Goblin Valley State Park

Whether you have an spare hour or a half day, this an unmissable trip to view a bizarre landscape that's been compared to Mars.

★★★★

Wow factor

★★★★

Overall rating

★★★★

Difficulty

★★★★★

Trailhead access

★★

Crowds

20 miles north of Hanksville of UT24, and within the San Rafael desert, Goblin Valley features literally thousands of sandstone hoodoos or ‘goblins’ that were 20 million years in the making. When you get up close to them many are mushroom-shaped (it was originally called Mushroom Valley) though some do resemble weird faces. It was extensively used as a location in the 1999 movie ‘Galaxy Quest’ as well as The Killers’ ‘Human’ music video.

 

Though there are marked trails you can wander at will amongst this labyrinth of geological fantasies. Your kids will love it and their imaginations will run riot. The parking lot may look busy but the area is so large it doesn’t feel like that. Turn up at sunset for the best light or even stay until it’s dark (the park closes at 10pm) and explore by flashlight for a more spooky experience.

The turnoff for Horseshoe Canyon is on the opposite side of the road to the Goblin Valley turnoff so it's possible to do both in a single day. Also close by is the trailhead for Little Wild Horse Canyon.

© 2015-2020 Bob Palmer.