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How to Hike to Long Dong Silver aka Dark Spire in Utah

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If you’re looking for an easy and unique hike through an otherworldly landscape, look no further than Long Dong Silver in Hanksville, Utah!

Tim and I have traveled through Hanksville numerous times on our southwest road trips and each time we find more fascinating hiking destinations. It was on our April 2023 trip to Capitol Reef National Park that we finally decided to park on the side of Utah Highway 24 and set out on a hike to find this enigmatic spire.

In this guide to hiking to Long Dong Silver (aka The Dark Spire), we cover need-to-know safety and sustainability information, give you the exact GPS coordinates, and share some additional gems nearby.

Long Dong Silver, Utah
Long Dong Silver, Utah

Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles: plan your hike in advance, stick to designated trails, carry out all your belongings, dispose of waste properly, leave natural areas untouched, minimize the impact of campfires, show consideration for fellow hikers, and avoid approaching or feeding wildlife.

How to Get to the Long Dong Silver Spire

Long Dong Silver, aka Dark Spire, Lone Spire, or simply the Hanksville Spire, towers over a landscape that many hikers and climbers have compared to Middle Earth or a planet from Star Wars.

To get to Long Dong Silver, you first need to get to Utah State Route 24 in Hanksville, Utah. It’s about 4 hours from Salt Lake City and 2 hours from Moab.

About 7 miles west of Hanksville, you’ll come to a spot where you can park and access the hike. I’ve helpfully provided the GPS coordinates for where to park below, along with a map.

Long Dong Silver, aka The Dark Spire

How did Long Dong Silver get its name?

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room. Despite having other, more boring, names, it seems the name that has stuck for this rock spire is “Long Dong Silver”, and yes, it’s meant to evoke a phallus. In fact, Long Dong Silver is originally the nickname for adult film actor Daniel Arthur Mead who was known for, well, his long dong. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why a giant erect spire in the desert has earned such a name, as well.

Long Dong Silver GPS Coordinates

  • Park Here: 38°22’10.4″N 110°50’26.1″W
  • Hike to Here: 38°22’56.9″N 110°50’18.3″W

4×4 Parking

If you have a 4×4 vehicle, you can technically drive down a dirt road heading north from Highway 24 and park about a mile closer to the spire. But, out of consideration for the fragile landscape and the fact that the official road is hard to identify due to the myriad of unofficial dirt roads, we recommend simply parking on Highway 24. If you do want to try to the dir road, the GPS coordinates for the closest spot you can reach by vehicle are 38°22’56.9″N 110°50’18.3″W.

Long Dong Silver Map

Responsible Visitation

  • Stay on established trails. While the wide open expanse of terrain leading to the spire seems to invite exploration, it’s important to stay on previously established footpaths to avoid damaging the terrain with social trails.
  • Respect the No Motor Vehicles signs. Yes, there are tire tracks that create what appears to be a dirt road, but per the Bureau of Land Management, motor vehicles aren’t allowed past a certain point. That’s why we recommend parking along the road and hiking in.
  • Don’t pick wildflowers. First of all, it’s illegal to disrupt endangered vegetation, and secondly, it reduces the fragile plants’ ability to return next season.
Wildflowers in Hanksville, Utah
  • Pack it all out. Yep, all of it. Even if it’s just food scraps. Orange peels for example take ages to biodegrade in desert environments. Carry a bag with you to pack out your trash and leftovers! If you need to use the toilet, carry a WAG bag with you or stop at a gas station in Hanksville before your hike.
  • Don’t climb it, even if you can. While it is perfectly legal to climb Long Dong Silver, the rock is quickly eroding. Rock climbers report chunks falling off of the spire regularly. With increasing popularity, human impact is speeding up the natural process of erosion. This means the Dark Spire may not be around much longer.

Hike to Long Dong Silver

If you park on Highway 24, you will hike 2 miles each way (for a total of 4 miles round trip) to reach the spire. If you park on the dirt road north of Highway 24, you will shave about a mile off in each direction, essentially cutting your hike in half to a total of 2 miles round trip.

Regardless of where you park, it’s a flat, easy walk to the spire. The main consideration is water and shade, as both are nonexistent here. In other words, bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water!

On the trail to Long Dong Silver

We parked on the road and hiked the 4-mile round-trip option. At times we were worried whether we were going in the right direction, but trusted our location on our GPS and just continued to follow it and the footprints towards the spire’s coordinates.

You cannot see Long Dong Silver from the road since tall cliffs surround it. Thus, using a GPS and following the existing trail is important. It’s easy to follow the tire tracks and footprints the entire way without having to create any new footpaths.

First glimpse of Dark Spire (Long Dong Silver) to the right on the trail

Along the way, you will pass another rock spire near the cliffs to your left. This spire is cool, but it’s not Long Dong Silver. Don’t let it confuse you, but do check it out if you’re curious!

Once you are near Long Dong Silver itself, you can’t miss it! It will be standing tall ahead to your right with a little spire sibling nearby. Follow the paths closer to explore around its base.

Getting closer…
Final Push to Long Dong Silver

After you’ve explore, hike back the way you came.

Walking back to Highway 24
Walking back to Highway 24

When to Hike to Long Dong Silver

We hiked to Long Dong Silver after watching sunrise at Moonscape Overlook nearby. While we didn’t capture that sunrise glow at the spire, we did benefit from cool temperatures and a soft morning light.

In general, early morning or late afternoon will be the best times to hike Long Dong Silver. I would avoid hiking in midday, especially in summer, since it can be dangerously hot and this trail offers no sun protection.

Otherwise, any season is suitable for hiking to Long Dong Silver, with fall and winter being our picks for the best time to visit. Spring can be windy, and summer is quite hot as already mentioned.

Hiking the dusty terrain around Long Dong Silver
Hiking the dusty terrain around Long Dong Silver

Photography Tips for Long Dong Silver

  • Go at sunrise or sunset. Or at least golden hour for softer light. The midday sun creates for harsh photos, and you can’t rely on cloud cover in sunny Utah.
  • Bring a drone. Drones are permitted at Long Dong Silver, and the expansive valley and unique formations create endless possibilities for aerial shots. Just be careful if it’s a windy day since drones can become unwieldy in high winds (speaking from experience!).
  • Explore different angles. Our favorite photo spot was looking down on the spire from the hill just north of it.
Our favorite view of Long Dong Silver

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What to Bring

Although it’s just a short walk to the Dark Spire, we always recommend bringing certain items on a hike for safety reasons. You never know what can happen!

There are unique formations throughout the hike.

Where to Stay


Hanksville is the closest town to Long Dong Silver, and has limited accommodations.

Check out this unique dome VRBO, located just 10 minutes away.


Caineville is another town near Long Dong Silver, and like Hanksville, it is quite small and has few options. But, it’s only 12 minutes away.

The Cathedral Valley Inn is a great value, features views of the North Caineville Mesa, and is conveniently located between Long Dong Silver and Capitol Reef National Park.


Torrey has the most options for accommodations and is a great base if your Utah trip includes Capitol Reef National Park. On the downside, it is about 45 minutes from Long Dong Silver. Still, it will have the most amenities and is a great base for exploring Capitol Reef and other destinations along Utah Route 24 like Lower Calf Creek Falls and Escalante.

Use the map below to search for hotels in Torrey, Utah!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Moonscape Overlook rock formations in a purple sky
Moonscape Overlook

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