way you arrive at the park be sure and stop at the BLM trailer
at the road junction. The
ranger stationed there knows this area like the back of his hand
and is an invaluable source of information.
best time to visit this area is in the springtime.
The desert comes alive in the spring, flowers of all
varieties contrast with the red rock in a vivid splash of color.
As the spring gives way to the summertime the scenery
loses its brightness and becomes more the recognizable hostile
Valley is a unique park. This
is not a large park, the main attraction is an area which could
be covered in a day. But…this
attraction is pretty damn neat.
Valley of the Goblins is the draw of the park.
This small area is one of the most amazing places I’ve
seen on the Colorado Plateau.
This is a small canyon full of hoodoos and spires.
The sandstone has eroded and left a virtual playground of
rock formations. Our
almost four year old loved frolicking amongst these formations,
hollering out “find me Dad!”
He now refers to this park as the “place of the
valley floor is rather flat, making access to the formations
easy for all ages and abilities.
Children and adults alike will have fun scurrying amongst
the numerous sandstone towers.
For the less ambitious there is an overlook platform, a
nice place to gaze at the wonders of nature under the shade.
is the part of the park I was a bit disappointed with.
The campsites are absurdly close together.
There are 21 campsites, the only one I even considered
camping at was number 21. If
you are determined to camp at the park grounds be sure and get
site 21. Camping at
1-20 you will definitely get to know your neighbors.
I must give kudos to the park rangers, every one we
encountered were friendly and knowledgeable.
outside the park
best camping is to be had outside of the park boundaries.
Goblin Valley is surrounded by BLM land, this area has a
much greater chance for solitude.
I tell you my secret spots please promise to leave the area as
you found it. Before
you leave your campsite look around and take not only any trash
you have created, but the trash of others.
Please don’t create another fire ring, if anything camp
fire-less. We all
wake up in the morning wanting to do the usual constitutional.
Please carry a self-contained toilet, if you cannot do
that at least keep your waste out of any washes.
Make a trowel part of your camping supplies.
Carry out all toilet paper, there is nothing worse than
viewing the remains of foolish campers.
now that you have listened to my lecture here’s where to
fewest crowds can be found out on “Behind the reef road.”
You can access this area by driving out Temple Mountain
Road then head south at the first significant road you
campsites will be found along this road.
next best place to camp is out Wild Horse Road.
Make the left at the BLM trailer (ie. southwest), follow
the road until the sign indicating Wild Horse Canyon.
Make a right at the obvious signs.
Follow this road till it leaves the park, about 3 miles
from the pavement will be a couple dirt roads leading towards
the obvious cliffs. Either
of these roads will lead out into some nice well spaced
here will reward you with the ability to observe the hoo-doo’s
with the changing light. The
sandstone towers take on differing looks and shapes with the
there is a bit of hiking in the park, the best hiking is found
outside of its boundaries. Follow “Wild Horse Road”
out about 5 miles, at this point the parking lot for the
trailhead will become evident.
Find yourself a parking space among the many vehicles
you’re sure to find here.
You’ll surely notice that there’s a quite a few cars
here, pay no mind. Yes,
you’ll see a lot of cars in the parking lot, but the trail
will dissipate the crowds nicely.
Get out and strap on your boots, fill your pack with
trail can be done as a loop or a one way journey into one of two
canyons. The trail
begins down a wash, the split into the two canyons is rather
hidden. After about
a half mile the trail passes through two spots where some route
finding or climbing ability come into play.
Just after the second “difficulty” the Y will become
evident. The left
fork leads into Bell Canyon, the right fork leads into Little
Wild Horse Canyon. I’d
recommend hiking the trail as a loop.
hiking the trail taking the left fork, Bell Canyon narrows down
in a few spots and is a nice precursor to the
sights ahead. After
hiking Bell Canyon for about 2 ½ miles you will spill out onto
“Behind the Reef Road.”
Hiking down this road you will encounter the only
elevation gain of the hike.
Expect to gain about 3 or 4 hundred feet in a couple
miles. The entrance
to Little Wild Horse Canyon is a bit hidden.
Watch to see two “Wilderness Study Area” signs about
50 yards apart. In
between these two signs is a non-descript wash leading into an
obvious canyon. After
hiking for a bit down this trail the beauty of the canyon will
you ever been into a slot canyon?
The water and wind have created something unimaginable.
The hike winds its way deeper and deeper into the jaws of
rock walls. The
trail becomes a bit cooler and a bit darker.
The walls infringe upon the ability to walk a straight
the trail narrows to the point of walking sideways.
This trail is a fine example of a “slot canyon.”
Bell Canyon/Behind the Reef Road/Little Wild Horse Canyon loop
is 8 miles long. The
trailhead sign claims the hike should take you about 6 hours.
I’ve found this time frame to be a bit generous.
We did the loop in 3 hours while dawdling a bit.
Valley is a worthwhile destination in Southern Utah.
The park will infatuate the younger kids while the hiking
will entrance the older kids, (ie. kids like me)
of camping and fantastic scenery will keep the attention of the
whole family. Hanksville
is the closest town to the park, this town is located about 25
miles away. Don’t
expect to find everything you need, but you should be able to
find the staples. A bag of potatoes, hotdogs, buns, can of
beans, all can be found here.
you enjoy your trip to Southern Utah.
Valley Group Area
Valley State Park
Atlas and Gazetteer
by DeLorme (Editor)
Rely on the Utah Atlas & Gazetteer for the utmost in
trip planning and
backcountry access. Contains
topographic maps with unbeatable
detail, plus gazetteer information on great places to go
and things to
do. Scale equals 1:250,000 or 1"=4 miles. Contour
Interval is 300'.
Each page covers 37 miles... Read
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