Goblin Valley State Park in Utah is a fun little park worth a stop for an hour or two. It is located in remote country but will be along your route if you are travelling between Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park and Capital Reef National Park. It is tailor made for younger kids through teenagers but adults will enjoy it as well.
The park is named for the thousands of oddly eroded sandstone rocks or hoodoos that fill the area. They are in such profusion that it would take all day to see them all, if then. But walking amongst them will reveal rocks in shapes that beg to be named or identified. Many look like goblins or alien heads and animals ranging from caterpillars to turtles. No matter what, you will see things you want to explore. Climbing on the rocks is a fun challenge for kids, but please have a careful adventure as falls could lead to injury.
Hot, Hot, Hot
Goblin’s Valley gets very hot in the summer months. Please take plenty of water. There is a decent primitive bathroom near the goblins and the entrance station where the entrance fee of $10 is collected has a better one.
Goblin’s Lair or Chamber of the Basilisk
Once known only to a few, the Goblin’s Lair (or alternately called Chamber of the Basilisk) is a slot canyon that can be repelled into but there is also a route to hike in. It has grown increasingly popular in recent years. Read about it here.
The comedy Galaxy Quest utilized this other-worldly landscape for the movie. Here are a couple of clips that were filmed in Goblin Valley. Don’t worry, there are no real rock monsters there (that I know of!).
Respect the Goblins
While enjoying Goblin Valley, please don’t deface or damage any of the landscape that has taken so long to be created, unlike these idiot boy scout leaders.
Nearby Slot Canyons
The San Rafael Swell is just to the west of Goblin Valley, and besides having lots of hiking options and natural bridges, it is well known for slot canyons. I haven’t had a chance to do any yet, a few to look for that are nearby and pretty easy to get to are Bell/Little Wild Horse, Ding/Dang, and Crack/Chute. The most visited due to its beauty and ease of exploring is Little Wild Horse Canyon. Check out my article on slot canyons.
Goblin Valley is about 100 miles west of Moab, Utah. From I-70, take exit 149 to go south on highway 24. Drive 50 miles and you will see a turnoff to your right for Goblin Valley State Park. You have to drive another 12 miles or so after turning off of UT-24.
If travelling from the west, Goblin Valley is about 60 miles from Capitol Reef National Park.
Read about other fun things to do in Utah here.