Where was Top Gun: Maverick filmed? Guide to ALL the Filming Locations

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The sequel to the 1986 classic that featured breathtaking fighter jet sequences and launched the career of Tom Cruise has landed more than three decades after Maverick felt the need for speed.

Like its predecessor, Top Gun: Maverick was filmed primarily in San Diego, California, but also in Nevada and Washington State.

Where was Top Gun: Maverick filmed

Set 36 years after the events of the first installment, in this new film Pete "Maverick" Mitchell returns to the Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program to lead a new generation of pilots on a near-suicide mission.

Welcome to our spoiler-free guide to all the filming locations of Top Gun: Maverick.

You can also find our wonderful article revealing all the locations where Top Gun was filmed following this link.

Top Gun: Maverick Locations

Tom Cruise P-51 Mustang
The opening and final scenes in the Mojave Desert hangar with the silver P-51 Mustang, which also appears in the video with Lady Gaga, were filmed at the Inyokern Airport in California.

This World War II veteran is actually Cruise's own airplane who is also a licensed pilot in the real world.
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps by clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
  Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

Where was Top Gun 2 filmed
The sequence with the experimental (and fictional) Darkstar plane, was filmed at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the Mojave Desert.

Director Joseph Kosinski said that in the scene with Ed Harris pictured, the plane destroyed the set, ripping the roof off the guard shack.
Image courtesy of Paramount - Map

Cecil's Cafe
The Cecil's Cafe scene following the supersonic jet crash was filmed at the Halfway House cafe located on the outskirts of Santa Clarita.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Map

The Top Gun Station

The Hard Deck
The Top Gun base, nicknamed "Fightertown USA", was filmed at several locations, including the North Island Naval Air Station on San Diego Bay.

The plane on display outside the main gate is actually an A-4E Skyhawk, not the F-14 Tomcat that the filmmakers CGI'd into the scene.
Image courtesy of Skydance Media - Map

Top Gun Station
The Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada and the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington, were also featured in the new film.

In the 1986 movie, most of the Top Gun school was filmed at the Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego, now the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar), at the time known as "Fightertown USA".
Image courtesy of Paramount - Maps: Fallon / Whidbey Island

The Top Gun beach and the Hard Deck bar

Top Gun beach
As the local press reported, the Hard Deck bar owned by Penelope "Penny" Benjamin (played by Jennifer Connelly) was located on Breaker’s Beach in Coronado.

In 2018, the film crew built an impressive set in less than a month on this beach, located at the Coronado air station premises.
Image courtesy of Paramount - Map

Sailing scene
Looking at the background scenery, it seems that the sailing scene was filmed in San Francisco Bay.
Image courtesy of Skydance Media - Map

Penny's house
Penny's house is a gorgeous oceanfront home located at 4000 Bluff Place in San Pedro near Cabrillo Beach.

This is a private residence - if you are visiting, please be considerate of the owners’ property.
Image courtesy of Paramount - Map

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
As the San Diego Union-Tribune revealed, the funeral scene was filmed at the Army's Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma.

This beautiful burial ground, with perfectly lined-up gravestones overlooking San Diego Harbor and the Pacific Ocean, is the resting place for service members since the Battle of San Pasqual during the Mexican-American War in 1846.

At least 112,000 Army, Navy Seals, Sailors, Marines, and Air Force are buried at Fort Rosecrans.
Image courtesy of Skydance Media - Map

Star Wars Canyon flight
Amateur photographer Christopher Lohff captured a picture of a U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet pilot wearing Maverick's helmet flying over the Rainbow Canyon, also known as Star Wars Canyon, in the Death Valley National Park.

Popular among military pilots for training missions, the canyon earned its nickname due to its resemblance to scenes from the Star Wars films, offering stunning views of low-flying fighter jets maneuvering through its colorful rock formations.

The photo also reveals an array of four devices resembling the new Sony VENICE CineAlta video cameras positioned on the coaming of the rear cockpit.
Image courtesy of Paramount - Map

Nevada Test and Training Range
The F-18 low-level flyover scene and the target range were filmed at the US Naval Reservation and training area in Nevada.

This military zone is situated about 37 miles southeast of NAS Fallon.
Image courtesy of Paramount - Map

USS Theodore Roosevelt
The aircraft carrier scenes were filmed on board the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The actors went through a three-month rigorous aviation training course to prepare for riding in an F-18, as the producers tried to use as much real aircraft footage as possible instead of green screens and CGI.

Bixby Creek Bridge
When the Dagger squadron arrives at the entrance of the canyon, leading to the uranium enrichment plant, they fly over the Big Creek Bridge on the Big Sur coast of California.
Image courtesy of Skydance Media - Map

Top Gun drehorte
According to a Twitter user, the spectacular low-level flight formation scene was filmed at Rimrock Lake west of Yakima in Washington State.

Some other sources believe that the scene was filmed at Kachess Lake, located about 50 miles north of Rimrock Lake.

Some of the snowed mountains of the unnamed rogue nation were recorded at Washington's Cascade Mountains.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures - Maps: Rimrock / Kachess

Canyon Bridge scene
The Northgate Aviation Chico Jet Center in Chico, CA, served as a base for a team of moviemakers and stunt pilots to shoot footage over Butte County, including Lake Oroville, Feather River Canyon, and the High Lakes region.

They used grey L-39 fighter jets with computer points painted in different places to digitally transform the aircraft into the F-18 we see in the film.
Image courtesy of Skydance Media - Maps: Northgate / Feather River Canyon

Washoe Meadows State Park
The scene in the woods was filmed at the Washoe Meadows State Park located in South Lake Tahoe (California).
Image courtesy of Skydance Media - Map

Lake Tahoe Airport
The SFGate informed that the destroyed airbase was filmed at Lake Tahoe Airport, near the forest.

Location manager Mike Fantasia found this spot, with a mountaintop overlooking the airport, after scouting more than 200 aerodromes.

During production, the airport was undergoing renovations, so the crew could make it look like a war zone.
Image courtesy of Skydance Media - Map

Can you help to improve this article about the filming locations of Top Gun: Maverick? To complete and correct this report, any feedback, info, or images that you may have are more than welcome, thank you!

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1- Anonymous - Jun 4, 2022, 9:05 AM
I want to know where they filmed Penny Benjamin's house.

   2- Anonymous - Jun 5, 2022, 8:31 PM
   I'm going to guess, based on my having lived in the area for two years, that her house is somewhere in or near Point Loma.

3- Hangman - Jun 5, 2022, 9:36 AM
Very well done. Thank you.

4- Anonymous - Jun 5, 2022, 12:37 PM
The final scene with the WW2 plane was filmed over the central Washington Cascade Mountains. Tampico, West of Yakima.

5- Hammer - Jun 8, 2022, 6:01 AM
The house looked like Corona del Mar.

Thank you for the information about such a well-made movie!

6- Payback - Jun 8, 2022, 7:29 PM
Excellent information. I used to work in Hollywood and have "scouted" locations... Thank you!

7- Anonymous - Jun 9, 2022, 10:42 AM
I believe Penny's house is located in San Pedro, CA, on 40th and Bluff. I just went by there, but I don't see where I can attach a picture to this comment.

   8- Ra Moon - Jun 9, 2022, 11:48 AM
   Thank you, it's the right location!

9- Anonymous - Jun 10, 2022, 9:43 AM
Can someone pinpoint the "target valley" used in the mission?

10- Cyclone - Jun 12, 2022, 2:41 AM
This wasn't filmed in Los Angeles - this was filmed in San Pedro, CA. The Port of Los Angeles resides in our city. If you know Pedro, you know what I mean.

11- Anonymous - Jun 12, 2022, 11:35 AM
Breaker's Beach used to be the location of the original CPO Mess at NASNI. My uncle was an E-8 in the Navy in the '70s and we used to go to that very spot and swim.

There was nobody around and we would have the entire place to ourselves on any given Sunday. Seeing the Bar and the Volley Ball game where the old building used to be was humbling. If only we had known...

12- Bob - Jun 15, 2022, 5:10 PM
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is the burial place for all services, not just the Army.

13- Anonymous - Jun 15, 2022, 11:26 PM
Any idea where the offshore sailing scene was filmed? Not San Diego for sure, sea conditions and coastal background are not a match.

   14- Anonymous - Jul 20, 2022, 12:33 AM
   I read that the sailing scene was supposed to be shot in San Pedro, but there was no wind, so they filmed it in the SF Bay instead.

15- Anonymous - Jun 16, 2022, 8:37 PM
Chico, Ca, around Butte County, 2019.

16- Marya Hayes - Jun 18, 2022, 9:32 PM
The Rosecrans Cemetery from Top Gun Maverick is the final resting place for service members slain in almost every military conflict since the Battle of San Pasqual in 1846.

17- Anonymous - Jun 21, 2022, 11:04 PM
Don’t forget Chico CA, Feather River Canyon, Oroville Lake, and Butte County!

18- Anonymous - Jul 4, 2022, 2:54 PM
Where was the external scene of Cecil’s cafe filmed? Since there are mountains in the background it can’t be the actual Cecil's cafe in Marshalltown, Iowa.

19- Anonymous - Jul 16, 2022, 5:20 PM
Immediately following Maverick’s mishap in the experimental scramjet he is shown walking towards a diner with a mountain in the distance. Does anyone know where this was shot?

20- Anonymous - Jul 18, 2022, 3:48 PM
Was any of the flying filmed at Mach Loop in Snowdonia?

21- Anonymous - Jul 23, 2022, 2:49 AM
It was pretty funny sitting in the theater watching this movie... In the Mojave Desert, which is full of aviators and test pilots, and listening to the giggles of all the locals. It was pretty true to reality, though...

Lots of Navy guys (aviators) are out there in the desert, and many of them use the smaller private hangars in nearby Inyokern (the one in the movie) as well as in Mojave and Rosamond and Lancaster.

22- Roger - Aug 16, 2022, 2:20 PM
I believe at least parts of the diner scene following the supersonic jet crash were filmed at the Halfway House Cafe in Santa Clarita.

23- Mark - Kent, UK - Aug 16, 2022, 4:56 PM
I am desperate to find out who can supply the table cloth in the 'Hard Deck Bar' scenes... I noticed a Fighter Weapon School insignia and what appears to be a diagram of an F-14, but I can't make out the other details to be able to have one printed somewhere... Can anyone help with my inquiry?

24- Anonymous - Aug 23, 2022, 9:46 PM
This is the first fantastic American patriotic movie I’ve seen in a long, long time!!! Thank you for the most entertaining evening!!!

25- Anonymous - Aug 26, 2022, 1:45 PM
The sailing scene was indeed filmed in the San Francisco bay... I recognized the background scenery immediately when I saw it the first time. I spent most of my life living there, I know that scenery well.

26- Anonymous - Sep 16, 2022, 8:31 PM
Although the exterior scene of Maverick walking toward "Cecil's Cafe" does appear to use the facade of the Halfway House, as mentioned above, the surrounding scenery is edited/photoshopped in from somewhere else, probably to infer that he is up in the Northwest somewhere. There are certainly no big pines trees or log trucks anywhere near Santa Clarita or Acton.

27- Anonymous - Sep 20, 2022, 6:19 PM
Having lived in San Diego when hubby was stationed on Submariners at Pt Loma, I recognized so much of the area having driven many of the streets, bases, etc in the area. Really a great movie and still is!

28- 5 min and a hunch - Nov 11, 2022, 5:48 PM
The bridge scene when entering enemy territory is the Big Creek Bridge (a cousin to Bixby, also in Big Sur).

29- Anonymous - Dec 14, 2022, 11:36 AM
Perhaps Top Gun helped USAF recruitment, as well, but I've always heard that it was a great recruitment tool for the US Navy, which was why they helped make this movie. The USAF has fighters, too, of course, but they had nothing to do with this movie, which is all about the US Navy and its independent air force.

30- Anonymous - Dec 25, 2022, 7:52 PM
Great work, thank you for filling in the blanks!

31- Anonymous - Jan 14, 2023, 3:35 PM
The P-51 flying scenes at the end of the film started at the Inyokern Airport just as the very beginning did. They then shot the flying scenes just west of the airport above Mt. Owens and further north a bit, which is the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

If you’ve seen a car commercial with car on a road with mountains in the background in the last 30 years, it was filmed on a runway at the Inyokern Airport with Mt. Owens in the background, or the later specially constructed private runway used just for car commercials.

32- Anonymous - Apr 2, 2023, 1:52 PM
As an ex-military MP, I’m obsessed with the SR-71 and now the SR-72 Darkstar. But some of the info was wrong, when the Darkstar hit Mack 10 and Hondo stated he was the fastest man on earth.

Major Brain Shul would contradict you on that cause he is the fastest man on earth at Mack 10-13 off the record. From Beal AFB, CA to New York in 1 3/4 hours you do the math. Cruse’s P-51 Mustang is one from the Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Air Group or the 99th.

The Tuskegee Airmen’s planes are the only ones that have Red Noses and Tails. No other Airgroup or their planes have a Red Nise and Tail. Cruse’s plane is unique. If you were ever to show up at Minden, Airport and I found out about it, I would definitely like a ride in it with Tom at the controls.

33- Jeff - Apr 2, 2023, 1:52 PM
This tweaked my curiosity, so I watched Maverick’s Test Run scene and looked at the target range on Google maps to see if anything looked familiar. It looks like the low-speed pass over the salt flat and the high G climb into and out of the simulated crater occurred at that target range near Fallon. The exact GPS coordinates where Maverick hit the bullseye appear to be 39°14'13.8"N 118°15'43.3"W.

Thus, “The F-18 low-level flyover scene seems to have been filmed at the Utah Test and Training Range salt flats located in Utah's West Desert” seems to be incorrect!

Check out the satellite image at those coordinates and carefully look at the images of the target in the movie scene and let me know if you agree!

   34- Ra Moon - Apr 3, 2023, 3:42 PM
   Thank you Jeff, you are right, updated!

35- Jeff - Jun 6, 2023, 9:33 PM
I think this is the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur.

36- Bill F - Jun 9, 2023, 12:25 PM
Recruiting tool for the AirForce? Top Gun is Navy all the way!

37- Andrea H - Jul 9, 2023, 2:19 PM
Breakers Beach is not in San Diego. It’s in Coronado, as is NASNI (Naval Air Station North Island). Coronado is its own town, just across the bay from San Diego. I was actually living there when Top Gun: Maverick was filmed.

38- Anonymous - Aug 19, 2023, 2:42 PM
The target run to the final bomb site is filmed over Lake Kachess (not Rimrock), up the Mineral Creek drainage, and the climb into the inverted dive is up an avalanche chute between Lemah Mountain and Chimney Rock.

I’ve watched F-18s and previously A-6 Intruders do this same run out of Whidbey NAS for over 25 years from my place at Cooper Lake just east of that location. It was plain as day in the movie to me.

Just two weeks ago, I watched an F-18 go inverted in the same exact same spot. Now the guys get to show off a bit. :)

39- Anonymous - Jan 2, 2024, 1:19 PM
Just a fun fact. Penny Benjamin's house was previously used in TV-series JAG. In season 2, episode 3, "Jinx," the house is portrayed as the house of guest character Annie.

Although the two were filmed 25-ish years apart, there are no doubts. The hedge has changed, but the house and even the number on the door (no. 391) are the exact same.

40- Anonymous - Feb 28, 2024, 6:36 PM
In the 70's, I worked in Death Valley and watched practice dogfights in Rose Canyon. It may have been F-18s chasing something that looked like a MIG. On another day, the planes were supersonic and rattled all the buildings in the canyon.

On another day, we were working at the intersection of Hwy 180 and Rose Canyon Road, and a pilot flew up the road, turned around, and flew past us at 100 feet. He then turned east on 180 and headed towards Stovepipe Wells.

I heard somewhere that pilots would head into Death Valley and have their altimeters go negative. All this was kinda against the rules in a National Park, but it was cooler than sh*t.

41- Anonymous - Mar 21, 2024, 3:09 PM
During the training runs, they pass over Groves Lake in Toiyabe canyon, coordinates 39.241433706000514, -117.16521562087846


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