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Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley provides visitors a unique hiking experience, offering unlimited route options through several valleys filled with thousands of fascinating sandstone hoodoos. There is no dedicated trail amongst the hoodoos, making this place a hit for kids who will love playing amongst the whimsical rock formations. Time and distance hiked is up to you, but plan on spending at least an hour or more. Picnic facilities and a campground are available for those wishing to spend more time in the area.

Trailhead

Goblin Valley State Park is located southwest of Green River, Utah in the San Rafael Swell.

From Green River, Utah

  1. Drive west on Interstate 70 for about 11 miles to Exit 149 for Highway 24.
  2. Continue south on Highway 24 for approximately 24.2 miles.
  3. Turn west at the signed turnoff to Goblin Valley via the Temple Mountain Road.
  4. Drive 5.2 miles then turn south onto Goblin Valley Road.
  5. Continue for 6.4 miles to the entrance and fee station at Goblin Valley State Park. There is an $8 per-vehicle fee to enter the park.
  6. Continue 0.5 mile past the fee station then turn left.
  7. Continue 0.6 miles to the end of the road and parking area.

Vault toilets and picnic facilities are available at the parking area.

The Hike

From the parking area, begin hiking down the stairs heading south from the pavilion. From here, the possibilities for exploration are endless. The countless goblin-like rock formations found here are known as hoodoos and are how the area got its name. These fascinating formations are made of eroded Entrada sandstone—the same type of rock that creates the arches in Arches National Park. There are no designated trails through the goblins, which enhances the adventure and wilderness feel you will find here.

Children will particularly enjoy playing amongst the hoodoos, but keep an eye on them as some of the rocks may be unstable. Climbing on the hoodoos is not allowed, but there are plenty of smaller rock formations to play on and around.

While there are no official trails amongst the hoodoos, there are some general areas to focus on exploring. The first large area near the parking area is known as first valley. Further south are two more remote areas known as second and third valleys, respectively. These areas see only a fraction of the visitation as first valley, offering a bit of solitude and adventure to those who seek it. Many also consider the quality of the scenery to be significantly higher in the second and third valleys.

Access to second and third valley is easiest by walking south, traversing around the plateaus that separate the different areas. It is easy to become turned around amongst the hoodoos in Goblin Valley. Pay careful attention to landmarks as you hike, always maintaining a reference to the parking area. A GPS device may be helpful if you plan to explore far.

It is also possible to hike to the top of some of the plateaus between the valleys and get a birds eye view of the park. There are many route possibilities, but one of the most popular is found by heading toward the plateau southeast from the parking area, then northeast up the prominent drainage, eventually leading to the top. Do not ever attempt hiking anything that you do not feel comfortable with or that you may not be able to return from.

Ranger-guided hikes are sometimes available on weekends during peak season. Check the Goblin Valley State Park website or call (435) 275-4584 for more information.

Rules & Regulations

  • Open 7 a.m.–10 p.m. year-round.
  • Dogs allowed on leash.
  • Clean up after pets.
  • No littering.

Special Considerations

Goblin Valley can be very hot during the summer and in the middle of the day. No shade is available. Bring plenty of water for each member of your group. Hike in the morning or evening for cooler temperatures.

Credits

This trail guide provided by Backcountry Post.