Factory Bute

Near Hanksville, UT


In my opinion, Utah is the most geologically diverse and photographically fertile states in America - with an endless surprise of landscapes, topography, mesa, buttes forest, deserts and vistas. Factory Butte is just such a surprise.

Sandwiched between Capital Reef, Canyonlands and Escalante sets the Factory Butte which is an oddly placed butte in the middle of a lifeless and barren badlands.

The Factory Butte rises about 900ft from the desert floor with mesmerizing ripples and distinctive veins of rock. I had been to the area around Factory Butte but never could find an image I liked. Not until I was setting around a campfire after a long day of scouting. The image above is just simply looking directly at the Factory Butte. It was taken in the blue hour before sunrise.

Trail Difficulty (2 out of 5)

I would rate the difficulty of this trail as a 2 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). This is one of the easiest shots you will ever get in the southwest – as the best place for this shot is right in your campground. The only reason for giving this a rating of 2 is the fairly easy 7-mile drive on a dirt road to get to the campsite/location.

GPS Coordinates & Elevation

38°27'46.91"N 110°53'30.44"W

4,687 Ft. Elevation

Click on GPS coordinates above for a Google map to the location.

Decimal degree (DD) format: 38.463031, -110.891789

Google Maps Birds-Eye-View

Click on image to enlarge


CLICK HERE to get driving directions to Factory Butte.

The closest town is Hanksville, UT which is located in south central part of Utah. The directions are from Hanksville, UT.

From Hanksville, travel west 10.6 miles on UT-24 until you get to a street sign that says 6650 EAST (this is Coal Mine Rd). Take a right and travel .8 of a mile and you will reach a fork in the road. Stay right at the fork and travel 6.2 miles until you see a small, unmarked parking/camping area next to a rock formation (this is right off of the dirt road that is Coal Mine Rd).

The shot above was taken from the parking/camping area at dawn.

Best Time of Day to Shoot

Factory Butte is a very unique rock formation with many photographic opportunities. However, the shot above is best at predawn and dusk (before any light illuminates the butte). Once the sun is up the colors/hues of the butte and surrounding areas change substantially.

Best Time of Year to Shoot

This shot is available all year.

What Lens(es) Do You Need

For me, this shot is best as a compression shot and this image was taken with a 135mm lens.


There are no permits required in the area.

Direction of the Shot

The direction of the shot is southwest at 220°.

Special Nuances of Shot

This is the closest thing to a layup you will ever get for a landscape photograph. The shot was taken directly in the little campsite off the dirt road.

There are many other compositions around this unique area that you can explore, but the shot above was simple and straightforward.

Special Equipment Needed

No need for any special photography equipment (other than a tripod).

Number of Other Photographers to Expect

This spot is off of the beaten path for most photographers and it would be rare to see anyone else at this location.


Current Weather

Historical Weather

The area around Factory Butte is high desert climate at about 5,000 ft. elevation. The temperatures can vary up to 30° - 40° a day. Spring and fall are nice, but summer can get into the high 90s.

Cell Service

I have Verizon and there is no cell service from this location.

Overnight Lodging/Camping

The area around is the Factory Butte are badlands with the closest towns being Hanksville and Caineville, UT. As mentioned, there is a small camping area directly at the location of this shot (not sure if it is sanctioned by BLM or not) with a makeshift fire pit. There are other camping areas and lodging in both Hanksville and Caineville. Caineville is a very small community and Hanksville is not much larger, but has some lodging.

Camping - click on the campground below for directions

Duke's Slickrock Campground & RV Park – 275 E Highway 24, Hanksville, UT 84734

Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review

Whispering Sands Motel
90 So. Highway 95, PO Box 158, Hanksville

Hanksville Inn
280 East 100 North, Hanksville

Nearby Restaurants

The closest towns/communities are Hanksville and Caineville with Hanksville being the larger. As far as I know there are only 3 places to eat in Hanksville. All are small town restaurants, and I had a good meal and service at Duke’s Grill and would return next time in this area.

Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review

Duke’s Slickrock Grill
(435) 542-3235

Blondie’s Eatery & Gift
(435) 542-3255

Laundry Mat

I don’t know of any laundry mats in this area.  

Other Photography Opportunities Around

Click on an image below to move to that location

Airport Options

The closest international airport is Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which is 235 miles west and services most of the major airlines. Walker Field (GJT), in Grand Junction Colorado (160 miles north and then east), is a small regional airport and services United Express, SkyWest/Delta, and America West Express/Mesa Airlines. 

Area Guides and Workshops


Other Resources

The Photographer's Ephemeris is a very valuable tool for landscape photographers to determining the direction of the sunrise/sunset & moonrise and moonset from any place on earth on any day (past and future). Click here to take you to The Photographer's Ephemeris for this location. 

NOTE: The Photographer's Ephemeris uses the Decimal Degree (DD) format for GPS coordinates to access their locations. The Decimal Degree (DD) coordinates can be found in the GPS section above.