Goblin Valley, Utah
After leaving Capitol Reef, we drove to Goblin Valley. Situated between Capitol Reef and Canyonlands, Goblin Valley is north of Hanksville, Utah. We turned north at Hanksville, and drove across flat land and fields toward the state park. This valley of eroded sandstone formations is small and contained, meaning you can roam freely without being afraid of getting lost.
Sandstone formations in Goblin Valley
The variety of features stimulates the imagination. We climbed over and under hoodoos, and looked for shapes that reminded us of something. Even though we reached this valley late in the day, and were tired from hiking around Capitol Reef National Park earlier, my kids were still having fun after an hour of scrambling around hoodoos.
A pair of ducks.
I thought this formation looked like a pair of ducks. I also found a penguin and a dog. This is a wonderful place to play. If your kids are wearing bright colors, it is easy to spot them against the sandstone landscape. You can always scramble to higher ground if you lose sight of someone.
A man named Arthur Chaffin explored Goblin Valley extensively, and photographed it, in the 1920s. He nicknamed the area "Mushroom Valley," and you can definitely see why.
The guys sample a mushroom in Goblin Valley.
This particular mushroom-shaped rock formation gave us an "Alice in Wonderland" moment. We had so much fun climbing around here. There is a surprising variety in the rock formations. Rock has eroded at different rates, sometimes leaving small, scattered hoodoos, and other times leaving tall formations that tower above you.
Wandering in Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley State Park is open year-round. However, during the winter season (November through February), the Visitor's Center may be closed during lunch hours or on an occasional day when the park is short staffed. We spent a couple hours here playing in the main valley of goblins before heading to Green River for dinner. Camping is available in the park, and there are hiking trails as well. This place was definitely a family favorite, and I expect we will plan some return visits to this park!