Visitors to Goblin Valley State Park are awestruck by the thousands of mushroom-shaped sandstone formations standing sentry throughout the park. These eerie hoodoos were formed over millions of years, as layers of Entrada Sandstone eroded and alternating layers of silt and shale were deposited with the changing climates and landscapes. The weaker sandstone layers eroded from water and wind quicker than the harder rock, resulting in these exceptional formations. The park’s unique landscape provided the backdrop for the movie Galaxy Quest, and one look at these ‘goblins’ and you’ll understand why.
Goblin Valley, at an elevation of 5,100 feet, was initially discovered by cowboys searching for lost cattle. The area was noted again in the 1920s by Arthur Chaffin, owner of Hite Ferry, as he searched for an alternate route between Caineville and Green River. Awed by the mysterious rock formations, Chaffin dubbed the area ‘Mushroom Valley’ and returned nearly two decades later for an in-depth exploration of the isolated valley. The park was officially designated in 1964.
There are three marked hiking trails in Goblin Valley State Park, making it easy to explore in an hour or two. The park is also noted for several walls of petroglyphs and pictographs, ancient evidence of Fremont, Paiute and other Native American residents. The 3,654-acre park has a 25-unit campground but there is also lodging in nearby Hanksville, just twelve miles from the park. To reach this extraordinary landscape from Hanksville, travel along Highway 24 to the Temple Mountain/Goblin Valley Junction. Travel west on a paved road for about five miles, then south to the park entrance.