere else.

  • Discover More: Arches National Park might have missed our quirky cut, but don’t be fooled; with its jaw-dropping views, it was a hair’s breadth away from muscling into this eclectic lineup. Instead, take a look at our quick guide to exploring the park.

Please Share If You Enjoyed!

Similar Posts