Goblin Valley, Utah is a fun and easy-to-visit state park that we highly recommend to anyone who finds themselves in the area. Although it’s not as popular as nearby Bryce Canyon, Goblin Valley features some of the best hoodoo rock formations in the world and is easy to explore with the whole family.
Hoodoos, sometimes called “goblins” by locals, are tall, mushroom-shaped rock structures that form over millions of years, giving them a unique, rounded look. The mushroom shape occurs when hard, erosion-resistant rock lies on top of softer sandstone, which erodes underneath it. Hoodoos are not uncommon in the southwest, but Goblin Valley features thousands of them in a relatively small space, giving it an almost otherworldly landscape. Most of these hoodoos are located in a central area where visitors are free to explore, so you don’t even have to hike out to see them.
If you’ve had your fill of exploring hoodoos and want to do some hiking, Goblin Valley State Park also has plenty of trails. Some of the best are the Curtis Bench Trail, which runs along a ridge and offers some great views of the whole park, and the Carmel Canyon Loop, which offers views of some of the more famous rock formations and takes hikers through a small slot canyon.
We also highly recommend hiking out to Goblin’s Lair, a spooky and dimly lit slot canyon with some unique views and chambers. Goblin Valley is also a Dark Sky Park, so visit at night for some incredible stargazing.
To make the most of your trip to Goblin Valley, check out our Goblin Valley Utah Self-Guided Driving Tour. More prolific travelers might also be interested in Action+, a subscription service that grants access to over 100 tours around the world for a single yearly price