Goblin Valley State Park, UT
Strange and Unique Rock Sculptures
Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons
Goblin Valley State Park is inhabited by strange and unique rock sculptures, carved by wind and water, that suggest mischievous goblins and phantasmagoric creatures. It also contains colorful chocolate-colored balanced rocks, spires and pedestals amidst the solitude of the Great Basin Desert.
The valley, which is only about a mile across and two miles long, is full of thousands of mushroom-shaped pinnacles a few feet high. These pinnacles are composed of large, orange-brown boulders of hard rock atop weaker sandy layers which have eroded more quickly. Goblin Valley State Park is located in Emery County between the towns of Green River and Hanksville. Follow Utah Highway 24 to Temple Mountain Junction and proceed 14 miles southwest on a surfaced and improved gravel road. The park encompasses 3,014 acres.
Secluded Goblin Valley was first discovered by cowboys searching for cattle. Then in the late 1920s, Arthur Chaffin, owner/operator of the Hite Ferry (a ferry used to shuttle people across the Colorado River), and two companions were searching for an alternative route between Green River and Cainsville. They came to a vantage point about a mile west of Goblin Valley and were awed by what they saw – five buttes and a valley of strangely shaped rock formations surrounded by a wall of eroded cliffs.
In 1949, Chaffin returned to the area he called Mushroom Valley. He spent several days exploring the mysterious valley and photographing its scores of intricately eroded creatures. Publicity attracted visitors to the valley despite its remoteness. In 1954, it was proposed that Goblin Valley be protected from vandalism. The state of Utah later acquired the property and established Goblin Valley State Reserve. It was officially designated a state park on August 24, 1964.
Purchase your Parks Pass
Day-use fee: $10; $5 Utah seniors 62 and older
Main Campground: $23 ($11 extra vehicle fee)
Group Overnight Camping:
Group Campground: $75 for up to 35 persons, $3 per person after that. (8 vehicles or 4 RVs max)
The Visitor Center is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. However, during winter months (Nov - Feb), the Visitor Center may be closed for short periods while staff is away at lunch or on park business, and occasionally may be closed all day if no staff is available.
Picnicking: An area with picnic tables, fire pit, barbecue grills and electricity is also available for picnicking and group outings.
There is no lodging available in the park. Check Green River, UT for motel information.
The campground at Goblin Valley State Park consists of 25 sites and two yurts. The campsites are divided into ten walk-in tent pads, fourteen RV spaces, and one group site able to accommodate up to 35 people. Showers and flush toilets, as well as a communal water and dump station are all available free of charge. All sites contain a picnic table, metal fire ring, and shade shelter.
The camping charge per night is $23.00, which includes the park’s $10.00 entry fee. An extra vehicle may be brought in for an additional $11.00 per night. While not located in the Valley of Goblins itself, the campground is nonetheless surrounded by interesting rock formations that invite exploration of their own.
Back-in sites are available and can accommodate RVs up to 59 feet. No hookups. There is a sewage disposal station.
Group Overnight Camping is available.
800-322-3770 (toll-free from outside the Salt Lake City area)
801-322-3770 (from within the Salt Lake City area)
Summer - Temperatures can reach to 90s to low 100s
during the day and fall to the mid 60s at night. Afternoon
thundershowers in late summer cool temperatures
dramatically, but also bring danger of lightning strikes and
flash flooding in nearby slot canyons.
Spring and Autumn - Variable weather. Days are often sunny and warm, nights clear and cool. Be prepared for abrupt changes, including strong winds, rain, hail and occasional snow.
Winter - Colder temperatures and occasional snow. Temperatures are above freezing most days, but often drop into the teens and single digits at night.
Things to Do
Auto / 4WD Touring
Adjacent to the park, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts will find hundreds of miles of dirt roads to explore.The land west of the park, the San Rafael wilderness, is like much of southern Utah – it is remote and beautiful, traversed only by a few dirt tracks – 4WD vehicles are advised.
Goblin Valley allows visitors to explore and meander among and in between the goblins, and offers three trails:
Carmel Canyon - A 1.5-mile moderately strenuous loop leading from the parking area to the desert floor. Along the way, visitors see Goblin Valley from different perspectives. Optional hike to Molly's Castle Overlook.
Curtis Bench - A fairly easy 2.1-mile out and back trail that follows the Curtis formation. The trail offers a unique overview of Goblin Valley as well as spectacular views of the Henry Mountains.
Entrada Canyon - An adventuresome, moderately strenuous 1.3-mile one-way trail from the campground to the goblins and back. The trail follows a natural drainage that lends itself to those who enjoy discovering what is around the next corner
Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons
South of Goblin Valley, Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons cut narrow slots through the San Rafael Reef. A popular hiking route loop starts in Little Wild Horse Canyon and returns to the Little Wild Horse Canyon Trailhead via Bell Canyon. The hike requires some scrambling over large boulders and squeezing through narrow spots. Do not attempt this hike if there is a possibility of flash flooding. The trailhead, with its bulletin board, parking area and toilet is 5.3 miles south of the Goblin Valley entrance station. The dirt road south of Goblin Valley is rough, sandy, and subject to washouts.
Resources & Nearby Attractions
Cities & Towns
- Green River, Utah: 48 miles north
- Hanksville, Utah: 24 miles south
- Caineville, Utah: 54 miles southwest
- Moab, Utah: 95 miles east
Parks & Monuments
- Arches National Park: 97 miles east
- Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky): 121 miles east
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: 140 miles southwest.
- Capitol Reef National Park: 74 miles southwest
- Natural Bridges National Monument: 135 miles southeast
- Green River State Park: 36 miles north.
Recreation & Wilderness Areas
- Glen Canyon NRA (Hite Marina): 80 miles southeast
- Glen Canyon NRA (Bullfrog Marina): 106 miles southwest
Historic & Points of Interest
- Anasazi Indian Village: 120 miles south in Boulder.
- Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry: 78 miles north
Goblin Valley State Park
P.O. Box 637
Green River, UT 84525-0637
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