"Welcome to Hanksville" Hanksville by goodfish

Hanksville Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 72 photos

"You're staying in HANKSVILLE? No one stays in Hanksville. It's the middle of NOWHERE. I didn't know there WAS a place to stay in Hanksville. Seriously, you aren't really staying in HANKSVILLE???"

We'd stopped into the Information Center in Moab to ask about a road into Horseshoe Canyon that was rumored to be closed. The man at the desk said he sure as hell wouldn't drive all the way out there to find out. Well, no, but see we're going to be staying in Hanksville for a couple of days...

The Husband looks at me. I start to sweat. Research and bookings for the 2011 Utah trip had pretty much been in my (now clammy) little hands, and three hikes that were a real haul to try and do from Moab had me reserving a room in, well, THAT middle of nowhere. But the motel had some pretty decent reviews on Trip Advisor. And while reports on the 2-3 restaurants weren't exactly glowing, they didn't appear to have killed anyone. Yet. No place for a beer either but that's why God made coolers, right? How bad can it be?

We pulled into town - or past a sign that said "Welcome to Hanksville" anyway - and got our first eyeful of the place we'd be spending the next three nights. It was, er, interesting. OK, it was the FAR side of interesting. We cruise past a couple derelict gas stations, rusty heaps of equipment, abandoned motels and disintegrating shacks. It appears to be totally deserted: not a living soul in sight. The Husband looks at me. I start to sweat again.

We find our accommodations and I'm marginally relieved to see that it doesn't look like the Bates Motel but it, too, is deserted. Sign on the office door says it opens at 3:00. Okey-dokey. We dive into the cooler, pop a couple of brews and spend the next 1/2 hour watching the highway. We swig. I sweat some more. But promptly at 3:00 there is a sign of LIFE: a car pulls in; the office is unlocked; we cautiously enter and are met by a pleasant young lady who checks us in. We just as cautiously open the door to the room to find it clean, comfortable and better-equipped than I'd expected. An hour later another cheerful employee kicks the living crap out of a stubborn wash machine in the laundry for me, and by late afternoon the parking lot is full of cars, trucks and RVs and everyone is outside pulling libations out of their own coolers and communing with the fading sunshine. We are quickly adopted by a rowdy, happy tribe on their way to a week of houseboating in Page, and after a few brews and a pretty-good sammie at the Burger Shack (in the service station next door) I quit sweating.

Over the next couple of days the place starts to grow on us. I wander around town playing shutterbug and Pied Piper to a collection of curious pups. People smile and wave on their way to work. We yak it up with friendly locals and motel neighbors. By morning #3 we're on a first-name basis with the guy at the Chevron and have a nice invitation to "C'mon back and stay with me and the wife next time" from Eight-Finger Wayne (he's missing a couple of digits). We learn that the nearest hospital is 100 miles away; that teenagers spend three hours on a bus every day to get to school; that the folks here are about as nice as they come; that the book has a more captivating story inside than its faded, tattered cover might lead you, at first, to believe.

Oh, and there absolutely IS one damn fine place to stay in the middle of nowhere. Seriously.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:One man's nowhere is another man's somewhere special
  • Last visit to Hanksville: Sep 2014
  • Intro Updated Nov 13, 2014
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Reviews (16)

Comments (12)

  • dnwitte's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Thanks for bringing up memories of a very happy time.

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Mar 14, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      You're welcome! Very nice to know that there's someone who loves the place as much as I do.

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    Enjoyable write ups, the truck cab sure reminds me of my youth ;-)))

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Sep 21, 2013 at 3:49 AM

      Thanks, Ken! And haha, I think a cooler on the tailgate reminds a LOT of us of our youth!

    • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
      Sep 21, 2013 at 4:16 AM

      too true, especially university/college binges ;-0

  • Agraichen's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    GREAT update page. Tough drive for a brew though.

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Dec 21, 2012 at 5:28 AM

      Thanks, Al! Yep, can be hard to find a brew in Mormon country. But Hanksville was a hoot - probably the destination I've had the most fun coming up with a page for. :)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Nice page Kate! I enjoyed all the Goblins, would love to see them in the real!

  • Segolily's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    Hanksville! You probably missed the best part of Hanksville which was Ernest Shirley's Rock Shop. Unfortunately he passed and the shop was dismantled. It was the best place, still miss it.
    Thanks for a great page about a wonderful little town. I love the shakes at Stan's.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    I saw a flash flood while I was hiking in New Mexico one time. An awesome sight. Glad I was on high enough ground to be out of the way. I hope you seized the opportunity to buy some "Where the Hell is Hanksville?" T-shirts.

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Oh Kate...what an awesome page! Your photos are stunning!! :o) I love these off the beaten path pages :o) I am looking forward to visiting places like this when we eventually come to the States. Hugs, Ann xx

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Thanks for the tour Kate! I too like these little towns, not the hiking part, just the old stuff and the friendly souls. About those mosquitoes, I'm surprised they didn't sell a good (not brand named) reppellent with the camping gear.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    I *love* that opening shot!! And this is really my sort of place as I so enjoy "taking pictures of old stuff" - just wish we had come across it when in Utah many years ago (we must have been near as I remember Goblin Valley). I loved reading your intro page as well as the tips - it really brought your visit to life for me :-)
    The Horseshoe Canyon hike pictures are stunning - heck, all the photos are stunning! Those slots would be too much for me though I'm afraid :-(

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    I absolutely love this page! Everything about it would make me smile, except the bug bites, that is not fun. But just love the beautiful canyons and how nature has carved them out. But, the Recyclasaurs is awesome!


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