Goblin Valley is a 3,654-acre state park in central Utah.  The park is famous for its thousands of hoodoos, which consist of an erosion-resistant layer of rock sitting upon softer sandstone.



Galaxy Quest. Copyright © Paramount Pictures.

Galaxy Quest. Copyright © Paramount Pictures.

Goblin Valley was the setting for the alien planet scene in the movie Galaxy Quest starring Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver.  It’s a terrific movie, funny and entertaining, sort of a spoof on the Star Trek series.



Girl playing on the hoodoos

Girl climbing down the hoodoos

There are three marked trails in the park, but most people walk freely through the three large valleys of hoodoos.  The valleys were filled with kids having a great time climbing and playing on the hoodoos like they were a giant jungle gym.  Most parks sternly prevent visitors from climbing or otherwise physically interacting with their natural features, and Goblin Valley authorities officially discourage it (probably for liability reasons), yet just about every visitor we saw was climbing the hoodoos.



Shadow, Timm and Darby

The dogs loved running and chasing each other over, under and around the hoodoos.



Theresa climbing on the hoodoos

And yes, even the big kids—I mean, the adults—couldn’t resist climbing on the giant rock mushrooms.



Theresa, Darby and Shadow

Goblin Valley was formed from sandstone, siltstone and shale deposited here 170 million years ago by a vast inland sea.



Goblin cliffs

The different layers of rock eroded at different rates.  Like an ice cube held under warm water, the edges eroded fastest, producing the spherical shapes.  The valley is surrounded by tall cliffs that also eroded into crazy shapes.



Timm, Darby and Shadow standing on a rock mushroom

Goblin Valley was discovered in the late 1920s by the owner of a nearby ferry searching for an alternative route.  They came to a vantage point about one mile west and were awed by what they saw.  The state of Utah established the park in 1964 to protect it from vandalism.



Wild Horse Butte

Wild Horse Butte is one of five buttes that rise above Goblin Valley.  It serves as backdrop for the campground.



Theresa standing on a goblin with Wild Horse Butte rising in the background

By the time we got to the third valley, the crowd had thinned, and we had the valley all to ourselves.  Notice Wild Horse Butte rising in the background.



Shadow looking for Darby, who is playing hide & seek among the goblins

It would be quite easy to get lost among the goblins without a dog with a good nose.



Birds-eye view of Goblin Valley, with Theresa and the dogs far below

I climbed a cliff for a birds-eye view of Goblin Valley.  Can you see Theresa and the dogs?  Click on the photo for a larger version.



Theresa and Darby each sitting on their own mushroom and enjoying the solitude

We each sat on our own mushroom and enjoyed the silence and solitude.

>> Next Stop: Arches National Park >>

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