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Goblin Valley State Park in Utah - Unearthly Gremlin Creatures Abound!

Updated on July 31, 2017
Peggy W profile image

Utah is a fantastic state filled with natural wonders including many beautiful state and national parks. We loved vacationing there!

Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park | Source

Goblin Valley State Park

If you wish to see unearthly and imaginary creatures composed out of rock formations then Goblin Valley State Park in Utah is a must see adventure for your entire family.

It is located between Capitol Reef National Park and Arches National Park.

Some fellow vacationers going the opposite direction told us to make a point of taking the detour off of Highway 24 onto the unpaved road and follow the signs to see the Goblin Valley State Park. They made it sound interesting enough that we decided to take their advice.

We had just enjoyed sightseeing in the unbelievably beautiful Capitol Reef National Park and were on our way to see both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Had we not been tipped off by those fellow vacationers, we probably would have not taken the time to take this side trip which turned out to be of so much interest.

Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park | Source

As we approached the area and got closer we began to see some unique outcroppings of very unusual goblin like creatures sitting upon a flat surface of rock. They appeared as though some giant child had formed these sentries while playing with silly putty and they were just the beginning of what we were to see.

On the left hand side of the photo above that formation is commonly referred to as the three sisters.

Road grader at work on the road we took to get to the Goblin Valley State Park.
Road grader at work on the road we took to get to the Goblin Valley State Park. | Source

The 10 mile one-way unpaved road was being newly graded and we followed the dirt path not knowing exactly what to expect. This was back in July of 1991. The road may be paved by now, but I doubt it due to its remoteness from more heavily trafficked areas.

Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park | Source

As we got to the main viewing area, there is a raised shelter with picnic tables where one can look down upon this out of this world sight.

On the smooth earthen floor appears countless unearthly formations all cast in stone. Stones piled upon other stones form images of creatures of every type imagining. Many appear like mushrooms with others like the goblins for which the state park is named.

In the late 1920's when Arthur Chaffin first discovered this place he called it Mushroom Valley.

Source

Off the Beaten Path

Goblin Valley State Park is one of those places that one could easily miss seeing as it is definitely off the beaten path.

Just imagine what the first people who discovered it must have thought!

Many people, both children and adults were exploring and climbing upon the rocks but looked like midgets playing in that giant child's silly putty city as seen from the overlook.

There are no specific trails throughout this maze on the valley floor but the higher overlook picnic area can always be the guidepost to getting one safely back to one's car.

It it was not for that point of reference it would be easy to get lost among this wide array of scattered rock formations.

Take a bit of time to watch what it is like to walk among these unusual rocks in the video below.

The seasons of spring and fall are perfect times to visit this park because of more moderate temperatures. It can get sizzling hot in summer and also very cold during the winter.

There are some nice campsites here. Reservations can be made by calling this number: 800-322-3770.

It would really be fun to be able to spend several days hiking and playing in this area!

The video below shows some of the campsites and shows even more of what there is to do and see while visiting this remote park playground.

If you are a Hobbit fan or just like gremlins and goblins, be sure and make plans to visit this site.

Be sure and bring your camera. It is a photographer's paradise!

Goblin Valley State Park and all of those unearthly rock creatures will remain in your memory long after you have finished your vacation in Utah. It has certainly done that for us!

Picture showing all of the people playing among the rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park.  Photo taken from the raised picnic area above.
Picture showing all of the people playing among the rock formations in Goblin Valley State Park. Photo taken from the raised picnic area above. | Source

If you were in the area would you take a detour to see Goblin Valley State Park?

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Source
A markerGoblin Valley State Park -
Goblin Valley State Park, Green River, UT 84525, USA
get directions

© 2008 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Athlyn,

      So glad that I could take you along on a virtual trip to Goblin Valley State Park. You must have some interesting formations up there in Alberta if this reminded you of them.

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 2 months ago from West Kootenays

      This reminded me of the formations in Alberta.

      I can see why Goblin was originally called Mushroom Valley--amazing what wind and sand can carve from the existing landscape.

      By means of your photos and descriptions, it was like traveling there.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dale, The place on Catalina Island must be something if this Goblin Valley State Park reminds you of it. Strange that you cannot successfully get a photo of that one rock.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 2 months ago from The High Seas

      Wow this looks like a really cool place. It reminds me of a spot on Catalina Island off the coast of California. There is a rock there that, to me at least, looks exactly like a bear sitting upright. Must have some kind of Voodoo curse or something on it though because, every time I take a picture of it with my phone, my phone breaks and I lose the picture. I suspect that, at this point, my wife thinks I am making the whole thing up.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Susie,

      Yes I think you are correct! Those are a lot of goblin shapes all in one place. It probably makes Him smile.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 3 months ago from Minnesota

      Peg, I very much enjoyed learning about learning about Goblin Valley State Park. I have never in all my days seen so many rocks that look like 'goblins'. I believe God has a seen of humor.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nell,

      It was a delight getting to see the Goblin Valley State Park. Nature is truly amazing!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      It is true that for most sectors of Houston the economy is good. Those working for oil companies have been hurt in the last few years because of low oil prices worldwide. Houston's economy is diversified enough now compared to years ago in the past when it would have hurt the economy even more.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 months ago from England

      Nature is great isn't it? I would love to visit here! what a great day out!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

      I visited Houston on a day trip during the oil boom. At the time it looked more like the TV show Dallas, than Dallas. Glad Houston is doing well.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      People surely do get excited about the Super Bowl no matter where it is held. Undoubtedly Houston will host it again. We have so many different venues + the hotel space for people to enjoy.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 3 months ago

      The Super Bowl may be an anomaly. Hosting a Super Bowl guarantees a certain amount of money. On top of that there are only a few cities that have a stadium suitable for a Super Bowl. So Houston will likely host the Super Bowl again before too long.

      Then again hosting the Olympics use to be a losing proposition until they figured out a way to make it profitable.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      Such fairs are not always profitable at the time with what cities have to spend in hosting them. What I meant is that often after the fact the venues created for the different events take on a life of their own and remain a part of the city landscape. Some of them of course are only temporary and are torn down after the events are over. For the fairly recent Super Bowl in Houston we now have many more downtown hotels as an example.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

      Yes, I enjoyed being there. It also brought back memories of the World's Fair in New York. Actually the World's Fair in Knoxville, as with the 2 World's Fairs in New York were financial busts. The one in New Orleans took the cake. They closed down after taking heavy losses. New Orleans had hoped their being a more interesting venue would save their fair from having the same fate as the one in Knoxville.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      That must have been fun! Many cities after events like that are over use those venues for other purposes. Often it is a boon to the local economy which has lasting impact.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

      On my trip from San Antonion to New York I stayed overnight in Knoxville and was fortunate enough to see the World's Fair.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      I agree with you that having other people along when doing a road trip is much more fun because of sharing experiences together. On some occasions if enough time is allotted extras can be worked into the schedule. Such was the case with visiting Goblin State Park.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

      Yes, I can see where that was a wonderful road trip. I'm a point A to point B type of driver. You trip also had the advantage of having someone else in the car.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      My big cross country road trip was from Houston to California and back with a long time girl friend of mine from our OR nursing days. We visited 10 national parks + some state parks in a period of about 2 1/2 weeks. That was our main focus for the trip. It was fabulous! Death Valley is absolutely amazing! As to Utah, my mother, niece and I spent one vacation visiting all 5 of the national parks + some state parks & other locations in Utah. Love doing sightseeing vacations like that!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

      Never been to Death Valley. The only time I went cross country I took the I-80 route. I did make the drive from Texas to New York, but that's another story.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      You are correct in what you said. There are so many spectacular sites in Utah and the western states that could all be described in that manner. Have you ever seen the salt formations in Death Valley?

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 4 months ago

      It's curious you use the word "unearthly". I drove through another part of Utah, I-80. When I was driving through the salt flats I thought it looked unearthly. I guess Utah and other western states have many unearthly things to see.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      Still not sure which rock you meant as there were a number of videos, but with many of the rocks balanced as they are, seemingly on top of one another, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Goblin Valley State Park is quite a place!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      I stand corrected: The rock that was toppled over is the one on the video, not your photo; sorry....

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      I did not hear that particular news item but it does not surprise me. This is a great area for rock climbing but one needs to use common sense. It is an amazing place! Glad you have gotten to see it in person. Thanks for your votes, pin and share.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      One of my daughters and I visited this strange, but beautiful park several years ago, I have many photos of these curious rocks.

      You may have read the story in the news about the two idiots that toppled over the large rock that sat on top of the other rock. I believe it was the one in your photo.

      Voted this Hub UP, etc.etc. and shared. Will also Pin to my travel board.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      You would have loved visiting here. Great place for an entire day of climbing, playing hide and seek, etc. We have to thank those fellow travelers who told us about it! It is worth the detour to see. Thanks for sharing this information with others.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      What a strange place! So many times I visited Arches National Park and took visitors there and never even knew this place existed! Such a strange place and so interesting. Great photos, videos, etc., as usual. Pinned this article to my 'Travel' board, gave you 5 more stars, voted this hub up, interesting and awesome, and will share.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi alocsin,

      Goblin Valley State Park is amazing. Seeing the people amidst the interesting rocks does give one perspective as to scale. Ah...so you like Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" composition. I also thought it appropriate. Thanks for your comment.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What a great name for a park. That final picture of people playing among the rocks gives a sense of scale to those giant formations. FYI, the music in the last video is appropriately enough from Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King."

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Don,

      Goblin Valley State Park is well worth a detour between the national parks of Capitol Reef and Arches. Looks like it would be a great place for those people who like to camp! Thanks for your comment and votes. Merry Christmas!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It has been a long time since I have been in Utah but what I remember was interesting. If I ever get there again I'll try to see the goblin park.Voted up,interesting and beautiful.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Gus,

      Glad you liked this hub about Goblin Valley State Park...one of Utah's amazing sites and a fun playground of sorts. As far as running out of breath...am sure some of the people playing in the Goblin Valley State Park have done that. Haha! Thanks for your comment.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 5 years ago from USA

      Howdy Peggy W - You know something? A person could easily run clean out of breath trying to keep up with that wonderful camera of yours. Another fun hub for you here, Peggy...

      Gus :-)))

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Eiddwen,

      These old pictures were taken with a Canon 35mm camera...nothing fancy. Now I use just a Panasonic digital camera that cost less than $200. It has features that I have never even used. I'm pretty much a point and shoot kind of gal using a zoom lens on occasion.

      These rocks are even more colorful than portrayed here because the photos were somewhat faded. If I have time I can use some photo editing to bring them back to life. All I need is time! Ha!

      Glad you liked this one about Goblin Valley State Park. It is certainly an unusual outcropping of rocks in Utah!

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Hi Peggy,

      Another great one to bookmark, I love all your hubs and I was just wondering ; Do you have a super duper camera or just an average one.

      I'm only curious because all your photos are amazing.

      Your niece is a very pretty young lady, thank you for sharing this hub again.

      Take care

      Eiddwen.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Linda Peterson,

      That is typical of youngsters. We generally care to learn more about our relatives when we are older, and by then, many of them are already gone.

      Did your great grandfather also visit or live at one time near the Goblin Valley State Park in Utah?

    • profile image

      Linda Peterson 6 years ago

      This is so interesting. I have just started searching information about my great grandfather whom I always found fascinating. His name is Arthur Chaffin. His daughter Gladys Smith was my Grandmother. I knew he ran the first ferry at Hite,Lake Powell but had no Idea all the other important things he did in his life. Too bad when we are young that we don't think to really question our relatives lifes.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Tony,

      Visiting the Goblin Valley State Park was merely a side adventure to all 5 of the National Parks that we visited in the State of Utah one summer, but it was certainly interesting! Glad you liked this. Love and peace to you!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      This was a wonderful Hub to read and the pix are awesome! Thanks for sharing this about a place I have never heard of before. Would love to see it.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Arnim Walter,

      Wow! You have certainly has some unique experiences in the Goblin Valley State Park in Utah! Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Arnim Walter 6 years ago

      My photography students and I visited the goblins in 1976 from Canada. The students liked the night time, when the goblins spooked them in moonlight. The last time I was there with my wife. While we were cooking our supper during a thunderstorm,lightning hit the valley, and storm blew the pots off the camp stove.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi habee,

      Goblin Valley State Park in Utah is indeed a "neat place!"

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Neat place!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Video Express,

      I agree that with three boys...Goblin Valley State Park in Utah would be a great playground for them. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Video Express profile image

      Video Express 7 years ago from Boston, MA

      Great pictures. I have three boys and this place would be a ton of fun.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello loveroflife,

      Yes, Goblin Valley State Park in Utah is amazing...but as you say...there are many such spots in that state along with breathtakingly beautiful ones as well. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      loveroflife 8 years ago

      Another amazing scenic spot in Utah. Thanks.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello qlcoach,

      Happy that you liked this hub about Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. It really is an amazing place.

      BTW...clicked on your link above & it said the hub does not exist. But by clicking on your avatar, it shows that hub. Will go read it now. Thanks for commenting.

    • qlcoach profile image

      Gary Eby 8 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

      Beautiful, Beautiful! I love nature and this park is an amazing place. Great videos too. Hope you will visit my new HUB about cruising: http://hubpages.com/hub/ebywaycruise. Enjoy my video too about Dreams the Eby Way....Gary.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi frogyfish, It certainly is unusual. Glad we stumbled upon it and could share it with you and others. Thanks for commenting.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Really strange, unusual, and most interesting rock formations. It does deserve its name. Imagine h o w it all came to be! Thanks for very interesting hub!

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Journey, Glad you liked it.

    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      We were staying in the same motel with other travelers and we were both visiting National Parks in Utah but were each going in opposite directions. So we shared additional information with one another as to things not to miss seeing. That is how we were introduced to the Goblin State Park. Would undoubtedly have passed it by without checking it out as it was an out of the way location. We were happy to have heard about it and perhaps they investigated sites we also told them not to miss. Glad you liked viewing and hearing about this.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 8 years ago from USA

      This is very interesting, Peggy W. Thanks for posting this article and the photos!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Never heard of this place before. Thanks for sharing it with us :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Laughing Mom, Thanks for following Teresa. I feel certain you would enjoy this even better in person than just seeing the photos. It is an "out of this world" experience. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Teresa, This was an out of the way place compared to all the great National Parks in Utah, but worth a visit for sure. If you are in the area, be sure and make the side-trip to see it. Thanks for commenting.

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 8 years ago

      I followed Teresa over here. This looks like a place I'd love to explore!!

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 8 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Graet photos -- glad I found this one: you are really making me itch to travel again. . . .

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Sounds like a great place, C.C. Riter. Any chance that you will write about it? Did you take any photos?

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 8 years ago

      Wow! that is beautiful. I must try to get ther myself. Pgrundy is right in her assement of you niece, very cute. This is what we peripatetic fools find. The bestest of places. i have one I love in KY, the Natural Bridge State Park in Daniel Boone Nat'l Forest.

      Thanks, great hub

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello MellasViews, Had it not been for the tip of another tourist, we would have missed seeing this park as our focus was in visiting the National Parks of Utah. Most unusual, but definitely worth a visit!

      And greetings, Amanda! Thanks for commenting. If you ever decide to visit this park, be SURE and visit some of the others. Utah is a paradise of parks!

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      Amazing! The wonders of nature. It looks like a great place to visit. Thanks for posting.

    • MellasViews profile image

      MellasViews 8 years ago from Earth

      wow... what a gorgeous looking place to visit. And yes, the photos do look like faces carved out in the sides of some of those rocks! Amazing pics!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks Celesta. We saw no snakes, but of course it was daytime with many people scrambling over the rocks and making lots of noise. Nighttime is probably very different!

    • profile image

      Celesta 8 years ago

      Awesome! I would love to take a tour through this great park, but because of my fear of rattlesnakes, I will settle for this tour. Ha!

      You are writing some good stuff.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Most unusual beauty in these rocks, for sure! The vast majority of the State of Utah is set aside in public lands. It amazed us at just how DIFFERENT the rocks looked in each of the national and state parks. Some have such majesty and are cathedral-like and awe inspiring, and others.......like here........well...........moulded silly putty was my best description.

      Thanks for the comment regarding my niece. We enjoyed many summer vacations together and they are now fond memories. I am getting to relive those trips by writing these hubs. By-the-way, she is now a young lady and the mother of her own beautiful daughter.

    • profile image

      pgrundy 8 years ago

      What a beautiful place! Love the photos of your niece too--what a cutie! Thanks Peggy. (o: