Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park lies on the southeastern edge of the San Rafael Reef (see San Rafael Swell - the best kept secret in the west).   Its eminent feature is its thousands of hoodoos and hoodoo rocks, which are formations of mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles, some as high as several meters.  The distinct shape of these rocks comes from an erosion-resistant layer of rock atop softer sandstone. [Wikipedia]  Evidence of Native American cultures, including the Fremont, Paiute, and Ute, is common throughout the San Rafael Swell in the form of pictograph and petroglyph panels.  Goblin Valley is off U24, 39 miles south of I-70, approximately 30 miles north of Hanksville.

Goblin Valley State Park is home to an expansive cavern with skylights and ceilings 70 feet high that only a handful of visitors have ever seen.  Park rangers lead a 3-mile (round-trip) backcountry adventure to this hidden treasure beginning a 10:00am and 3:00pm on selected Saturdays.  Named the Goblin's Lair by the park, it has also been called the Chamber of the Basilisk.

Utah state park officials are studying how to expand the boundaries of the 3,500-acre Goblin Valley State Park nearly 40-fold - encompassing areas popular with OHV riders, hikers, canyoneers and campers.  The federal land around the park, much of it in the San Rafael Swell, is under increasing pressure from recreational use, leaving a string of user-created trails and human waste.  The proposed expansion of the state park, which requires the cooperation of the Bureau of Land Management, would contain such damage.  BLM officials have yet to see a formal proposal, but welcomed working with the state to see how we could partner to further support recreation in the area.

The 22-page the geology of goblin valley state park by Mark Milligan of the Utah Geological Survey is a detailed discussion of the geology of Goblin Valley, including the geology of San Rafael Swell, the Henry Mountains, and the Colorado Plateau.