Stand by Me is a classic American coming-of-age film set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, OR. The iconic 1986 film by director Rob Reiner features young actors starring as four friends growing up in the 1950s. River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, and Corey Feldman, as the four young boys, embark on a memorable journey together. The name Stand by Me is from the Ben E. King song by the same name. Stand by Me is an incredibly influential film and widely considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time. The film’s setting features beautiful forests and an iconic railroad. So, where was Stand by Me filmed?
Stand by Me is an adaptation of the 1982 Stephen King novella “The Body”, and takes place in Castle Rock, OR. The fictional town of Castle Rock is a setting in many of Stephen King’s novellas. Since Stand by Me is set in a fictional town, the producers had to decide where to film the movie. In the novella, the four boys walk along train tracks as they journey out of their hometown and into the woods. Therefore, the story’s setting required a small town and a railroad. Stand by Me was filmed in Brownsville, OR, and on the McCloud River Railroad in Shasta County, CA.
Stand by Me in Brownsville, OR
Brownsville has a population of 1,694, according to the 2020 census. Brownsville is in Linn County, which has a population of 128,610. Linn County’s main industries are wood products, agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. Stand by Me shot in the summer of 1985, and the film features around 100 local residents as extras.
Best Time to Visit Brownsville, Town Where Stand by Me was Filmed
Want to visit the Stand by Me town? Here are some important considerations for planning a visit to Brownsville, OR.
Brownsville is in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The Willamette Valley is 150 miles long and lies between the Cascade Range to the east and the Oregon Coast Range to the west. So, what is the climate like in Brownsville? According to the Köppen climate classification system, the Willamette Valley has a Mediterranean climate. Another common term for a Mediterranean climate is a dry summer climate. Mediterranean climates have hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. However, the Willamette Valley is cooler and moister than other Mediterranean places, with a longer rainy season that is typical of the Pacific Northwest. What follows is a guide for considering the climate when planning a visit to Brownsville.
The most important weather factors to consider for visiting Brownsville are heat, clouds, and rain. If you prefer warm weather, then the best time to visit Brownsville is July and August, the warmest months of the year. The average highs in Brownsville in July and August are 86°F and 87°F, respectively. September brings slightly cooler weather with highs at 80°F, and the average October high is 67°F. The cloudy season is from October through May, with each month seeing cloudy days over half the time. If you want to avoid gray skies, July through September are the sunniest months. Lastly, The Pacific Northwest is famously rainy, so for visitors looking to stay dry, June through September are the best months.
Stand by Me Day
There is one special day of the year for fans who want to visit the small town of Brownsville. Residents and visitors celebrate Stand by Me Day on July 23rd every year. The Linn County Historical Museum and the town of Brownsville organize this event. In 2022, the Stand by Me Day celebration featured a guided walking tour, a geocaching challenge, 1950s children’s games, and 1950’s cars.
Wildlife Near Brownsville
Brownsville is near the Willamette National Forest, a 1,678,031-acre forest in the Cascade Mountain Range. Certainly, this gigantic forest is full of diverse wildlife species. Here are some notable wildlife species that live near the town:
Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina)
The northern spotted owl is a medium-sized owl native to the Pacific Northwest. It is one of the three subspecies of the spotted owl. These owls live and nest in old-growth forests. Sadly, the logging industry has destroyed many of these habitats. To illustrate, less than 10 percent of Oregon’s heritage forests remain today. Due to habitat destruction, the northern spotted owl is a threatened species. There are currently only 1,200 pairs of northern spotted owls in Oregon.
Roosevelt Elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti)
The Roosevelt elk is the largest of the four subspecies of elk in North America. The zoologist C. Hart Merriam named this elk after his friend, Theodore Roosevelt. The Roosevelt elk helps to maintain the health of forests by clearing understory vegetation, allowing other plant and animal species to thrive.
Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
The Chinook salmon is named for the Chinook people, who are indigenous to the lower and middle parts of the Columbia River in what is now Oregon and Washington. The Chinook salmon is a staple food for Chinook people, who celebrate the first salmon returning to the river from the ocean every year.
Stand by Me on Lake Britton in California
One of the most memorable scenes from Stand by Me is the one in which the boys run from a train. The train is furiously honking behind them as they run over the train bridge above a body of water. This scene from Stand by Me features the McCloud River Railroad in California. The lake underneath the bridge is Lake Britton, in Shasta County. While PG&E owns the lake, it is accessible from McArthur–Burney Falls Memorial State Park. McArthur–Burney Falls Memorial State Park is the second oldest state park in the California state park system.
Best Time to Visit Shasta County
Shasta County, like most of inland California, is very hot and dry. For those who love the heat, the best time to visit Shasta County is June through September. The hottest months, July and August, each have an average high of 96°F. However, the climate is comfortable year-round, with average highs never under the mid-50s and average lows never under the mid-30s. The rainy season is from October through May, with December seeing the most rainfall at 6.9 inches.
Wildlife in Shasta County
Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
The red-tailed hawk is a predatory bird that often circles overhead as it searches for prey. In California, these hawks mainly feed on rodents and reptiles. Red-tailed hawks prefer to live in areas with tall trees so that they can easily spot prey.
Cougar (Puma concolor)
The cougar is an ambush predator native to North America. The common name for cougars in California is mountain lions. Although these cats are widespread, humans almost never encounter them in the wild. This is due to the fact that cougars are reclusive and try to avoid humans. However, it is important to know about cougar safety when visiting their habitat.
North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
The North American river otter lives on the waterways and coasts of North America. Notably, river otters are playful animals. To illustrate, some of the river otter’s favorite ways to play are sliding on mud or snow, chasing, and wrestling. Play behaviors strengthen social bonds, develop hunting skills, and are just plain fun!
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