Another beautiful sunset in the park. Patience pays off if you wait long enough. And to make it more impressive, the Goblins offer an amazing foreground when the sky turns red/orange/yellow. You do not have to wonder off far once in the valley of Goblins. Select a few that you like and wait for the show.
A great place to start when visiting Goblin is the visitor center. Now you can enter the park by paying the entry fee through your car window. However, taking the time to park and walk in is worth while. Very informative and has souvenirs, maps and books. You can make reservations for a tent site as well.
On this most recent visit I met one of the park rangers, Pam. She was very helpful and one of the friendliest state park rangers I ever met.
There are, according to the State Park pamphlet, a few short hikes to undertake leaving from the well designed and very informative boards near the parking area. But, as this information booth can be seen from most everywhere it is difficult to get lost, so we just wandered around for about 40 mins before the dust drove us away. These are some of the different shapes to be seen, and you can use your imagination to give them names, as we did.
The goblins were formed through a series of events, some of which are easy to understand and explain while others remain somewhat a mystery. That exposed rock could be sculpted by these forces of water and wind is an idea that man can easily grasp. We have experienced this forces first hand and know their great powers. The rock that they shaped is another matter.
As if Goblin Valley wasn 't amazing enough on its own, it has the magnificent Henry Mountains as a backdrop which are often still covered in snow for good measure. These mountains are more typical an uprising, doing some in a more deformed or irregular way compared to the one that occurred with the Colorado Plateau where a more uniform and massive chunk of land rose up.
Huge tectonic forces raised Colorado Plateau and exposed it to the forces of erosion and due to the malleability of the resultant sandstone, incredible buttes, mesas, and oddly shaped formations were created over time. While the rising of the Colorado Plateau does a lot to explain such a landscape's origin, how such a huge area elevated in near perfect form to 10,000 feet above the earth's surface is still a matter of conjecture.
It takes a very particular rock to be so easily shaped and sandstone is perfect for such purposes. Sands from ancient seas, rivers and beaches were buried over time and their confinement was the birth of this marvelous meld-able stone but how it came to be exposed is perhaps the biggest mystery of not only Goblin State Park but of all the southwest.
There are three short hikes in the park itself. All three could be hiked in one day quite easily but as with all photographic opportunities you have to choose where you want to be at sunset wisely. The Entrada Canyon Trail is a 1.3 mile one way hike from the campground to the goblins viewing area. This can be combined with the Carmel Canyon Trail which is a 1.5 mile loop that goes to the desert floor. We only did the latter due to lack of time, wanting to be in the goblins at best light and not having to walk back to the campground in the dark. From the trail descriptions it seemed to be the one with the best and closet views of the goblins. We were not disappointed and even saw a pronghorn on the trail. The Curtis Bench Trail is a flat 2.1 mile hike which gives more of an overview of the formations so a bit further back.
We later learned about the Horseshoe/Bell Canyon Loop. This is an 8 mile loop through two very narrow slot canyons. It is down a five mile dirt road from the park and sounds quite spectacular.
As with a lot of southern Utah, this land is contorted and distorted, with rock formations of various shapes.