Goblin Valley State Park, UtahJuly 2004

Utah is home to a wide variety of beautiful state parks, but Goblin Valley State Park has to be one of the more whimsical parks in existence. Imagine hundreds and thousands of unique rock shapes resembling goblins, and you have a fair idea of the park.

Actually, you may already be familiar with the park, since it was used as the setting for an alien planet in the movie Galaxy Quest. Even so, Goblin Valley happens to be very worthwhile to visit in person.

If you happen to be traveling along interstate 70 in Utah, you may note that state route 24 is a large southern loop from one end of 70 and returns to the other end. (Among the reasons to be interested in route 24 is that it is the road which goes through Capitol Reef National Park.)

Goblin Valley is found by the eastern end of 24. The landscape by the intersection to the park road is rather bleak, even right at the park's entrance (which has a self-pay station: presently it costs $5 to enter). Shortly into the park, you will come across what I call are the guardian goblins: huge monumental goblins on top of a butte.

The goblin guardians

As you continue along the park road, you'll notice various groups of goblins (and wildflowers if you travel during the spring). The true brilliance of the park begins at the road's end, which includes a small parking lot and a shaded area with picnic tables. From there you walk into a goblin city, one of the more merry places on Earth.

Goblin city

Goblin Valley was not really noticed (by folks other than Indians) until the 1920s. Arthur Chaffin gets the general credit for that, and he photographed the valley extensively. He called it Mushroom Valley, which was a good first attempt. By the by, the state acquired the land and made it a park in 1964, along with its present name, Goblin Valley.

And if I don't fall too far behind in my work, I hope to include more photos of flowers and goblins from Goblin Valley shortly.

Photography note: The photos were taken with a Sony F707 during May 2004.  

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