Where is Goblin Valley State Park
Contained within the San Rafael Desert in Southern Utah, Goblin Valley State Park features over thousands of hoodoos. These hoodoos are also referred to as goblins and give the state park its name. Goblin Valley US State Park lies about 190 miles away from Bryce Canyon National Park; another hoodoo hotspot. Just North of the Henry Mountains, the park lies near Utah State Route 24 and Hanksville. The park is four miles West of the road and 12 miles North of the city.
How Big is Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park rests entirely within the state of Utah and in the San Rafael Desert. The park covers over 9,900 acres and receives an annual visitation of over 260,000 visitors. The park is maintained and managed by the Utah State Park system. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna species. The park’s premier attraction is its namesake Valley of Goblins and the park also offers six other miles of hiking trails.
Goblin Valley State Park Weather
The climate of Goblin Valley State Park is normally dry and hot. The park averages only around 20 days of rain every year. Summer temperatures in the park approach temperatures of 95 degrees and hotter. June, July, and August are the hottest months in Goblin Valley State Park. On the other hand, winter lows can approach 15 degrees in December and January. Spring and fall in the park are quite mild and provide cool temperatures that attract a high number of visitors. Temperatures can change drastically from day to night in the park.
When did Goblin Valley Become a State Park
Goblin Valley State Park expanded by adding over 6,000 acres last year in 2019. The park, which eventually was designated a part of the Utah State Park system on August 24, 1964, contains evidence of several Native American Cultures. These cultures include Fremont, Paiute, and Ute. Pictographs and petroglyphs are frequently found within the park.
Things to do in Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park provides visitors with a variety of recreation opportunities. The most popular of these opportunities and adventures are listed below:
Valley of Goblins
There is a reason the valley is called Goblin Valley State Park. This valley is the park’s premier attraction and provides access to a variety of the park’s other attractions. A goblin or hoodoo is a mushroom-shaped rock pinnacle. These formations are the product of soft sandstone below a layer of erosion-resistant rock.
The Goblin’s Lair
The Goblin’s lair is located near the park’s eastern boundary. This massive formation is a slot canyon that has had its entrance sealed by a rock fall. The Goblin’s lair was once a park secret, but visitors are now guided to the entrance of the lair by a marked trail. The trail begins at observation point.
The Carmel Canyon Loop
Visitors venturing to The Goblin’s Lair will encounter The Carmel Canyon Loop on their way. This hiking loop is best hiked in the evening when dramatic light shines upon the carmel goblin formation. The trail also provides views of Molly’s Castle and the Three Sisters. The trail is 1.5 miles round trip.
The Entrada Canyon Trail runs from the group campsite area to the observation point parking lot. The trail provides access to a variety of goblin formations that otherwise remain unseen by visitors. The trail is 1.5 miles one way.
The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters ranks high on the List of Parks attractions to see. The most iconic formation in the park, the Three Sisters is often featured in photographs of Goblin Valley State Park. The formation can be seen by visitors driving towards Observation Point but can also be accessed by a short trail located near a side of the road parking area.
Aside from hiking, the park also offers several canyoneering opportunities for its most daring visitors. One of the park’s most popular routes includes descending into the Goblin’s Lair.
The Wild Horse Mountain Biking Trail System located in Goblin Valley State Park was unveiled in 2015. The system includes five different loops and brings visitors into a completely different portion of the park.
Located in the campground area, the park’s disc golf course features 9 rough, but scenic holes. The park’s visitor center will provide course maps and discs for a small fee of $1.00 each.
The wildlife in Goblin Valley State Park consists of several desert species. The most popular of these species include pronghorns, jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, coyotes, and kit foxes. The park is also home to several flora species including the Mormon tea, Russian thistle, and Indian rice grass.
Camping in Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park contains one campground. The campground consists of 25 sites and two yurts. The campground contains 10 tent sites, 14 RV sites, and one group site. The park’s yurts are complete with bunk beds, a seating area, and porch. Camping reservations can be made online.
When to go to Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park sees the majority of its visitors in spring and fall. However, the park can be visited all year long. The summer heat brings additional challenges for those looking to hike or camp in the park. Winter is another popular time to visit the park. Visitors looking to avoid the crowds the park draws in fall or spring should plan to visit in the winter or summer.
Must-Have Things to Bring to Goblin Valley State Park
There are a few things anyone looking to visit Goblin Valley State Park should bring with them. Our National Park Visitors Guide has outlined the most important of these supplies below:
Every trip outdoors requires water. A trip to Goblin Valley State Park in any season, but especially in the summer requires more water. It is recommended that every camper and hiker have one gallon of water for every day they plan to stay in the park. Several areas in the park contain bathroom access but no water. It is important that visitors to the park bring their own water with them.
Inside the park there are no options to obtain food or snacks. Visitors to the park should bring all of their snacks and meals with them. Hikers should look to bring light, energy filled snacks like beef jerky, trail mix, and fruit.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
Several areas within Goblin Valley State Park consist of treacherous terrain. A sturdy pair of hiking boots is recommended for any visitor of the park. Hikers will want to invest in a lightweight and breathable pair for added comfort.
Multiple Clothing Layers
Temperatures in the park change frequently from day to night. Visitors, hikers and campers especially, will want to wear a series of layers to the park. These layers will allow visitors to adjust their body’s temperature simply by adding and removing layers.
Sunscreen, Sunglass, and a Hat
The sun in Goblin Valley State Park can be scorching. Visitors to the park should plan to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect themselves from the sun’s rays.
While dramatic and interesting when explored up close, several areas of Goblin Valley State Park can look the same. The best way to avoid getting disoriented or lost in these areas is to bring the proper maps along with you. The park’s visitor center and website has several maps available for visitor use.
Where to Stay in Goblin Valley State Park
Visitors looking to stay within Goblin Valley State Park will want to make a camping reservation online. Camping costs are $30 per night and yurt reservation costs vary from season to season. Visitors looking to stay in a nearby hotel or other lodging facility will want to check out Hanksville. The town is 12 miles from the park.
Food Nearby Goblin Valley State Park
The closest food to Goblin Valley State Park can be found in Hanksville. The town has a few restaurants and grocery stores that can feed and resupply even the hungriest of campers. Visitors looking to drive further will want to visit Moab. The hiker’s paradise is located about 100 miles from the park and requires an hour and half drive to reach.
Airports near Goblin Valley State Park
The closest airport to Goblin Valley State Park is located in Moab. The airport is about an hour and half away. Other airports in the area include McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and the Salt Lake City International Airport. The Las Vegas airport is 6 hours and 436 miles away. The Salt Lake City airport is 228 miles and about a three- and half-hour drive from Goblin Valley State Park.