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10 Amazing Things to Do in Hanksville Utah

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10 Things You Should Not Miss in Hanksville Utah

Hanksville is one of the most underrated places in Utah. It may not look like much on a map, but if you are looking for somewhere with epic views to stop on a road trip through Utah, Hanksville is a great choice!

Hanksville is a small town hub for adventure! Nearby, you will find some of the most insane alien-like landscapes, great hikes and activities that will get your blood pumping!

top down drone shot of Bentonite Hills in Hanksville

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📍 Where is Hanksville

Hanksville is located in Utah, not too far away from Capital Reef National Park. It is around a 3.5 hour drive to Hanksville from Salt Lake City.

If you are flying into Salt Lake City, you can easily hire a car (by pre-booking) and pick it up at the airport. I love using Rentalcar.com so that I can compare all of the different websites’ prices all in one place and choose the best one.

🚗 Find the best rental car prices here!

🤷‍♀️ Why Visit Hanksville? Is there even anything to do?

Believe it or not, as small and off the grid as Hanksville may seem, it is the centre of some of the most incredible landscapes in Utah such as Moonscape Overlook, Cathedral Valley Loop, Capital Reef and Swing Arm City.

🕐 When is the Best Time to Visit Hanksville

Hanksville gets extremely hot in the Summer and cold in the Winter. Therefore, I personally think that the best times to visit Hanksville are in the side seasons, Fall and Spring.

We went in Spring and it was chilly in the evenings but perfect hiking weather during the day and the sun was gorgeous!

If you do find yourself in Hanksville during Summer, try to plan your adventures in the early mornings or late afternoons to avoid the hottest part of the day and remember to ALWAYS carry lots of water with you.

textures of rock in Utah at Moonscape Overlook

😁 10 Things to do in Hanksville

This is a list of the best things to do in Hanksville. As previously mentioned, Hanksville is a town surrounded by outdoor adventure so if the outdoors is something you are not into, then perhaps it is not the right holiday destination for you.

If you are however, an outdoor adventurer, then you will fall in love with Hanksville.

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park is about a half hour drive from Hanksville. The park is home to thousands of hoodoos, which are named locally as “goblins” so you can see where the Goblin Valley State Park got its name!

Goblin Valley is a small park so a few hours there should be fine. There are a few different viewpoints and hikes to check out in the park and you can even go canyoneering!

Some great trails to check out are:

  • Goblin’s Lair
  • Carmel Canyon Loop
  • Entrada Canyon
  • Curtis Bench Trail
  • The Three Sisters

➡ Book a Goblin Valley Canyoneering Adventure!

Temple of the Sun and the Moon

girl standing in front of the temple of the sun and the moon at sunrise


The Temple of the Sun and the Moon is absolutely magical! These are both rock formations located in Cathedral Valley about 1.5 hours from Hanksville. This spot is well worth the drive, however it is down a 4×4 road so make sure you have a high clearance vehicle and check the road report before heading out.

➡ Book a Temple of the Sun and the Moon Tour!

Swing Arm City

Swing Arm City is a recreation area made of Bentonite Clay for dirt bikes, UTV’s, ATV’s, and cars and trucks. It is also a popular location for filming and the Disney movie John Carter was filmed there!

Capital Reef National Park

Photo of Cassidy Arch, Utah


Capital Reef National Park is one of the most underrated national parks in Utah in my opinion. It is home to red and orange dirt, natural arches that barely anyone is talking about and incredible towering rocks!

There are lots of amazing hikes to do in Capital Reef such as the Cassidy Arch Trail (pictured above) and the Hickman Natural Bridge Hike.

If you are hiking it Capital Reef during Summer, make sure you bring plenty of water with you, sunscreen and cover ups to protect you from the sun. The Utah heat is no joke and hiking in Summer is best done in the early morning or later afternoon to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

Factory Butte

Photo of Factory Butte, Utah in daylight


Factory Butte is an amazing 6,302-foot clay/silt mudstone formation with incredible clay ripples printing all over and surrounding it. You can drive up pretty close to it to get a good look, however, this will mean doing a bit of off-roading and driving on clay so make sure you have the right type of vehicle and it hasn’t rained recently or the ground will be extremely soft.

Factory Butte is very close to Moonscape Overlook so you can visit both on the same day!

Moonscape Overlook

girl standing on overlook at Moonscape Overlook


Moonscape Overlook is one of the craziest landscapes we have ever seen! We camped there for the night, woke up at sunrise and got the most amazing golden light over the strange moonscape landscape! You can drive all of the way up to the lookout but the drive is on a dirt road so make sure you check the weather before heading out.

UTV Off-Roading

Join a UTV tour to some of the most incredible spots around Hanksville! The local tour company is called Hanksville Tours.

Long Dong Silver

Long Dong Silver at sunset in Hanksville

Long Dong Silver is like something out of a Star Wars Movie! To get here involves a bit of off-roading and there is no set road to follow so you will need to use your GPS. Once you park, you will still need to walk some of the way and it is a steep climb up the final hill but the views of Long Dong Silver are incredible! You will really feel like you have been transported to another planet.

Mars Desert Research Station

Bentonite Hills at the Mars Desert Research Station

Mars in Utah is an incredible spot where you will find hills that, from above and if you have the right conditions, are super colourful! You can also find similar hills along the Cathedral Valley Loop called the Bentonite Hills, however, you will need to cross a river in your car to get there, so I recommend going with a tour.

➡ Book a Tour to the Bentonite Hills, Moonscape Overlook and Factory Butte!

Little Egypt

Little Egypt is similar to Goblin Valley State Park, but more less well known and you don’t have to pay to enter. It is 30 minutes drive from Hanksville.

Little Egypt has one unusually tall hoodoo called “The Torch” which can be found up a northern gully.

🛌 Where to Stay in Hanksville

Hanksville unfortunately does not have loads of accommodation options so you will need to book in advance so that you don’t need to stay too far out of the way.

Camping

  • Duke’s Slickrock Campground & RV
  • Off-road RV Resort
  • Red Rock Steakhouse Campground
  • Lonesome Beaver Campground
  • McMillan Spring Campground

Hotel

Whispering Sands Motel 

The Whispering Sands Motel is the main hotel in Hanksville. Otherwise, there are more hotels further towards Capital Reef and Torrey, however these are a bit of a drive away if you plan on spending most of your time exploring the areas near Hanksville.

🍴 Where to Eat in Hanksville

You will be pleased to hear that there are more food options in Hanksville than accommodation options. Some good ones that we tried are:

  • Stan’s Burger Shak – The obvious (burgers and fries)
  • Duke’s Slickrock Grill – A variety of options (Brisket, ribs, pasta, chicken and more!)
  • Outlaw’s Roost – really delicious tacos and burritos!

💭 Our Thoughts

Hanksville took us both by surprise. We didn’t realise just how much to see there would be there. We also loved that all of the sights to see around Hanksville were a lot less touristy than other places we have been to in the past.

Hopefully this guide has helped you to decide what you want to put on your Hanksville itinerary.

Stay adventurous! 😉

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