Tom and I love to go to Goblin Valley State Park and when we were in Utah, we took a day to return there. It was our third visit – seems like we go every time we are in Utah!
Goblin Valley is different than any other place we have visited. Goblin Valley was in the news in 2013 when two Boy Scout leaders posted a video of themselves pushing over a rock that they thought was endangering other people. Their stunt with the rock led to a year’s probation and thousands of dollars in fines. It also got them dismissed as scout leaders. Goblin Valley was set aside as a state park in 1964 specifically to prevent this type of vandalism. We are thankful that most people are respectful of the park and the privilege of walking around the formations.
The rock formations in Goblin Valley are hoodoos that took millions of years to form. They are made of Entrada sandstone, with layers of siltstone and shale. The shapes are then rounded and formed by weather erosion. There are three valleys of goblins in a small area and you have to walk through each one to discover the next. Most people stand on the rim and look or walk down to the first valley. Tom and I, of course, had to walk around all three of the valleys.
We got to Goblin Valley just after a nice rain, which meant that the sandstone was as slippery as ice. We would step on an incline on the ground and just ski on down as the top layer slid over the drier bottom layer. Consequently we didn’t climb up and around as much as we usually do. After an hour of walking around, however, the ground dried out and we were able to be a little more adventurous.
We also took a hike around the back of Goblin Valley to a place called “Goblin’s Lair.” This was a wall of harder rock where boulders had broken off and fallen to the valley floor. There was a cave high up on the rock wall that looked like it might be a way through to Goblin Valley, but it was a sheer drop into the cave so we didn’t explore it.
Goblin Valley is part of the San Rafael Swell and is another wonderful area to explore. There is a campground and a nice visitor’s center. You can even rent a yurt for a night or a week in the campground. Be sure to visit if you are ever in the area – I’m sure we will be going again!