After descending into a "Bowl" you are free to climb on the freeform "Goblins". The hiking is easy and safe. Hiking to the edge of the "bowl" provides opportunities to rock climb. Safety gear isn't necessary if you don't climb too high. You'll fall into sand if you do fall. This is an easy hike for kids. The most challenging aspect of playing at Goblin Valley is climbing out of the hole. The ramp is long and the grade isn't terribly steep, but those less than fit will have to stop and rest half way up. There are latrine type toilets and a pavilion with picnic tables.
Goblin Valley State Park was the filming location for an alien planet in the 1999 film Galaxy Quest.
Evidence of Native American cultures, including the Fremont, Paiute, and Ute, is common throughout the San Rafael Swell in the form of pictograph and petroglyph panels. Goblin Valley is noted for several rock art panels as well as the rock formations. The secluded Goblin Valley was then found by cowboys searching for cattle. Then in the late 1920s, Arthur Chaffin, later owner/operator of the Hite Ferry, and two companions were searching for an alternate route between Green River and Caineville. They came to a vantage point about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Goblin Valley and were awed by what they saw – five buttes and a valley of strange goblin-shaped rock formations surrounded by a wall of eroded cliffs. In 1949 Chaffin returned to the area he called 'Mushroom Valley'. He spent several days exploring the mysterious valley and photographing its scores of intricately eroded rocks.
Publicity attracted visitors to the valley despite its remoteness. In 1954 it was proposed that Goblin Valley be protected from vandalism. The state of Utah later acquired the property and established Goblin Valley State Reserve. It was designated a state park on August 24, 1964.
The park's unique terrain has led to it being features in movies as an alien planet, most prominently in the 1999 movie "Galaxy Quest".
Wind and rain have weathered the Entrada Sandstone into balanced rock structures known as Hoodoos. This same type of sandstone is also the source of interesting rock formations in nearby Arches and Capitol Reef National Parks.
Flora and fauna
Goblin Valley is 11 miles west off Utah State Route 24. The nearest town is Hanksville located 30 miles to the south.
Fees and permits
There is a $7 fee per car. You can pay it when entering the park. Permit will be given on the spot.
They accept credit cards, but it's best if you have some cash.
All access to the park is by way of hiking trails leading from the 1 parking lot. Vault toilets are located at the parking lot.
There is a campground in the park with heated showers.