Goblin Valley State Park is located about midway between I-70 and the city of Hanksville near Capitol Reef National Park toward the east, and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks toward the west. The park is approximately 216 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
The park contains thousands of tall, thin spires (hoodoos) rising up from the bottom of the badlands. The surreal and wonderfully grotesque stone sandstone sculptures formed by blowing winds over millions of years are thought to look like goblins, among other shapes.
Known for centuries by the local Native Americans, and cowboys roaming the range for cattle, the park’s discovery was attributed to Arthur Chaffin, the owner/operator of the Hite ferry while looking for a new route to take between Green River and Caineville in the 1920s.
Initially calling the area “Mushroom Valley” Chaffin returned to the area in 1949 to explore and photograph the odd beauty of its eroded cliffs.
The State of Utah acquired the property and designated it a state park on August 24, 1964. Ten years later the area was opened to the public.
Located 5000 feet above sea level, Goblin Valley has three marked hiking trails that takes hikers to observation points where they can view the three primary valleys in the park.
Visitors to the park are advised to drink a minimum of 1 gallon of water a day to avoid dehydration due to the extreme desert temperatures that can easily surpass 100 degrees in the summer. In addition, hikers are warned to seek shelter and avoid high points during thunderstorms.
The nearest bright lights are 10 miles away so visitors who stay overnight can be assured complete darkness and incredible views of the stars above.
The park is also noted for several walls of petroglyphs and pictographs, ancient evidence of Fremont, Paiute and other Native American residents.
Open year round, the 3,654-acre park has a 25-unit campground but there is also lodging in nearby Hanksville, just twelve miles from the park.
NOTE: The alien-like landscape of Goblin Valley was featured in the cult sci-fi movie “Galaxy Quest” (1999) starring Tim Allen.
Goblin Valley State Park
PO Box 637
Green River, UT 84525