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.
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.
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.
The dogs loved running and chasing each other over, under and around the hoodoos.
And yes, even the big kids—I mean, the adults—couldn’t resist climbing on the giant rock mushrooms.
Goblin Valley was formed from sandstone, siltstone and shale deposited here 170 million years ago by a vast inland sea.
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.
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 is one of five buttes that rise above Goblin Valley. It serves as backdrop for the campground.
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.
It would be quite easy to get lost among the goblins without a dog with a good nose.
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.
We each sat on our own mushroom and enjoyed the silence and solitude.