Located at the crossroads of highways 24 and 95, both of which are scenic byways, sits Hanksville Utah, a principal junction for this remote southern region of Utah. From the early years when the land was being explored and settled to today’s visitors seeking adventure and scenic landscapes, Hanksville is one of Utah’s remote places that has changed very little. Its isolated location in an unusual landscape that seems to separate itself from its surroundings is part of the allure of visiting one of the most undisturbed sections of the continental United States. It’s no wonder Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch found this an ideal place to hide out. Not even the law could find them here, or bothered to.
Basecamp to Adventure
What makes Hanksville the ideal basecamp for adventure? When asked, visitors planning multi-day trips to explore a region frequently state that they prefer staying in a central location that’s convenient for making day trips to area attractions without having to move camp or stay in multiple hotels. Hanksville is within an hour’s drive of Capitol Reef National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Caineville Desert, North Wash slot canyons, and less than two hours from Lake Powell, Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef’s southern Waterpocket region and Henry Mountains wilderness. There’s enough here to keep an active explorer busy for days.
In this vast, remote region of Utah, Hanksville is the only town with visitor services between Green River to the east and Torrey to the west. Restaurants, lodging, RV parks, campgrounds, grocery and convenience stores, adventure outfitters, rock shops and more are available in this small town.
The Henry Mountains Field station of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) located at 380 South 100 West is also in Hanksville and is an excellent resource for getting information on exploring the surrounding public land. The office is adjacent to the historic Wolverton Mill.
Where Mars and Earth Collide
There is a plethora of scenic attractions and recreation areas within a short drive of Hanksville, most within two hours, in any direction. Some well-known, some, not as much. If you are on the hunt for outdoor adventure; this is the place. Looking for scenic landscapes that are distinctly unique to southern Utah; this is the place. Between Hanksville and Capitol Reef National Park is some of the most diverse and interesting landscapes found, not only in Utah, but in the West. The landforms in this region are a result of the way various rock layers have responded to the forces of erosion. Wingate, Navajo Sandstone, Mancos Shale, Morrison and Chinle formations form a convoluted landscape that has attracted the likes of geologists and the Mars Desert Research Center that considers this region ideal for simulating the red planet. The barren slopes found in these areas are due in part to the presence of bentonitic clays in the shale which make an inhospitable environment for plants.
Mushrooms and Goblins
Twenty miles north of Hanksville is one of Utah’s most popular state parks that early ranchers called the “Valley of Mushrooms.” Today the park is known as Goblin Valley for its whimsical hoodoo shapes and figures. Hollywood deemed Goblin Valley an ideal alien setting for the 1999 Tim Allen movie, Galaxy Quest. It’s been reported that ET has been seen roaming the grounds, see if you can find him when visiting the park.
To the south of Hanksville on SR 95 approximately 30 miles are slot canyon popular for canyoneering known as the Irish Canyons in the North Wash. One such canyon that hikers can access without ropes is Leprechaun Canyon. This is a family friendly slot canyon that showcases the beauty and adventure of these mystical places in Utah sandstone cliffs and canyons. Irish Slot Canyons.
Keep Capitol Reef Country Forever Mighty
What is Forever Mighty? It’s practicing responsible travel while visiting Utah and Capitol Reef Country by following the principles of Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace.
Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, be considerate of others, support local business and honor community, history and heritage. Help us keep Utah and Capitol Reef Country’s outdoor recreation areas beautiful, healthy, and accessible.