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Goblin Valley State Park in Utah: Unusual Rock Formations You Must See to Believe!

Utah is a fantastic state filled with natural wonders, including many beautiful state and national parks. We loved vacationing there!

Goblin Valley was first a State Reserve and is now a State Park.

Goblin Valley was first a State Reserve and is now a State Park.

Goblin Valley State Park

Unearthly and imaginary creatures abound in the rock formations of Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. It is a must-see adventure for your entire family. The park is located between Capitol Reef National Park and Arches National Park.

My mother, niece, and I met some fellow travelers going in the opposite direction between the national parks. They told us to make a point of taking the detour off of Highway 24 onto the unpaved road, and then follow the signs to see the Goblin Valley State Park. They made it sound so fascinating that we decided to take their advice.

We had just enjoyed sightseeing in the unbelievably beautiful Capitol Reef National Park and were on our way to see both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Had we not been tipped off by those fellow vacationers, we probably would not have taken the time to make this side trip, which turned out to be of great interest.

The Three Sisters at the Goblin Valley State Park

The Three Sisters at the Goblin Valley State Park

The Three Sisters

As we approached the area and got closer, we began to see some unique outcroppings of very unusual goblin-like creatures sitting upon a flat surface of the rock. It appeared as though some giant children had formed these sentries while playing with silly putty, and they were just the beginning of what we were to see.

On the left-hand side of the photo above is the formation commonly referred to as the three sisters.

Road grader at work on the road we took to get to the Goblin Valley State Park.

Road grader at work on the road we took to get to the Goblin Valley State Park.

Unpaved Entrance Road

The 10-mile one-way unpaved road was being newly graded, and we followed the dirt path, not knowing what to expect. The date was back in July of 1991. The road may be paved by now, but I doubt it due to its remoteness from more heavily trafficked areas.

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park

Raised Viewing Area

As we got to the main viewing area, there was a raised shelter with picnic tables where one could look down upon this out of this world sight. On the smooth earthen floor appeared countless unearthly formations all cast in stone. Stones piled upon other rocks formed images of creatures of every type imaginable.

Many look like mushrooms, with others appearing like the goblins for which the state park gets its name. In the late 1920s, when Arthur Chaffin first discovered this place, he called it Mushroom Valley, which seems appropriate to this site.

goblins-and-imaginary-creatures-abound

Off the Beaten Path

Goblin Valley State Park is one of those places that one could easily miss seeing, as it is definitely off the beaten path. Just imagine what the first people who discovered it must have thought!

Many people, both children and adults, were exploring and climbing up on the rocks, but they looked like dwarves playing in that giant child's silly putty city, as seen from the overlook.

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There are no specific trails throughout this maze on the valley floor. Still, the higher overlook picnic area can always be the guidepost to getting one safely back to one's car. If it were not for that point of reference, it would be easy to get lost among this wide array of scattered rock formations.

Take some time to watch what it is like to walk among these unusual rocks in the video below.

Reservation Information

Spring and fall are perfect times to visit this park because of more moderate temperatures. It can get sizzling hot in summer and also very cold during the winter.

There are some beautiful campsites here. Make reservations by calling 800-322-3770. The video below shows some of the campsites. It also shows even more of what there is to do and see while visiting this remote park playground.

It would be fun to be able to spend several days hiking and playing in this area!

Bring Your Camera!

If you are a Hobbit fan or just like gremlins and goblins, be sure and make plans to visit this site. Be sure to bring your camera. It is a photographer's paradise!

Goblin Valley State Park and all of those unearthly rock creatures will remain in your memory long after you have finished your vacation in Utah. It has certainly done that for us!

Picture showing all of the people playing among the rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park.  Photo taken from the raised picnic area above.

Picture showing all of the people playing among the rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park. Photo taken from the raised picnic area above.

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Peggy Woods

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