Goblin Valley State Park is one of Utah’s hidden gems. While Utah is famous for the “Mighty Five” national parks, it’s easy for Goblin Valley to get overshadowed. However, camping at Goblin Valley is an epic experience that any nature-lover should add to their bucket list! The unique red rock formations make it look like you are on another planet!
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Keep reading to plan your Goblin Valley camping trip. Or if you’re short on time, use this guide to plan a day trip to Goblin Valley!
Goblin Valley Camping Trip Overview
- PTO/Vacation Days Needed: 0-1
- Nights: 1
- Cost: $
Best Time to Visit Goblin Valley
Goblin Valley State Park is open year round, but the best time to visit is in Spring or Fall, when temperatures are more mild. It can get up to 100 degrees F in the summer!
How to Get to Goblin Valley State Park
See below for the driving distance from nearby airports:
- Salt Lake City Airport (SLC): 3.5 hours
- Grand Junction Airport (GJT): 2 hours, 15 min
I highly recommend including Goblin Valley State Park as a stop on a larger Utah road trip. It’s conveniently-located just 1.5 hours from Moab/Arches National Park and 1 hour from Capitol Reef National Park.
It costs $20 per car to enter Goblin Valley State Park, however if you have a camping reservation you do not have to pay this fee.
Camping at Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley Campground
There is a 24-site campground in Goblin Valley State Park that you can book in advance on reserveamerica.com. All sites have their own little shaded picnic table, and awesome views! There is a bathroom with running water & showers on site as well.
Goblin Valley Yurt
The real shining star of the experience of camping at Goblin Valley is the opportunity to stay in one of the yurts. There are 2 yurts in Goblin Valley State Park, located in a separate area near the campground. They are open to book 4 months in advance on reserveamerica.com. Since there are only 2 of them (and they are so epic!) they get reserved super quickly, so plan ahead.
They cost $100/night ($118 with taxes & fees included) and sleep 5 people. There are no linens, sheets, or blankets provided, so you need to bring your own for this glamping experience. Inside the yurt, you will find bunk beds, dining table & chairs, and a futon. There is a/c, a ceiling fan, and heat as well. There’s a nice front deck area with two lounge chairs and a grill, and there’s also an outside picnic table and firepit.
The Goblin Valley yurt is nestled between the coolest red rock formations. It literally looks like a little home on Mars! The campground is nearby (but not visible from the yurt so it feels like a private area) so it’s just a quick walk to use the nice bathrooms over there.
We spent a lot of time hanging out near the yurt, climbing up on the nearby hill to get a more aerial-view, and photographing it during different stages of the day as the rocks change colors with the different lighting.
Of the two yurts, Yurt #1 is the best in my opinion, as it is more nestled in the rocks and further from the road. Obviously if you have the chance to stay in either one, though, you should take it because they are both epic! Yurt camping at Goblin Valley is definitely a unique and memorable experience.
Other Accommodations Near Goblin Valley State Park
If you do not want to go camping at Goblin Valley, the closest hotel is the OYO Hotel, located 13 miles away in Hanksville, UT. It’s affordable and has good reviews!
Goblin Valley Camping Trip Packing List
Besides the obvious essentials, don’t forget to also pack the below items!
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- Nano Puff Jacket (packs up small and keeps you warm when it gets chilly at night!)
- The COLDEST Water Bottle (seriously – it stays colder than Hydroflask!)
- Hiking Boots (these are my fave)
- REI Soft Cooler (I have this and love it!)
- Cliff Bar Energy Chews (great to give you a boost of energy on hikes!)
- Sony A6000 (I’m just starting to learn photography, but this is the camera I’ve been using! I love it)
- Day Pack
- SmartWool Hiking Socks
Best Things to Do at Goblin Valley
To be honest – Goblin Valley was MUCH smaller than I expected. Out of all the research I did before my trip reading other blogs, etc – no one mentioned how small the state park actually is! It’s definitely awesome and worth a stop on your Utah road trip to check out the unique red rock “goblin” formations, but if you are not camping here, expect to spend about 2 hours max. There is only one (short) road that goes through the park, ending at the Goblin Valley parking/overlook area.
Check out Goblin Valley during sunrise or sunset
This is a must-do when you are at Goblin Valley State Park! I recommend sunrise or sunset for the best photos of the “goblin”rock formations, when the lighting is not as harsh. It’s stunning, and such a magical experience! Park in the Observation Point parking lot and take in the view.
from above before taking the stairs down into the valley. There is no real trail here, you can pretty much just wander around the valley at your leisure. It’s a huge space, made up of 3 sections, Valley 1, Valley 2 and Valley 3. There are no signs or trails once you are down there, so honestly it is hard to know which valley you are in. It doesn’t really matter, though. Just walk around to the hoodoos and goblins that catch your eye! At sunrise, we had the place entirely to ourselves. It was incredible.
Three Sisters is one of the most iconic rock formations in the park, made up of three hoodoo formations. You can see it from the road (it will be on your right if you are driving back to the park entrance from the Observation Point parking lot. Pull out on the road turnout and walk a little closer to get some photos!
Take a Hike
If you have time while visiting Goblin Valley State Park, or if you are camping at Goblin Valley, you should go hiking! There are 5 hikes in the park to choose from:
- Entrada Canyon
- 1.5 miles one-way
This hike is a great one to do if you are camping Goblin Valley, because the trailhead starts at the campground! It leads you to a viewpoint of the park.
- Three Sisters
This 1-mile hike leads you right up to get a closer view of the Three Sisters rock formation.
- Curtis Bench Traill
- 1.5 miles one-way
This trail is fairly easy, and leads you along a ridgeline with views of the surrounding Henry Mountains
- Carmel Canyon Loop
On this moderate trail, you will see a view of the Three Sisters while hiking along a ridgeline, and then dip down through a short slot canyon on the way to Goblin’s Lair
- Goblin’s Lair
- 1.5 miles one-way
This is the most strenuous hike of the 5 in Goblin Valley State Park, but arguably the most rewarding. The trail starts at the Observation Point parking lot and leads you down into the valley into the Goblin’s Lair slot canyon!
Play Frisbee Golf
One random fact about Goblin Valley State Park is that they have an 18-hole frisbee golf course throughout the park! You can rent frisbees from the visitor center for $1.
Little Wild Horse Canyon
One of the most impressive hikes in the area is just outside of Goblin Valley State Park! The trailhead is about a 20-minute drive from the park entrance.
This slot canyon is amazing! The hike is technically 8 miles round trip as a loop hike, connecting with Bell Canyon. However – if you want a shorter hike, you can simply hike out-and-back to the Little Wild Horse slot canyon for a total of 4.5 miles round trip.
The hike starts out in a wash before pretty quickly turning into narrower rock-walls and then into the super narrow slot canyon! Plan for it to take about 2-4 hours for this hike, depending on how often you stop to take pictures!
Goblin Valley is one of the certified “Dark Sky Parks” which means its an awesome place for stargazing at night! If you enjoy night photography, this is an amazing place for it!
Other Things to Know about Camping Goblin Valley
- There is limited-to-no cell service in the park. The only spot my friend and I had service was up at the parking lot at Observation Point
- The closest town/restaurant is 30 miles away in Hanksville. I recommend bringing food for dinner so you don’t have to drive 30 minutes to eat!
- If you do decide to drive to Hanksville for food, go to Slickrock Grill. We ate here for breakfast (but it’s open for lunch and dinner too) on our drive to Goblin Valley from Capitol Reef National Park and it was delicious!
- Bring lots of water – since the closest place to buy supplies is 30 miles away, you need to ensure you have enough water with you for the day/night. It can get super hot in the summer – stay hydrated!
Where to Next?
There are SO many awesome spots in Utah that are not far from Goblin Valley. Check out these below posts for inspiration to plan the ultimate Utah road trip!