Goblin Valley is a great name, isn’t it? Along with being a Utah state park, Goblin Valley is also an interesting day trip from Moab. About 100 miles west of Moab, Goblin Valley is easily accessed right off the highway. Crazy hoodoo rock formations that look like goblins, a visitor center, overnight camping, slot canyons, and opportunities to play around and on the squat little “goblins” are all attractions that beckon.
photo: Alaskan Dude/Flickr
The first thing a visitor to Goblin Valley might wonder is if you’re still on this planet. The hoodoos seem completely unearthly and even a little spooky. Hollywood alien movies have been filmed here, so you might even think you’re stomping around some other planet. Three short established trails in the park allow you to look around, although you can also freely wander off trail. One cool thing the park lets people do is clamber around on the hoodoos. (Watch the great official Goblin Valley video for examples of how fun this can be!) Playing hide and seek among the hoodoos under a full moon is an especially memorable activity.
Two well-known, popular slot canyons also grace the vicinity: the Bell Canyon and Little Wild Horse Canyon loop. With the trailhead for these fairly easy hikes located just outside Goblin Valley itself, the loop makes for an exciting day’s adventure. You don’t need to be a canyoneering expert, as these are considered good for beginners and are not technical (no ropes needed).
Overnight camping in the park is permitted. Besides 24 campsites with cement pads, two new yurts can be reserved for large groups. Pets are allowed, hot showers are yours for the taking, and the lack of electricity means your evening treat is the star-studded night sky.
To get to Goblin Valley, head north out of Moab on US 191 until you read I-70. From there drive west to the junction with Highway 24. Turn south on 24 and go about 31 miles to the signed west turn that will take you into Goblin Valley State Park.