If you like self-powered adventures away from the crowds, you’ll love Tumbleweed Manor.
The owner has set the house for groups, with a spacious deck, lots of room to hang out, games, and a great selection of maps and guidebooks. He is keen to recommend trips, ranging from easy hikes with the family to full on canyoneering adventures with ropes. The house is bigger than it looks in the photos and comfortably fits large groups.
Hanksville is located in the center of Utah's canyon country. It is a genuine desert town where people still ride horses down Main Street, and everyone has a piece of heavy machinery in their yard for reasons that nobody can explain. If you want luxury, go elsewhere. There are no fancy hotels or restaurants. You buy souvenirs at the gas station, and groceries are limited. The population is 240. In the high season.
Hanksville is surrounded by the highest density of slot canyons in the world. Robber’s Roost, North Wash, and Ticaboo Mesa contain hundreds of amazing slots. Many of these require ropes to descend (if you have the skills, ask about renting one). But there are also some that can also be done as simple hikes. The events in the movie “127 Hours” took place a short distance from Hanksville, and the movie was filmed there.
There are also world-class hikes in nearby Capitol Reef National Park and the San Rafael Swell. There are great driving loops like Cathedral Valley, with its stark desert landscape, broad vistas, towering monoliths, and a hill made entirely of crystals. You’ll be lucky if you see 10 other cars all day.
Or, you can escape the heat in the towering Henry Mountains with its pine forests. There is great rock collecting. There are Pictograph panels in the remote Horseshoe Canyon unit of Canyonlands National Park. There are amazing bridges and ruins in the aptly named Natural Bridges National Monument. You can enjoy the twisted hoodoos of Goblin Valley State Park.
If you like self-powered travel a bit off the beaten track, there are few better places to be.