Goblin Valley State Park is a unique and stunning natural area located in the southeastern region of the state of Utah, United States. It is known for its otherworldly landscape filled with thousands of mushroom-shaped rock formations, often referred to as “hoodoos” or “goblins.” This park covers an area of approximately 3.7 square miles (9.6 square kilometers) and attracts visitors from around the world who come to witness its extraordinary geological features.

The distinctive formations in Goblin Valley State Park were created over millions of years of erosion, wind, and water action on the Entrada sandstone, which is characteristic of the region. The continuous weathering and sculpting of the rocks resulted in the creation of the park’s unique formations, which resemble creatures from another planet.

Exploring Goblin Valley State Park feels like stepping into a different world. The rugged and remote desert landscape, with its barren valleys and towering cliffs, adds to the park’s mystical charm. Visitors can wander through the maze-like network of sandstone goblins, each with its own peculiar shape and size. The park offers countless opportunities for hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts to immerse themselves in its surreal beauty.

One of the most popular activities in Goblin Valley State Park is simply wandering among the goblins and discovering their fascinating shapes and formations. The park encourages visitors to explore off-trail and enjoy the freedom of climbing and scrambling over the rocks. However, it’s important to respect the delicate nature of the formations and leave them undisturbed for others to appreciate.

In addition to hiking and exploring, the park offers camping facilities, picnic areas, and a visitor center where you can learn more about the park’s geology, history, and wildlife. The visitor center also provides information about the various trails and can help you plan your visit accordingly.

Goblin Valley State Park is open year-round, although the best time to visit is during the spring and fall when the temperatures are milder. Summers can be scorching, so it’s important to bring plenty of water and sun protection if visiting during that time.

Overall, Goblin Valley State Park offers a truly unique and otherworldly experience for nature lovers and adventurers. Its enchanting rock formations, dramatic landscapes, and sense of remoteness make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an extraordinary outdoor experience in Utah.

The Goblin Valley State Park Geological features

The goblin-like rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park were formed through a combination of geological processes over millions of years. The park is situated within the San Rafael Swell, a large geologic dome in central Utah. The rock formations primarily consist of sandstone, specifically the Entrada sandstone, which is known for its distinctive layers and durability.

The Entrada sandstone, which was deposited during the Jurassic period around 170 million years ago, serves as the foundation for the goblin formations. The sandstone layers were deposited in an ancient desert environment and subsequently buried by other sedimentary layers over time.

The shaping of the goblins began with the weathering of the rock by wind and water. Over time, the softer layers of the Entrada sandstone eroded more quickly, leaving behind the more resistant layers in mushroom-like shapes. These resistant layers acted as protective caps, sheltering the softer rock beneath them from further erosion.

The erosion processes primarily involve wind and water. Wind erosion, carried out by the prevailing winds in the area, gradually sculpts the rock formations, rounding their edges and creating unique shapes. Water erosion, although less significant in the arid climate of the region, also contributes to the shaping of the goblins through occasional flash floods and rainstorms.

The erosion processes in Goblin Valley State Park continue to shape the landscape, albeit at a slow pace. The fragile nature of the rock formations means that they are subject to ongoing weathering and occasional collapse. As a result, the park’s landscape is constantly evolving, with new goblins being formed and old ones eroding away.

In terms of cultural significance, Goblin Valley State Park has a rich history. The park’s unique rock formations have long captured the imagination of people, including Native American tribes who inhabited the area. The park’s location was used by Native Americans for thousands of years as a hunting ground and a place for spiritual rituals.

European settlers and explorers discovered the area in the late 19th century. Goblin Valley State Park itself was established in 1964 and has since become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, geologists, and photographers. Its distinctive landscape has been featured in several movies and commercials, further increasing its recognition and appeal.

The park’s name, “Goblin Valley,” was given due to the otherworldly appearance of the rock formations, which resemble fantastical creatures like goblins or mushrooms. This whimsical and mysterious quality adds to the park’s allure and makes it a unique natural wonder in the state of Utah.


How do I get to Goblin Valley State Park?

Goblin Valley State Park is located in southeastern Utah, about 190 miles (305 kilometers) southeast of Salt Lake City. You can reach the park by driving south on Interstate 15 and then taking Highway 24 east. The park entrance is well marked, and there are signs along the way to guide you.

Is there an entrance fee for Goblin Valley State Park?

Yes, there is an entrance fee to enter the park. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the fee for a standard vehicle was $15 per day. However, fees may change, so it’s a good idea to check the official Utah State Parks website for the most up-to-date information on entrance fees.

Are there camping facilities available in Goblin Valley State Park?

Yes, Goblin Valley State Park offers camping facilities. There is a campground within the park that provides both tent and RV camping options. The campground has basic amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons.

Can I hike in Goblin Valley State Park?

Yes, hiking is allowed in Goblin Valley State Park. There are several trails within the park, ranging from short walks to longer hikes. It’s important to stay on designated trails to protect the delicate formations and avoid getting lost in the maze-like goblin valley.

Are pets allowed in Goblin Valley State Park?

Yes, pets are allowed in Goblin Valley State Park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. It’s important to clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly. Certain areas within the park, such as the goblin valley area, may have restrictions on pets to protect the delicate formations.

Can I climb on the rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park?

Climbing on the rock formations within Goblin Valley State Park is generally allowed. The park encourages visitors to explore and climb on the rocks. However, it’s important to be respectful of the fragile formations and avoid causing any damage. It is prohibited to carve or deface the rocks in any way.

What is the best time of year to visit Goblin Valley State Park?

The best time to visit Goblin Valley State Park is during the spring and fall seasons when the temperatures are more moderate. Summers can be extremely hot, with temperatures reaching well over 100°F (38°C). Winters can be cold, and snowfall is possible. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before planning your visit.

Are there any guided tours available in Goblin Valley State Park?

At the time of my knowledge cutoff, Goblin Valley State Park did not offer guided tours. However, the park provides informational brochures, and the visitor center staff can offer guidance and answer questions about the park’s features and trails.

Are there any accommodations near Goblin Valley State Park?

While there are no lodging options within Goblin Valley State Park, there are various accommodations available in nearby towns such as Green River and Hanksville. These include hotels, motels, and guesthouses. Additionally, there are opportunities for camping and RV parks in the surrounding area.

Can I visit Goblin Valley State Park in a day, or should I plan for multiple days?

Many visitors find that a day trip to Goblin Valley State Park is sufficient to explore the main attractions and enjoy the unique landscape. However, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the park’s beauty and have more time for hiking and camping, you may consider staying overnight or for a couple of days. The choice ultimately depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in during your visit.