Utah is filled with iconic road trip spots, but how long do you need to spend at each stop? Here’s how much time to spend in Goblin Valley State Park — as well as all of the best Goblin Valley things to do in each timeframe.
Extraterrestrial sandstone rock formations nicknamed “goblins” (scientifically known as hoodoos) flood Goblin Valley State Park. The otherworldly ambience of the valley fills your soul with wonder, and as soon as you step foot in the valley, you’ll seemingly transport to Mars.
But, how long do you need to spend in Goblin Valley in order to experience this intergalactic effect?
How Much Time Do You Need At Goblin Valley State Park?
Although you could easily spend the night without becoming bored, you really only need 1-2 hours to feel like you fully experienced Goblin Valley State Park.
Things To Do At Goblin Valley State Park In A Short Amount Of Time
With 1-2 hours in Goblin Valley, you can experience a variety of activities as well as see the state park’s best views, including…
1. Goblin Observation Point Overlook
When you enter the park, the road will eventually lead you to a parking lot. As you will see, this parking lot has a vast overlook area that contains one of the best views of Goblin Valley State Park.
Maps are available at the park entrance for your convenience to ensure you make it to the Observation Point parking lot.
2. Walking Through The Goblin Valleys
Beside the same parking lot, there is a staircase that leads you down into the hoodoo valley. Take the stairs and wander through the hoodoos at leisure.
There are three unique valleys in this area (also labeled on the park map for you).
The first valley is directly at the bottom of the stairs. Here, the hoodoos are pretty spread out, but it is fun to walk around, nonetheless.
The hoodoos of the second and third valleys are more dense, making for a much more exciting hoodoo view. The third valley is said to be one of the best areas to view the hoodoos in the park, as the hoodoos are very condensed here.
You can spend as much or as little time here wandering through the valleys, as the area is very large and completely filled with hoodoos.
3. Drive By The Mars-Like Yurts
Goblin Valley State Park will have you feeling like you are on Mars is various ways — from the golden red rocks, to the bizarre hoodoo formations, to the fragile sandstone beneath your feet.
The yurts (glamping sites) located inside Goblin Valley will have you feeling no different.
As you are either entering or exiting the park, taking a pitstop to see these Martian-like shelters is very worthwhile.
Furthermore, even though you won’t be able to fit all of the park’s hikes into a 1 or 2-hour visit, you could pick one or two of the best short hikes at Goblin Valley State Park to explore.
Best Short Hikes At Goblin Valley State Park
If you would like to take a hike at Goblin Valley State Park, there are several incredible hikes to enjoy. Such as…
1. The Goblin’s Lair
- 2.3 miles.
- Moderate hike.
- Features a unique cave and rappelling.
2. Three Sisters
- 1 mile.
- Easy hike.
- Features three connected and nearly identical hoodoos.
3. Carmel Canyon Loop Trail
- 1.2 miles.
- Moderate hike.
- Features a hoodoo-filled canyon.
2. Entrada Canyon
- 1.8 miles.
- Moderate hike.
- Features a hoodoo-filled canyon.
Why You Might Want To Stay At Goblin Valley State Park Overnight
Clearly, you can experience Goblin Valley State Park in one or two hours. However, you may also want to consider staying overnight.
Because Goblin Valley State Park is one of the clearest, darkest places in the world.
With little-to-no light pollution, Goblin Valley boasts pristine stargazing conditions and an official Dark Sky Certification.
So, if you’re up for a playful, dreamy night of stargazing, astrophotography and/or the opportunity to see the Milky Way, you’re definitely going to want to stay at Goblin Valley State Park overnight.
Goblin Valley State Park Entrance Fees (For Any Amount Of Time You Spend In Goblin Valley)
The entrance fees into Goblin Valley State Park vary depending on vehicle type, visitor age and how much time you spend in the park.
|Park Pass Type||Park Pass Fee (Valid For Two Days)|
|Utah Senior Citizens (62+)||$10|
|Motorcycle, Bicycle Or Pedestrian||$10|
|Commercial Vehicle||$4 Per Person|
|Overnight Camping||See Table Below|
Goblin Valley State Park Camping Fee
Hoping to camp under those legendary starry skies in Goblin Valley? Here’s what you need to know.
There are two yurts with linen-less bunkbeds, one group campsite and 22 regular tent campsites with basic tent shed shelters.
Cost To Camp In Goblin Valley State Park
|Campsite Type||Price Per Night (Includes Entrance Fee)|
|Regular Tent Campsite||$35|
|Regular Tent Campsite + Extra Vehicle||$55|
|Group Campsite (up to 40 people)||$125 + tax|
|Yurt||$100 + tax|
Moreover, the Goblin Valley State Park camp sites are primitive, which means there are no accessible water, electrical hookups or dumping stations.
There are showers and vault toilets, but these facilities may close during winter or due to other inclement weather.
Drone Permit Fee
Drone use is allowed in Goblin Valley State Park with a permit. The permit costs $10 and can be purchased at the visitor’s center.
There may be times during the year when drones are not allowed (during special events, etc.), so don’t be offended if you are denied a permit.
Can You Drive Through Goblin Valley?
While you can certainly drive through Goblin Valley and see tons of the park’s rock formations and hoodoos, you won’t be able to fully experience the park. If you’re limited on time, at least drive to Observation Point, hop out of your car and take a quick look.
Also, Goblin Valley will likely be out of the way from where you are staying/going, so the road trip may not be worth it if you only have time to drive through the park.
Goblin Valley State Park is 30 minutes from Hanksville, 1 hour from Capitol Reef National Park and 1.5 hours from Moab and 4 hours from Salt Lake City. You’ll likely be coming from one of these locations.
What To Bring To Goblin Valley State Park (For Any Amount Of Time You Spend In Goblin Valley)
Like many of Utah’s otherworldly attractions, Goblin Valley State Park is tucked in the middle of nowhere. Therefore, it is vital that you remember the following items.
- A full tank of gas. Gas stations are few and far between in the Utah desert. Avoid your worst nightmare coming to fruition and fill up before you leave the city in which you are staying.
- Money for the entrance fee.
- Screenshots and/or downloads of your maps and directions. Cell service is spotty in this area.
- Plenty of water. You will be in the middle of the desert with basically no access to convenience stores, so pack extra water. The park and Utah tourism board recommend bringing one gallon of water per person per day. Hydrate or die-drate!
- Picnic and/or snacks, especially when traveling with kids.
- Sunscreen. Again, you will be in the middle of the desert. You’ll need sunscreen — no matter the forecast, no matter the season.
- Camera gear. Here’s all of the best budget camera gear for travel photography for your convenience.
Additionally, remember that the Goblin Valley State Park camp sites are primitive, meaning there are no accessible water, electrical hookups or dumping stations if you plan to spend the night.
How much time will you spend in Goblin Valley State Park? Will you briefly pass through on your road trip, spend the day or spend the night? Let me know in the comments section below!
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[…] many places in Utah are known to look like Mars, such as Goblin Valley State Park and the Bonneville Salt Flats, people are usually referring to the rainbow mountains of the […]