Drone View of Bentonite Hills at sunset in Utah

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The Best Time to Take Pictures at Bentonite Hills

If you’re looking to photograph one of the most epic landscapes in Utah – and believe me there are quite a few in this amazing state – you have to take pictures at Bentonite Hills.

This place is commonly referred to as Mars or another planet because of the dramatic layout and colors. In fact, The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is located within them. 

Pro Tip: While these hills are magical when seen from a drone, you cannot truly appreciate them without one – in our opinion. They are still cool to see during blue hour at eye level but don’t expect to be blown away without a way to see them with a bird’s eye view.

Lighting at Bentonite Hills


You will have the opportunity to capture the beauty of Bentonite Hills 30 minutes before the sun rises but it’s not ideal. This landscape is huge and you’ll need time to find where you want to shoot. This means you’ll need be here very early in the dark, unable to really see what positions and hills will work best.


If you come during the day the lighting will be too harsh and washout the vibrant colors you see during blue hour. We read a few reviews saying this place isn’t worth visiting along with their pictures taken during the afternoon. And we agree! You don’t see how beautiful they really are 


Sunset (or just after) is, hands down, the best time to take pictures at Bentonite Hills. You will have enough light before blue hour to find your ideal spot and have time right before and right after the sun sets to capture the most stunning videos and photos.

Drone View of Bentonite Hills at sunset in Utah
Drone View of Bentonite Hills in Utah at Sunset

Getting to Bentonite Hills

The Bentonite Hills are not a singular destination. There is an entire area that you can drive an hour through in which you’ll see these hills. There are two common spots though that we’ll share about.

  1. If you plug “Bentonite Hills” into Google Maps it will get you there… but you’ll have to drive across a river. Granted, when we went it was very shallow and slow, however, if that makes you uncomfortable I wouldn’t recommend going this way.

    Going this way will require a high clearance, off-road vehicle. We took our Jeep Grand Cherokee and were fine!

  2. To avoid the river, plug in The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). Then, find a place along the road (N Cow Dung Road) that isn’t at the Research Station to explore and photograph.

Check out these Utah Tours

While you’re in this incredible state you might as well discover even more of it! These tours are all highly rated and hosted with Viator – our favorite excursion company.

Other Utah Gems You Need to Visit

Utah may just be the most beautiful state we have visited. And if you are taking pictures at Bentonite Hills, you shouldn’t miss these other extremely photographic and instagrammable spots.

  1. Moonscape Overlook
  2. Temple of the Sun and Moon
  3. Goblin Valley
  4. Mystic Hot Springs
  5. Capital Reef National Park

Where and when to visit, convenient places to sleep and more!