Ah, the famous Betonite Hills in Cathedral Valley. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of photos from similar places, but I’m not sure I’ve actually seen photos from the ones in Capitol Reef! These hills are absolutely stunning. We were lucky enough to camp alongside these hills for a night in the Utah desert, and it was absolutely wonderful. They’re just magical; they’re different from any landscape you’ve seen in Utah!
From our campsite, we packed up our car and drove for a long while until we reached the hills. Driving times are tough on the Hartnet and Cathedral Valley roads since the roads are ever-changing and will depend on how much you stop to see sights, take photos, hike, and quite literally how fast you can and how fast you are driving. I would try to budget a whole day for driving the Cathedral Valley loop, especially if you’re getting a few hikes in!
When you’ve finally reached the bentonite hills, it becomes obvious. I mean, it looks like you’ve just taken a rocketship to Mars! These formations are absolutely incredible! Definitely get out and grab a few photos. We spent a good half hour here exploring the hills, taking photos, and absorbing the incredible view.
These hills stretch into the distance for miles and miles. It truly feels like you’re on another planet! There aren’t any defined hiking trails, and technically, this area is all outside of the park on BLM/Forest Service land. There are paths where people have walked previously, so, if you’re going to do any walking, remember to follow those trails to minimize your impact. Desert climates are really sensitive and are easily destroyed!
From here, we wrapped up and continued our drive through Cathedral Valley. There was a whole lot more to see out there, and the drive was just getting started.
See you on the next one!
Next blog: Part IV of Capitol Reef. Monoliths are coming soon!