An hour and a half from the popular Utah National Parks in Moab lies Goblin Valley State Park. Though smaller and less visited than Utah’s big 5, Goblin Valley is a surreal and magical place. Named for the thousands of sandstone hoodoo formations that are “goblin-like”, it’s a fantasy playground for children of all ages.
We stopped into the park on a whim. I think Chris read an article or received a recommendation from someone, and we decided to give it a try. This was one of the best decisions that we made during our trip! The entrance fee was $15, which felt high for a daily fee. But, we decided it was worth it. (And it was!)
Valley of Goblins
There are three trails inside the park that are marked. We hiked the Valley of Goblins. After descending the staircase from the parking lot, hikers will enter a mostly flat expanse containing thousands of the hoodoos locally called “goblins.” There is no official trail in the valley. You just wind through the rock formations, exploring, climbing, admiring.
To get Calvin into the spirit of the hike, I spun a tale of an evil witch who had turned all of the goblins to stone. It was our job to climb each ‘goblin’ and sprinkle it with magical fairy dust. This was the only way to turn them back.
As the minutes turned to hours, our game evolved. The witch was also hunting us, and we had to hide in the hoodoo homes. Sometimes she turned us into stones, but we had the fairy dust to help. It turned out that the goblins had been evil all along, so we stopped turning them back into goblins. I have no idea how far we hiked that day. We hiked for more than two hours. (We only turned back because Chris and I were getting hungry.)
All in all, Goblin Valley State Park was one of our favorite stops on our trip. I recommend it to anyone who has kids, or who just wants to spend an afternoon acting like one!