Hidden deep in the San Rafael Desert, Goblin Valley State Park is the perfect place for RV lovers to get away from it all. Located in Southern Utah, this remote park is a welcoming place for RV campers to discover a different kind of southwestern outdoor experience. As the name suggests, Goblin Valley State Park prominently futures thousands of reddish-brown Goblins spread across its 3,654 acres. The beauty of these striking rock protrusions from the bare desert landscape is out of this world. From far away you can easily mistake them for fine works of artistic carvings, and you need to experience them in person to comprehend how surreal the park appears.
Goblin Valley State Park is quite underrated, perhaps due to overshadowing by Utah’s diverse attractions or because of its remoteness. There are plenty of great activities to enjoy for visitors of all ages to the park, including over six miles of hiking trails, canyoneering, stargazing, picnicking, and mountain biking. At an elevation of 5,200 meters, there are also several observation areas where you will be able to see interesting views of the mushroom-shaped goblins in the valley below.
The campground at Goblin Valley State Park is on the smaller side but it can accommodate 14 RVs at any given time that are up to 42 feet in length. All sites are primitive, but the well-maintained campground is a welcome place to call home during your stay. The peak season at Goblin Valley State Park runs from April until October.
Located between Hanksville and Green River, Goblin Valley State Park has one entry and exit that can be found on 1-70. The most common direction for visitors to drive to the park is from the I-70 and turning off onto Utah State Route 24. If you are coming from the south you can also access the park via the town of Hanksville, which is around 20 miles to the south. The entire road leading to the park is paved and accessible by a car, as well as RVs up to 42 feet in length.
This is a very remote location, so you will need to be prepared for your trip well in advance. Visitors will need to stock up on all their supplies before arriving to the area since there are few amenities available. Some of the closest towns that have groceries for sale include Hanksville (around 20 miles away), Green River (around 49 miles away), and Moab (around 101 miles away).
The roads within the park are all wide, level, and accessible by foot, cars, and RVs all year round. If you want to travel by bicycle you can do so on the designated cycling trail. The most difficult time to visit the park is during the wintertime due to the high snowfall that the area can get.
There are plenty of parking spaces in the parking lot bordering the San Rafael Swell and in individual campsites, so you won't need to fret about where to park during your trip.
Since Goblin Valley State Park Campground is a small, yet busy campground since it is the only campground within the park. The park contains a total of 25 campsites, 14 of which are suitable for RV camping. All of the sites are primitive with no electrical, water, or sewer hookups available, and the sites can accommodate RV's up to 42 feet in length. The campground is regarded by visitors as being a great place to stay due to it being immaculately maintained and the addition of rocks to limit the effect of winds in the area.
Each RV campsite comes equipped with a paved camping pad perfect for your RV and an extra spot for another vehicle, a picnic table, and fire ring. There is one bathhouse that is shared between the campground and group camping area that contains hot showers, potable water, and restrooms. Generator use is allowed during the day, and pets are also welcome. Please note that there is poor cell reception and no Wi-Fi coverage in the park. Reservations are highly recommended since the campground is so small.
If you are looking for something a little outside the norm for your accommodation needs during your visit to Goblin Valley State Park, you should consider staying in a yurt. There are two yurts at the park, both of which are on the northern side of the campground and can accommodate up to five people.
The yurts are set up in the same way and are equipped with a table and four chairs, bunk beds, and a futon. There are also swamp coolers to keep the yurts cool during the summer and gas heaters for the cold winter months. Outside the yurts, you can do some cooking on a charcoal grill and chill out at the picnic table or on one of two Adirondack chairs.
A bonus to staying in the yurts is that there are two pit toilets reserved just for the yurt guests that are cleaned each day. If you want to use showers you can also visit the campground, which is only a short walk away. The yurts are available to be reserved all year round, and reservations are recommended since they are a popular place to stay.
While group camping is limited at Goblin Valley State Park it is still available thanks to a single group campsite located to the southwest of the main campground. The campsite is available for a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 35 people that will all fit on the paved camping area.
One of the main highlights of the group campsite is the large covered picnic shelter that features multiple picnic tables and enough shade to protect all visitors from the harsh summer sun. You will be in close proximity to the main campground resources (such as the showers and restrooms), yet still far enough away to enjoy having the campsite just to your group. Reservations are highly recommended for the campsite since this is the only group camping area within the park.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds available at Goblin Valley State Park, but if there are any sites that are unreserved, they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. While this is an option it can be risky since the campground only has 14 RV-friendly sites and 10 tent-only sites.
The sites are available to be used all year round, so if you are traveling during the wintertime you will still be able to stay here. If you are thinking about camping without a reservation, you should contact the park office to see how many sites are available before beginning your journey.
A great way to relax after a day of hiking is to sit down and enjoy a relaxing picnic. The park is a great place for both small and large groups wanting to kick back and relax in the shade thanks to the multiple covered picnic areas that are available for you to enjoy. The main picnic area within the park features some great pavilions that include tables, fire pits, benches, and barbeque grills. None of the picnic areas are reservable in advance, but if you are visiting with a large group you can use the group camp area for a fee, which features a massive shaded picnic pavilion.
Ever dreamt of spending a dark night under the stars on a clear sky free from the nuisance of light pollution? If so, Goblin Valley State Park will be the perfect place for you to visit. Thanks to its secluded and remote location, the park is one of the nine reputable international certified Dark Sky Parks in Southern Utah. Campers can marvel at the beauty of the sky dotted with millions of stars without having to worry about light pollution or other factors affecting your stargazing experience. The park's website also features a dark sky forecast so you can see a few days advance when the best time for gazing will be. How cool!
In addition to the Goblins, the park is home to a 70-foot beautiful cavern located in its eastern boundary called Goblin’s Lair. To reach the cavern you will have to follow the Carmel Canyon Loop Trail from the observation point before branching off to a more technical route. Lasting for around two miles, be prepared to climb huge rocks on the way and pack plenty of water as there is no shade along the trail. While it is definitely a challenging experience it is manageable with determination, GPS, technical gears, and a reasonable degree of physical fitness.
Mountain biking is a great way to see the park and get some serious exercise. The park features the fantastic Wild Horse Mountain Biking Trail System. The scenic seven miles of the single-track trail starts in the parking area and features five interconnected loops. Most of the sections range from flat to mildly elevate. Though this trail does not pass through the Goblins, it exposes a unique side of Goblin Valley State Park and surrounding countryside that cannot be seen by hiking.
Are you an avid photographer? If so, you should strongly consider Goblin Valley State Park as a destination for your RV escapades. From the time you drive your camper through the park’s entrance, you can easily view the picturesque Goblins that the park is named after from a distance. Once you hike around the fascinating Goblin Valley that is surrounded by hanging cliffs, you will discover there are innumerable angles you can take pictures of. Once you have got your perfect shots of the Goblins you can also set up your tripod for an incredible sunset.
The beauty of hiking in Globin Valley State Park is that this extreme desert landscape can be explored by free-roaming, meaning you don't have to use trails. There is enough space in between the Goblins for visitors to wander to every corner of the park. Children will love climbing on the hoodoos, jumping, running around, and playing hide and seek around the Goblins. If you want to do some more intense hiking, there are five easy-to-follow designated trails that combine for a total of six miles.