Less than two hours from Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park sits the vastly less popular Goblin Valley State Park, Utah.
Millions of years of uneven erosion on rock layers of varying hardness caused unearthly mushroom like shapes called “hoodoos”, otherwise known as the Goblins that give this park its name!
We didn’t have a ton of time to visit, so we headed straight to the main attraction- the Valley of the Goblins. It was an incredible experience to be able to see these formations and their unique shapes up close- it felt like some sort of alien playground! There are no designated trails in this area so visitors are able to freely roam about the Valley and explore amongst the Goblins- though climbing on them is not allowed. Unlike the famous hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park, these Goblins tend to be narrower on the bottom with big mushroom like caps on top.
While Goblin Valley is a certified Dark Sky Park and offers monthly events such as moonlit hikes, its a relatively small park with only a few other trails available to hike so I wouldn’t recommend camping on site unless as use for a base of operations while exploring the surrounding area. It is, however, definitely still worth a day trip while in the area!