Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park



By Grabthar’s hammer, by the sons of Worvan, you shall be avenged… Never give up! Never surrender! The movie “Galaxy Quest” is a cult sci-fi favorite starring Tim Allen, but from a scenic standpoint, what stands out is a sequence in the movie where a new fuel sphere needs to be obtained. Producers chose Goblin Valley State Park to create this scene because it naturally looks like an alien planet, but the reality is that it is one of the unique landscapes that Utah has to offer.

Located relatively near Capitol Reef National Park toward the east and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks toward the west, Goblin Valley State Park offers visitors a unique and rare landscape that can only be seen in a few places on this planet. Often compared with Martian landscapes, at Goblin Valley, you can walk amongst the sandstone goblins, explore the geology of the park, and even bed down at night with the stone trolls and goblins protecting you.

Maybe you’ll even see some Martians scurrying about!

What Does Goblin Valley State Park Offer?

The park was initially discovered in the 1920’s by Arthur Chaffin, who initially named the area Mushroom Valley. He and his partners were looking for a new route to take between Green River and Caineville. That area of Utah is extremely barren and even today, after you pass Green River on the I-70, you’ll go over 100 miles before reaching another place with services available. It took nearly 20 years for Chaffin to return to the area to photograph it, which he spent several days doing in 1949.

15 years later, the State of Utah obtained the land and declared that it would be a state park. It has been open to visitors since 1974. There are three primary hiking trails to enjoy within the park that lead you to various observation points that allow you to see the three primary valleys of hoodoos in their natural majesty and basic facilities available.

Remember To Drink Lots of Water!

A visit to Goblin Valley during the Summer months can make for a memorable experience, but it can also lead to a fast case of heat stroke! Desert temperatures routinely top 100F and with heat reflection, it can easily feel about 120F while you’re out hiking around to explore. It is recommended that all visitors drink a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day while visiting the park during these months.

The park is very open and the threat of thunderstorms, though uncommon, is very real. Lightning will strike high points and in the desert valleys where the sandstone trolls and goblins live, you will be one of the highest points around! Seek shelter immediately if a storm begins to form.

On the other extreme, desert winters can often become quite cold. Although moisture is fairly rare in this part of Utah, it does fall sometimes and this can lead to snowfall on the goblinesque landscapes, creating incredible photography opportunities!


Goblin Valley Offers a Unique Camping Experience!

You could bring your tents down to the park to camp or maybe even your RV… or you could choose to stay in one of the yurts that are offered. Equipped with bunk beds, a futon, and a table with four chairs, swamp coolers and gas heaters are provided as well depending on the season. It’s just a short walk to modern amenities if you’re staying at one of the two yurts, as they are part of a 24 site campground. Group camping is also available and pets are welcome in many parts of the park and campground.

It is $60-$65 per night to rent a yurt and reservations must be made through Reserve America. Other camping options are $18-$20 per night.

Are You Going to Goblin Valley?

You can reach Goblin Valley State Park by taking Utah Highway 24 that is east of Green River. The park itself is about midway between I-70 and the city of Hanksville. If you prefer modern lodging instead of camping, there are several options available in Green River for you to explore. Hanksville also has limited lodging options.

One thing is for certain about Goblin Valley State Park… it is as beautiful as much as it is bizarre. For that reason alone, it is well worth the $8 day use fee. Go horseback riding, take a hike on one of the trails on your own, or go explore the dirt roads that lead to other locations like Little Wild Horse Canyon, and enjoy one of the many gems that the State of Utah has to offer!

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