State Parks are often forgotten about when you are surrounded by so many beautiful National Parks- especially in Utah. Utah not only has 5 National Parks, but many State Parks that are just as fun to visit. One hidden gem is Goblin Valley State Park. Goblin Valley State Park is only a 4 hour drive from Salt Lake and 90 minutes from Moab. You can see a lot of beautiful things in the area. This park is perfect for a pit stop or a half day. We spent a few hours and it was perfect, but we could have hiked and spent more time as well. Here is our guide to everything you need to know about goblin valley state park.
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Goblin Valley is full of geologic history. The park itself is only about 1×2 miles and was created by sand erosion 170 million years ago! With over 1000 hoodoos (those weird spire like structures) also called Goblins, you may feel like you are walking on mars, straight out of a space movie, on a different planet, or straight out of your favorite children’s book.
Not only is there a lot of hiking, but you can see pictographs and petroglyphs, kit foxes, and pronghorn antelope. There are about 6 miles of marked hiking trails, but the fun thing about Goblin Valley is you can explore on your own and get up close.
Hiking at Goblin Valley
There are 5 marked trails for hiking at Goblin Valley, but you can also just take the marked path to the bottom and explore the goblins on your own.
The Goblin’s Lair
Length: 3 hours round trip
A beautiful slot canyon on the parks Eastern boundary. You can also repel with a $2 permit
The Carmel Canyon Loop
Length: 1.5 miles round trip
Requires some minor scrambling but offers views of beautiful sites
Length: 3 miles round trip
This hike offers a different vantage point of the goblins that you won’t be able to see anywhere else
Curtis Bench Trail
Length: 3 miles round trip
The Three Sisters
Length: 250 yards one way
The three sisters is one of the most iconic sites in the park
Other Things To Do
There are 7 miles of mountain biking trails that offer incredible views in Goblin Valley.
You can rent discs for $1. Disc golf is a great way to see this park in a unique way.
Goblin Valley has one of the darkest skies in the night and is the perfect place to see the beautiful night sky.
Canyoneering: if you are experienced, you can get a $2 permit and rappel in certain areas as well.
There are 25 campsites and 2 yurts available at Goblin Valley ( a mix of tent and rv pads, with one group spot). You can also stay 90 minutes away in Moab where there are Airbnbs, hotels, camping and more.
When to Visit
Fall and Spring are great times to go and the weather is usually pretty nice and mild and great for a day exploring, but the best time to visit varies on your personal preference to the outdoors. I would try to avoid the summer as it can get really hot. Holidays are usually a busier time as well. The park itself is usually not nearly as packed as its neighboring parks, but the lot does fill up.
FAQs and Other Info To Know
Cost to Enter:
$20 private vehicle, $10 Utah seniors 62 and older, $10 motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, or $4 per person commercial vehicle fee
Main Campground: $30 ($15 extra vehicle fee)
Yurts: $100 + tax
Hours: 6 AM to 10PM every day (check the website)
Where is it? Goblin Valley is about 3 hours and 40 minutes (traffic depending) from Salt Lake City Utah. It is only 1 hour and 35 minutes from Moab and only 1 hour from Capitol Reef National Park.
Accessibility: while getting the the ground to see the goblins up close requires being able to climb stairs, you can get an incredible view of the hoodoos from the parking lot and viewing areas which make this a great stop for those not able to do stairs. It is still an incredible view from the top.
The Best Things To Do in Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley is such a fun and unique park. It can be explored in a few hours and leave a huge impression. There is no other place like it and it definitely should be on your list of places to visit in Southern Utah. It is definitely child friendly. We loved visiting and cannot wait to go back!
-Explore the goblins and get up close. It is easy to get to them from the parking lot and you explore the whole ground for as long as you would like
-Enjoy a hike or 2. Most are 2 hours or less
-Bike the many trails
-Stay the night and camp and stargaze while you are at it
-Have older kids or like disc golf? Rent a disc for only $1
-Take lots of photos
We hope this guide helped you plan your trip to Goblin Valley. It really is an easy park to visit especially if you are short on time. We loved our time there and cannot wait to go back. If you enjoyed this guide on Goblin Valley State Park- Everything You Need to Know, you may like our other travel guides