The Burning Hills are best seen from Croton Road before it descends to the flats above Lake Powell. The hills have a distinctive red coloring that is a result of oxidation created by underground coal fires that have been burning for hundreds of years; in places, smoke can be seen rising from the ground. Claims are made that vents similar to the Burning Coal Beds of Smoky Mountain exist in the Burning Hills.
Many of the coal beds of the plateau have caught fire at one time or another, resulting in destruction of about 30 percent of all the coal on the plateau. The rugged topography of the area and generally bad roads keep most people away from the Burning Hills. Hikers and backpackers who want to explore the area are sure to find solitude. The canyons in the area are dry for the most part, so bring plenty of water.