Once an outlaw oasis, it's still the ideal spot to launch an outdoor retreat.

The best friend who lets you crash at their place while you go exploring the local sites? That’s Hanksville. Surrounded by state and national parks, the tiny, remote town is literally in the center of some of Utah’s best hiking and exploring. It's the perfect homebase for your scenic excursions — with outfitters right in town. And at the end of the day of hiking, biking, hunting or wildlife watching, it welcomes you back with open arms, a bed and a warm meal. In its early days, Hanksville served as a main thoroughfare and supply post for cattle rustlers and miners. Perhaps that’s why, more than a hundred years later, it’s so good at hospitality.


For a town of 200 or so, they can rustle up some pretty fine grub. Choose from a trio of restaurants with varied cuisine. You’ll find fried food and shakes, sure, but also loftier fare — brisket and hardwood smoked chicken, steak tacos and margaritas.


Pick up picnic supplies from the local market for your daytrip, or grab a few snacks while you fuel up at one of the convenience stores before heading out.


There are motels for visitors who prefer the comfort of home, and a couple of RV parks for those who bring a home along. You can also book one of several short-term rentals that include cozy bungalows, houses roomy enough for a crowd and even a cave worthy of the Flintstones. 


Hanksville was once a popular hideout for the Wild Bunch gang. Makes sense, since there were plenty of places nearby to hunker down when escaping from posses and such. Today, the area isn’t quite as secluded, but you can still head in any direction to find unparalleled scenery — or to play a good game of hide and seek. And now, it takes less than a couple of hours to get there.

Thirty minutes to:

  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Robbers Roost Canyon
  • Goblin Valley State Park
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

About an hour to:

  • Henry Mountains
  • San Rafael Swell

Two hours or so to:

  • Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Lake Powell

Local Attractions

While surrounded by grand wonders, don’t skip the local scene. Just 7 miles away, you’ll feel like you’re on another planet. At least, scientists think so. The Mars Desert Research Station subs as the real red planet — one of only four such training habitats in the world. 

Step back in time at the prolific Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry. Paleontologists have uncovered at least 15 different types of dinosaur fossils there, including the armored Mymoorapelta and three species of longneck sauropods. More than 1,000 bones have been unearthed and removed from the area since an official dig began in 2008.



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