Long Dong Silver: A Star Wars-like Landscape
As we rounded the corner, the spire came into view. It was darker in colour than I had imagined and it looked like it could easily be lair of a classic movie villain…
Long Dong Silver (yes, it started being called this by people online and the name seems to have stuck) is located in a desert landscape that, even though we were seeing it with our own eyes, couldn’t quite believe it was real and not a fake set put together for a Star Wars movie.
We saw a lot of beautiful places while we were on our Utah Road Trip and as far as Utah’s Hidden Gems go, this one takes the cake!
The spire is located in a bit of a canyon of sorts. There is relatively flat ground surrounding the spire until you get closer, where a mound of dirt sits, 2 black spires emerging from it and reaching towards the sky. It is a really fascinating force of nature!
The dirt surrounding Long Dong is crusty and soft but the actual spire seems to be made of slightly harder rock, although also crumbly.
This is a fragile place and if you have the chance to see it yourself, be gentle and respectful of this amazing place.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know to find Long Dong Silver. It is not easy to find!
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📍 Where is Long Dong Silver Located?
Long Dong Silver is located near Hanksville in Southern Utah. If you are visiting Capital Reef National Park, why not check out some of Hanksville’s hidden gems at the same time, such as Long Dong Silver and Moonscape Overlook.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
How to Get to Long Dong Silver
Finding Long Dong Silver is pretty hard, especially without the GPS coordinates! It is around a 20 minute drive from Hanksville. This drive will involve some off-roading through the desert and a little walk at the end.
From Hanksville, you will need to take the UT-24 W for 7.2 miles (11.6km), before turning right off the highway onto the off-road section. Use the coordinates below to know where to turn off.
Once you are driving on the dirt, try to follow the tire marks as well as the GPS to the parking spot. It is all very unofficial so you will feel like you are on a real adventure driving through the desert.
Alternatively, you could park your car just off the highway and walk.
Long Dong Silver GPS Coordinates
The above map also has all of these places pinned.
Part of the highway where you will need to turn off at: 38°22’10.1″N 110°50’20.7″W
Where to park: 38.39010791679674, -110.83646131088537
Long Dong Silver’s Location: 38°23’38.6″N 110°49’56.4″W
🚙 Do I need a 4×4 to get to Long Dong Silver
I do recommend a 4×4 for this adventure although you could probably make it in a front wheel drive vehicle. The reason for this is that you will be fully off-roading from the moment you leave the highway and there are no specific tracks to follow.
The mud/dirt that you will be driving on is extremely soft and if it rained even only a tiny bit, you will get bogged pretty quickly.
We were in an SUV with 4×4 capabilities which was fine. We booked a rental from Salt Lake City International Airport so that we could pick it up and get going as soon as we landed.
⚠ Things to Know Before Heading out to Find Long Dong Silver
- Has it rained recently: The ground was drive when we went but we could still feel that it was super soft! I can image that it would not take a lot of rain to get you bogged and stuck out there so make sure you triple check the weather forecast!
- There is no reception out there so make sure you are well prepared with a spare tire, emergency first aid kit and plenty of food and water.
- Bring a hat and sunscreen. It is very exposed.
🕐 When is the Best Time to Visit?
We visited Long Dong Silver at sunset, however it was a pretty cloudy sunset and we didn’t quite make it there before the sun went behind the cliffs next to the spire. We still managed to get some pretty colours in the sky though.
If we had the chance, I would try to visit on more of an overcast day as it brings out the black dirt more and if you are taking photos really sets the mood perfectly. Just make sure you don’t get caught in the rain!
🎥 Are Drones Allowed at Long Dong Silver
Drones are currently allowed at Long Dong Silver. Make sure you check with the other people that are there that they don’t mind if you put your drone up. We got some amazing drone footage doing 360s circles around the spire! If you have a drone, this is the spot for it!
🌲 Leave No Trace
The 7 Leave No Trace principles are important to be aware of to help keep places like Long Dong Silver beautiful. This particular place is also very fragile so we need to take additional precautions to not ruin it. I would not be surprised if Long Dong Silver was made into more of a monitored tourist attraction as more and more people visit it.
Nature is there for us to enjoy but also respect and leave the way we found it but as well as respecting nature, we should also be treating each other with nothing but kindness. To remind yourself of the 7 Leave No Trace principles, check out the LNT website.
Things to Do Nearby
Hanksville and Capital Reef National Park are such great places to visit if you love outdoor adventures!
Visit the Temple of the Sun and Moon
The Temple of the Sun and the Moon in Cathedral Valley is one of the most underrated spots in Utah and so worth the driving out along the bumpy 4×4 road. If you are into your photography, this is a must-see spot!
Cassidy Arch Trail
Distance: 5km / 3.1 miles | Elevation Gain: 203m / 666 ft | Time: 2-3 hours | Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Cassidy Arch is one of the most beautiful trails in Capital Reef National Park in Utah. We found it to be the perfect distance to do on a day where we had something else planned as well and the arch was simply stunning! From Long Dong Silver, the Cassidy Arch trailhead is about a 1 hour drive.
Please note that you will need to pay for a park permit to do this hike. You can purchase a day pass with cash on entry to the park or alternatively if you are visiting a any of the other US national parks over the course of a year, I recommend purchasing an America the Beautiful Annual Pass which is only $80 and well worth it!
Visit Moonscape Overlook and Factory Butte
Moonscape Overlook and Factory Butte are must see sights close to Hanksville. Factory Butte is around 20-30 minutes from Hanksville and is on the way to Moonscape Overlook which is another 10 minutes drive. Factory Butte is a mudstone formation smack bang in the middle of the desert and very impressive to see. Moonscape Overlook is an overlook on the rim of a canyon. The floor of the canyon looks like you would imagine the moon to be, hence the name.
The road is a little bumpy so a high clearance vehicle is preferable or alternatively you could join this tour!
💭 Our Thoughts
Long Dong Silver is absolutely insane and we are glad that we made the time to visit. It is definitely an otherworldly landscape, like many landscapes in Utah and a great spot for photographers.
You might also enjoy:
- Ultimate Utah 7 Day Road Trip from Salt Lake City
- Guide to the Fifth Water Hot Springs Trail, Utah
- Cassidy Arch Trail – A Must Do Hike in Capital Reef National Park
- How to Hike the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail, Escalante Utah
- How to Visit the Bentonite Hills in Utah
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