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For Spring Break this year, we took a road trip to Southeastern Utah for a little R&R.
The first 6 months of the year is my husband’s heavy time for his trucking company which takes him away for weeks at a time, so by April we were all in need of a family getaway. We were meeting up with my family in Moab that weekend but had an extra day off, so we decided to squeeze in an extra adventure and take the kids down to Goblin Valley.
I’m so glad we did.
I had gone to Goblin Valley many times growing up and even went to girls camp there when I was a teen.
When I think of sandstone goblins, visions of squealing girls playing flashlight tag and hormonal boy scouts squeakily singing “Red Rover” immediately come to my mind. I never realized until suggesting to my husband that we take the fam, that he had never been. “WHAT! You grew up in Utah and never saw Goblin Valley?” Oh man I wasn’t having that, so we packed up and hit the road.
The thought of a new place to discover made this trip a very fun adventure for my family.
It was special for me to watch my family experience a hoodoo for the first time and hear them make up tales to go with each funny little rock creature. I can’t believe it has taken me all these years to get them there!
Where has my brain been?
The incredible geological formations that make up Goblin Valley were created by wind and water. 170 million years ago, the park was covered with a huge inland sea. It’s mind-boggling to walk around the red sand and rock and think that there once was an ocean in this desert.
Scientists have been able to discover signs of the ebb and flow of tides, tidal channels, and sand dunes on the rock formations. As the water and wind deposited and eroded the Entrada sandstone, magic was created and the goblins slowly appeared.
You could come up with a really cool geology lesson to teach your kids at the park, peeps!
This place looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
It’s what I’d imagine Mars to look like.
While you are having your geology/science lesson don’t forget to point out the different kinds of cacti, russian thistle, juniper, pinyon, and the Mormon Tea.
I know, my nerd is showing, but I love that kind of stuff.
Thankfully my son does too, so I have someone to share with.
We nerds have to stick together.
Goblin Valley Details:
The park is in Emery County between Hanksville and Green River, Utah. You’ll reach the goblins by traveling I-70 to Highway 24. Take Highway 24 to Temple Mountain Junction (mile post 136), then go another 12 miles southwest to the park.
Day use fee is around $13.00
Camping starts at $25.00
Group Camping starts at $75.00 for up to 35 people
What to Bring-
Flashlights (flashlight tag!)
$ to buy Adventure Patches & souvenirs
There are 5 marked trails in the park: Carmel Canyon Loop, Curtis Bench, Entrada Canyon, The Three Sisters, and The Goblin’s Lair.
To find out more about each trail and it’s level of difficulty, go HERE.
The fun thing about Goblin Valley is you don’t have to even take a designated trail!
There are so many things to discover at the park that other than taking my son to see The Three Sisters we never took an actual hike. We just let the kids decide what they wanted to explore, and let them lead the way. Visitors pretty much get full run of the park. You can climb on the rocks, discover hidden caves and passageways, play frisbee during the day or flashlight tag when the sun goes down. They even have a free disc golf course!
I’m telling you, there is so much to do!
Things you Should Know-
Pets are allowed in the park but must be on a leash and plan on cleaning up after them
Speed limit is 15 mph
Park hours are 6am-10pm
Reservations can be made by calling 800-322-3770
There are public restrooms- we found one on the backside of the Ranger Station and another at the parking lot of the Valley of the Goblins
If you vandalize or litter, I will cut you… The Code, people! Follow the code!
Be prepared to see lots of dirt, lizards, creepy crawlies, & kids- if you don’t like those things, maybe this isn’t your bag, baby. Just saying.
I’m telling you, my kids did not stop running the ENTIRE afternoon.
They had so much fun exploring.
We picked up a map from the ranger station on our way in and each kid took turns playing tour guide.
They loved it and my husband and I enjoyed the lack of pressure to keep them entertained. It was kind of fun to be the ones entertained for once! They had us going for hours.
Because you’ll be running around a lot, bring more water than you think you’ll need. I’m dead serious, y’all. It’s a desert so it’s really hot and dry. I promise it’ll be worth the extra weight in your day-pack.
This park is so kid friendly.
Our family could discover, touch, learn, get dirty, and explore to our hearts content.
While my littles had a blast at the park, I think my soon-to-be teenager had even more fun. He found all sort of caves, tunnels, and rock formations and could have stayed hours longer just looking at what was around the next bend.
He even found this cool window in the cliff to peek out of.
I snapped all these pics with my cell phone camera so it’s kind of hard to get an idea of scale. (Someday I’ll haul my good camera everywhere, I swear.) Just picture in your mind a 6’2″ 12 year old with a 6’5″ wingspan poking through that hole in the mountain.
When the day was over and we were wore out, we hiked out to see The Three Sisters.
Seemed only fitting since we have 3 daughters.
It’s a short walk down a path just off the road near the entrance of Goblin Valley.
My trail conversation with my son consisted of greek mythology, Percy Jackson, and “dumb girls”.
That boy can say all he wants about his sisters being the ugly old Fates, but everybody knows he secretly loves them to pieces.
Poor kid can’t help himself.
He’s got big, loving, protective brother in his genes.
If you are planning a family road trip in Utah, Goblin Valley is a must visit!
Every kid deserves a chance to experience real life goblins and hoodoos at least once in their lifetime.
You won’t regret it.
We are always looking for new family adventures,
do you have a suggestion for where we should go next?