Have you always dreamed of venturing to outer space? Luckily, you don’t have to actually get in a rocket ship to experience places that are out of this world! Visit the Utah Mars Landscape to feel as if you’ve been transported to another planet. Red and white striped hills surround this area and create a mind boggling picture!
Mars should be on every photographer’s bucket list! Utah’s Mars or the Bentonite Hills are a magical area located near Hanksville, Utah. I have been to all of the Utah National Parks and yet these are the ✨coolest rock formations✨ that I have seen! You have to add this destination to your bucket list. Read my comprehensive guide to visiting Mars below!
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Table of Contents
Mars Utah Details
Where are the Bentonite Hills in Utah?
3…2…1…Blast off! 🚀 Take your car and head directly to Hanksville, Utah to see the wonderful land of Mars. Unfortunately, Hanksville is a bit off the beaten path, as the closest major airports are a few hours away in Salt Lake City, Utah or Las Vegas, Nevada. However, if you have any plans to visit the National Parks in Utah or take a road trip through the state then you can easily get to this area.
Hanksville is about an hour outside of Capitol Reef and two hours from Moab, Utah (home to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks). It’s also just half an hour from Goblin Valley State Park, one of the coolest parks that I have ever seen. There are so many other things to see in and around Hanksville and you should definitely add this stop to your next road trip!
How can I get there?
In order to see the wild landscapes of Mars, all you’ll need to do is travel to Hanksville, Utah. If you put “Mars Research Station” into Google or Apple Maps 📍, then you can easily find the Bentonite Hills.
Simply follow Utah 24 West from Hanksville for about 3 miles, then turn right onto S Cow Dung Road and you’ll follow that for 3 miles until you see the research station. Scientists regularly conduct research here, so you are not actually allowed on the grounds of the research station, but if you pass it then you will find incredible landscapes!
Follow the dirt road past the Mars research station for about 5 minutes. Once you get around a bend, you will notice these red and white striped hills all around you. Don’t worry if you happen to pass it, you can easily find places to turn around. That is when you will know that you have made it to Mars! Get out of your car and start to explore this wild area.
I highly recommend bringing a drone if you have one, the views of the area are even better from above!
What should I do at Mars?
Most people go to Mars to see the landscape and to take photos of it. It’s very fun to explore and wander off over the various hills. There are so many different vantage points that you can get in this area, so set aside a couple hours to let yourself take it all in. Make sure that you always know the direction you came from so that you don’t lose your vehicle or get lost. There are no signs in the area and the hills can get you turned around.
Also, Mars is a wonderful place for anyone that wants a cool place to van or car camp. The area next to the hills is actually BLM land, which means that you can sleep there overnight. There is some service at the campsites and you can get wonderful access to sunrise or sunset 🌅 over the hills. Make sure to follow all the signs and the Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
Although Mars is always amazing to see, the best times of day to visit this area are in the early morning or late at night. Photographers will love to see the hues of the hills change during “Blue Hour” which is the hour before sunrise or the hour after sunset. During this time of day, the colors on the mountain will start to take on a purple hue and make this landscape look even more otherworldly. Plus, you’ll be less likely to see other people.
Similar to the planet of Mars, this area on earth also sees extreme temperatures. Try to avoid visiting this area in the summer, because the heat is very strong. The best times of year to visit are during the spring or fall when temperatures are mild and the daylight hours are a bit longer.
We went at the end of April and even then it started to get a bit too hot in the late hours of the morning. Pack plenty of water to cool off and make sure your car has AC to cool you down.
You will be seriously blown away by the Bentonite Hills in Utah! Walking around these crazy hills feel like you are starring in a sci-fi film on the planet of Mars. Enjoy a few hours of exploring the mounds, taking photos, or camping in this beautiful destination.
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this guide!
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