Smooth, bulbous, oddly-shaped, free-form rock formations are the lure of Goblin Valley State Park. Small holes in some of the formations make them look like petrified goblins, hence the park’s name. Scores of these intricately eroded creatures greet visitors to Goblin Valley and the vast landscape of sandstone goblins may have visitors wondering if they’re in Mars or Utah.
Galaxy Quest, the movie, was filmed at Goblin Valley State Park because of its space-like scenery.
Numerous rocks and coves offer unlimited hiking opportunities. The area is a photographer’s paradise, and off-highway vehicle enthusiasts will find hundreds of miles of dirt roads to explore. History buffs can discover traces of early Indians, prospectors, miners and ranchers.
Cowboys searching for cattle first discovered secluded Goblin Valley. Then in the late 1920s, Arthur Chaffin, owner/operator of the Hite Ferry (a ferry used to shuttle people across the Colorado River), and two companions were searching for an alternative route between Green River and Cainsville. They came to a vantage point about a mile west of Goblin Valley and were awed by what they saw--five buttes and a valley of strange-shaped rock formations surrounded by a wall of eroded cliffs.
In 1949, Chaffin returned to the area he called Mushroom Valley. He spent several days exploring the mysterious valley and photographing its scores of intricately eroded creatures.
Publicity attracted visitors to the valley despite its remoteness. In 1954, it was proposed that Goblin Valley be protected from vandalism. The state of Utah later acquired the property and established Goblin Valley State Reserve. It was officially designated a state park on August 24, 1964.
Goblin Valley State Park is located in Emery County between the towns of Green River and Hanksville. Follow Highway 24 to Temple Mountain Junction and proceed 14 miles southwest on a surfaced and improved gravel road. Goblins of infinite design will greet you.
Goblin Valley State Park Information:
Location - Interstate 70, exit 147. Turn right off Hwy 24 after about 11 miles. Park is located about 40 miles south of I-70.
Fees - $5.00 per day per vehicle
Season/Hours - Open year round, 24 hours a day
Visitor Center - none
Elevation - 5200 feet
Lodging - No lodging is available in the park. Green River, UT has many choices (49 miles north on I-70.) Facilities at the 3.654-acre park include a 21-unit campground, observation overlook, culinary water, modern rest rooms, hot water showers and a sanitary dump station. Each spacious campsite has a picnic table, paved parking pad and barbecue grill.