When you first enter the dry expanse of Goblin Valley State Park, you’d be forgiven for looking out and thinking there’s really nothing there. Upon closer inspection of the landscape, however, you realize this empty desert void is filled with a curious, geologic beauty that’s equal parts captivating and strange. Here in the middle of the Great Basin Desert—miles from seemingly everywhere—sandstone spires referred to goblins rise silently up from the Earth. Carved by 170 million years of wind and water erosion, this mushroom dotted, light brown landscape is an inland sea of boulders and pinnacles seemingly frozen in time. Discovered only in the 1920s by ranchers looking for cattle, the site is now protected as part of a fascinating Utah State Park. Walk amidst the towering spires and look at the striated lines, where millennia of torment from nature’s fury have formed what we see today. Or, to spend an evening amidst the hoodoos and beneath a banner of stars, reserve a spot at the desert campground where the enveloping silence of the Martian landscape helps you drift off to sleep.
Goblin Valley State Park is located one hour from Green River and 50 minutes from Hanksville. The visitor center is open daily from 8am-5pm, and admission is $7/car and $16 for a campsite. Temperatures in summer can top 100 degrees, so be sure to pack water, snacks, and supplies if venturing out on the trails.