Goblin Valley-Utah

Hands down, one of our favorite parts of our trip through Utah! Playing with, jumping through, leaning against, and hugging the “goblins” aka 170 million-year-old hoodoos (eroded sandstone formations) is an otherworldly experience. So incredibly memorable!!

Many have seen hoodoos in places such as Bryce Canyon, but have you PLAYED in and with them?! Jumped off them? Here at Goblin Valley State Park, you can! And it’s kinda the coolest! (Big shout out and thanks to our dear friends Mark & Amy for telling us about this marvelously mysterious place! )We hit up Goblin Valley after Arches National Park and before Capital Reef National Park. It’s about an hour and 40 minutes south of Arches and 1.5 hours north of Capitol Reef.

It’s an easy to miss right-hand turn onto Temple Mount Road from Route 24. The park is about 12 miles down the unmarked dirt road. Keep going, it’s there, and don’t miss the “Three Sisters” on your left on the way in! The girls and I definitely thought they represented the three of us. (Love my little travel buddies!!)Pro tip: since you will probably not have any cell reception in this region of any kind, start your Google Maps when you do and then follow the dot aka you on the screen like an old school map.

*If you always plug your destination in when you have reception when you lose it you will always be able to still locate yourself even if the speaking directions stop. Just an old trick I picked up on the road 🙂If you’re National Park hopping, which most do in the area, we HIGHLY suggest you make the trip! It’s located in Green River, Utah, approximately 216 miles southeast of Salt Lake City and absolutely worth the mini detour!This is a state park and therefore not covered on an America The Beautiful Annual Park Pass, which I would suggest purchasing if you’re doing Utah’s “Mighty Five” (National Parks, which includes Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonland). Each park is roughly a $25-$30 entrance fee and the annual park pass that allows free entry to 2,000 parks nationwide is just $80. The fee to enter this state park was minimal, however…. $10! Perhaps the best $10 I’ve EVER spent on the kiddos!! None of us wanted to leave and I STILL dream about returning! There’s a free parking lot and it just a staircase down into this magical valley where you, your kids, and your imagination can run wild!!

This park is the epitome of the term “nature’s playground”. My daughters and I had an absolute ball playing hide and seek and climbing on the hoodoos. Each one had a unique, incredible shape, and indeed their own personality. The kiddos named them all and couldn’t get enough of discovering more. The funny figures seemed to go on for infinity!! The kids would’ve run all day here if I let them. I honestly wish I allotted more time for this park. I had no idea just how much we would love it here and how much we would enjoy just jumping and playing with our new goblin friends. No official trails make this the perfect park for self-exploration and for wee ones!I would absolutely recommend coming with a full tank of gas and with proper gear to camp out here under the stars!! Utah is home to nine International Dark-Sky Associations, more than any other state or region in the world! Because of the absence of light pollution, the stargazing is top-notch here. Download a stargazing app and keep your eyes peeled for the Milky Way!(photo courtesy of Flickr)

There are 24 sites and 2 yurts IN the park, although many folks were camping for free just outside the park entrance in a huge, wide-open space. Campers & tents alike. It’s all so incredibly freeing!

(photo from my Pinterest boards)

It’s a magical area, one I highly underrated and shouldn’t have. With so many places in this world on “the list”, this area is still one I would absolutely love to return… and stay a lot longer!

Goblin Valley is open 365 days a year! Spring and fall are ideal times to visit this park. We visited around 7:30 pm in April and the weather was absolute perfection! Mid 70’s and just so enjoyable!! Winter days are often mild and hiking can be enjoyable, but winter nights can be very cold, below freezing in fact! Summer days can be very hot. Early morning and late evenings are best at that time of year.

No matter when you visit, make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen regardless of outside temps, as the only shade for miles is in the shadows of the goblins! (Sounds so spooky!)

This was one of the most desolate areas we encountered while in the state. I’m talking not even radio stations, just Navajo tribal chanting, which we loved and really suggest you also tune in, and well, tune out.


Do all the cool shit,

XOX, Sar

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Sari Marissa aka Fab Philly Mom is passionate about sharing her travels and the fun she has in her city with her supportive husband and two super adventurous little girls.

Sari has traveled to 48 states, 36 National Parks, 25 countries, and 4 continents....so far!

Sari proudly recently graduated a 200hr YTT (yoga teacher training), was named Yelp’s Top Reviewer in Philly and has recently co-founded Philadelphia’s first official Challah For Hunger chapter.

There is never a time when Sari is not planning an adventure or discovering something awesome! Stay tuned...