Moonscape Overlook, also known to some as Skyline View, is one of the most unique and picturesque areas in Southern Utah. I had the pleasure of exploring it back in 2020 before it became a well-known destination. I’ll forever be grateful for having it less crowded and disturbed.
However, we’re not about gatekeeping here and more people who can enjoy these beautiful places and see why they need to be protected.
I remember being here for sunrise and launching my drone up and quite literally losing the ability to move my fingers because it was so cold out. I was so bundled, yet those cold Utah winter temperatures still got to me. But I couldn’t stop enjoying the views that you’ll see throughout this piece.
Below are photos for inspiration and all the information you need to visit Moonscape Overlook!
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A Guide to Moonscape Overlook in Southern Utah
Moonscape Overlook is a small yet stunning location. It honestly looks like another planet or the moon. Hence the name.
You shouldn’t need to be there for more than a few hours unless you are set on seeing sunset and sunrise conditions.
Planning your Southern Utah Trip
Why is Moonscape Overlook worth it?
Moonscape Overlook is an otherworldly place. You drive up through a brown and desolate landscape to a cliff’s edge. Here, you’ll find yourself with miles of views that hardly any other place in America offers.
I LOVED my time there, and it was insanely memorable.
How do you get to Moonscape Overlook?
To get to Moonscape Overlook (aka Skyline View), turn onto N. Factory Butte Road. There will be a big official sign here.
Then, drive six miles to Skyline View Drive (not marked, but that’s what it is called on Google Maps). Turn right and follow the road to the end. From my recollection, it was super easy and I had no issues getting to Moonscape Overlook.
Do I need a 4×4 to get here?
I was able to get to Moonscape Overlook in my Prius in 2020. Unless increased traffic has worsened the dirt road, you should be fine in a standard car. If it just rained, having better traction and AWD/4×4 would be wise to ensure you’re not stuck in the mud.
When is the best time to visit?
This is one of those places that you can visit any time of the year.
However, summer temperatures will rise into the upper 90s, but lows are in the low 60s. This means only a couple hours of the day are porous. Conversely, winter weather can push this into the 20s or colder. But the days are pleasant.
If I had to be more precise, spring or fall is the best time for all-around weather and no risk of being snowed on. However, this is when more people will visit.
During my late January trip, I saw one person while exploring Moonscape Overlook.
What Photography Gear Should I Bring?
First, if you have a drone, bring the drone. The aerial views here are crazy, and you want to drone it. I would recommend the Mavic 3 Pro if you have a bigger budget. If not, the Mini 3 Pro with the vertical lens will get you what you need!
In addition to that, having a medium lens, like a 24-70, is perfect to capture the dramatic landscape.
Where to stay near Moonscape Overlook
You’re in a remote part of Southern Utah when you get to Hanksville. The town’s population is around 175. So, understandably, there is not much for amenities in Hanksville.
Can I camp at Moonscape Overlook?
Yes, the entire Moonscape Overlook area is on BLM land, so you can camp as you please. All I ask, though, is to be respectful and follow Leave No Trace principles to ensure those who visit after you enjoy it just like you did.
As you can imagine, there are no facilities here, so you’ll have to bring everything you want. Some call this dispersed or wild camping. This blog will give you all you need to know about it.
There are only a few hotels in Hanksville, though it’s not a popular destination, which helps even things out. I only stayed in a hotel because when I rolled through to Moonscape Overlook, the lows were in the 20’s.
I wouldn’t expect anything fancy, but the lodging here will get the job done and help you explore the beautiful area in a little more comfort than a tent or sleeping in your car.
Where should I eat in Hanksville?
Ha, so I ran into this issue and was so grateful that one place was open past 7 p.m.! I had Stans Burger Shack which got the job done. I’m not much of a foodie or food critic. And now, four years later, I couldn’t tell you more than it filled me up!
I would recommend having a full cooler before visiting. This is more budget-friendly and will be there in case you are enjoying yourself in the later hours.
What Else is There to do Near Moonscape Overlook
Factory Butte is in the same area as Moonscape Overlook and is a beautiful array of ridges and textures. It’s best seen from the air, but the ground views are also pretty great.
After a morning spent at Moonscape Overlook, I saw a pack of antelope running through it.
There is a lot to explore around Factory Butte, which I didn’t get to do due to time. But it’s mostly a free-for-all out there. Just be safe!
Capital Reef National Park
Capital Reef’s eastern entrance is about 40 minutes from Hanksville. If you’re looking to get to the Temple of the Sun and the sweet rock formations, you want to be on the eastern side.
Capital Reef is the 22nd most visited National Park, which surprised me as I expected it to have fewer visitors.
Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands
Much further away, when comparing it to Capital Reef, is the Moab area. It’s a 90-minute drive from Hanksville and Moonscape Overlook. The drive is pretty easy but remote.
Here, you should probably spend three days. A single day for Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and then the surrounding Moab area.
This is a stunning slot canyon southeast of Hanksville by about 25 minutes. I haven’t been, but it looks fantastic, and the photo and exploration possibilities seem endless.
There are a lot of slot canyons surrounding Hanksville and Moonscape Overlook. Simply type in “slot canyons” into Google, and you’ll see them pop up!
FAQ: Moonscape Overlook Utah
How cold can it get at Moonscape Overlook in the winter?
In the winter, Moonscape Overlook can get cold – very cold. In the winter months, expect it to hover around freezing as the low, if not colder. When I visited, it had to be in the 20s. Every fiber was cold!
Do I have to hike at Moonscape Overlook?
There is no hiking required or even recommended at Moonscape Overlook. You’re on a cliff edge, and it’s pretty steep with slippery rocks to get anywhere down below. If you do walk around, be careful!
Wrapping Up – Utah’s Moonscape Overlook
When I explored Moonscape Overlook and Hanskville, it was early 2020, and this place was hardly on the map. It’s known to most people in the photography world – and rightly so. It’s a stunning place that offers ridiculous photography opportunities.
But it’s also great for non-photographers to enjoy the marvelous landscapes of Southern Utah. So, no matter your profession, I hope you enjoy the area!
Until next time, adventurers, take care and be safe.