Valley of the Goblins, Observation Point - Valley of the Goblins, Goblin Valley, Utah
Valley of the Goblins - 1.0 miles
Observation Point - Valley of the Goblins
|Round-Trip Length:||1.0 miles (cross country travel only - distance will vary by route)|
|Start-End Elevation:||4,957' - 4,892' (4,957' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-65' net elevation loss (total elevation gain will vary by route)|
Valley of the Goblins - 1.0 Miles Round-Trip
170 million years ago Goblin Valley was a tidal flat between a massive inland sea to the north, and continental mountains and hills to the west. Eroded debris from these highlands was deposited by the ebb and flow of the sea, and compressed into alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone, and shale.
Entrada Sandstone is a formation in the San Rafael Group deposited during the Jurassic period 180 - 140 million years ago. Entrada is a fine, dark-red sandstone with aggregates of gypsum, various shale types, and small amounts of quartz and clay. Its red hue primarily comes from hematite, an iron oxide.
Joint or fracture patterns in the Entrada bed created zones of weakness, with sharp edges and corners seeing greater exposure to erosive forces. Asymmetrical erosion produced spherical-shaped goblins through a process called spheroidal weathering.
Softer shale and siltstone beds eroded faster than overlying layers, creating narrow pedestals on which the harder layers rest, and the mushroom-like appearance of the goblins we see today.
There are no trails in the Valley of the Goblins - visitors are free to explore the formations of Goblin Valley on their own. From Observation Point, simply drop into the valley and wander through the rock gardens. The valley runs north-south, with three sub-valleys delineated by ridges and washes.
Most visitors stay in the main amphitheater just below the parking lot, but those in good condition can head south into more remote, rugged areas.
While macro-navigation is fairly intuitive, it's quite possible to become disoriented in the minutiae. Know your limits and abilities before setting out. Always carry extra water, a hat, sunglasses, and sun protection when exploring the goblins.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N38 33.833 W110 42.217 — 0.0 miles : Observation Point Trailhead
- N38 33.563 W110 42.184 — .3 miles : Valley #1
- N38 33.341 W110 42.266 — .7 miles : Valley #2
- N38 33.089 W110 42.242 — 1.3 miles : Valley #3
- Lighting is best in early morning, late afternoon, after rainstorms, and on full moons.
- Crowds build early and last throughout the day, especially on weekends April - early September. Consider entering Valley of the Goblins from the Curtis Bench Trail, which begins at the campground and leads to a remote area on the south end of Valley #1.
- Goblin Valley was discovered by westerners in the late 1920s by Arthur Chaffin and two companions while searching for an alternative route between Green River and Caineville. In 1949 Chaffin returned and spent several days exploring and documenting the valley. Publicity soon attracted visitors, and in 1954 it was proposed that Goblin Valley be protected from vandalism. The state of Utah later acquired the property and officially designated a state park on August 24, 1964.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Camping is permitted in developed areas only. Backcountry camping is not permitted in Goblin Valley State Park.
- $16 per night : $8 per extra vehicle
- There are 24 sites and 2 yurts ($60 per night). Yurts sleep 5.
- Pay showers are available.
- Backcountry camping is permitted just outside the Park on BLM land, and in the San Rafael Swell. There are also several well-established car camping sites on these lands.
- Concessions and supplies are very limited in the Park. The closest towns with supplies are Hanksville (34 miles) and Green River (42 miles).
Rules and Regulations
$7 Per Vehicle
$4 Per Vehicle with a Utah senior 62+
$16 for overnight campground : $8 per extra vehicle
Dogs are permitted on trails and lands within Goblin Valley State Park. Dogs must be leashed and never left unattended, especially in cars.
Directions to Trailhead
Goblin Valley State Park is located 41.9 miles from Exit #149 on I-70 near Hanksville, Utah.
From I-70, exit #149 and turn south on HWY 24 toward Hanksville. Drive 24.8 miles south to the turnoff for Goblin Valley. Drive 5.3 miles west to Temple Mt Junction. Turn left and drive 11.8 miles to the Visitor Center and Entrance Station. Follow signs to the Campground Picnic Area (Entrada Canyon Trailhead) or Observation Point and Valley of the Goblins.
Goblin Valley State Park is located approximately 215 miles from Salt Lake City UT, 50 miles from Green River UT, and 400 miles from Denver.
Goblin Valley State Park
c/o Green River State Park
P.O. Box 637
Green River, UT 84525-0637
435.275.4584 - main line
801.322.3770 - camping reservations
800.322-3770 - toll-free camping reservations
Utah State Parks and Recreation
PO Box 146001
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-601
Bureau of Land Management
125 S. 600 W.
Price, UT 84501