Goblin Valley State Park

Since Capitol Reef was our real destination and Goblin Valley was a spur-of-the-moment decision, we couldn’t spend nearly the amount of time there it really deserved though I’m sure we’ll return and explore the two-thirds of the park we didn’t have time to explore.

I took a lot of pictures while I was there. It’s hard not to let you imagination run free and see “goblins” that are as much a reflection of your own imagination as they are results of erosion.

It’s a lot like cloud-watching, though if there were as many clouds as there were goblins you’d have rain.

We had some great views.

It would have taken considerably more planning than we did to find our way through the maze of outcroppings. We kept running into dead ends.

As it was, we got our daily allowance of exercise just exploring the structures near the visitors’ center.

Still, I’m glad we ignored our “plans” and took this side trip.

Goblin Valley State Park

Leslie wanted to visit Capitol Reef National Park on our way home and I readily agreed because it is one of the parks in Utah that I have never seen before. On our way there I saw a sign giving the mileage to Goblin Valley State Park, a park that I had heard about two years before but didn’t have time to visit that trip. Since it was only 21 miles off our route, I thought it would be a good idea to stop. I’m glad I did; the park was nearly amazing as it had been described.

There were even some amazing sights on the 21 mile route. I think this must have been the Goblin’s Castle


Just before the park entrance we saw some Goblin scouts.

From the parking lot the Valley of the Goblins reminded us of the Terra Cotta warriors found in Emperor Qin’s Tomb

I am glad we visited the site in the daylight because I imagine the weird shapes could become terrifying monsters in the dark.

Canyonlands’ Island in the Sky

Canyonlands NP, at least the Island in the Sky portion of the park, is just up the road from Arches NP. I’ve been there before, but since Leslie hadn’t been we decided to spend an afternoon there before heading out to Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef NP.

Island in the Sky provides completely different views than Arches. Instead of looking up at remarkable rock structures, you stand on top of them or look down at them. In that sense, it reminds me of the North Side of Grand Canyon.

While there’s much that’s impressive, I’ve always been drawn by the road that drops down into the canyon.

Leslie made it pretty clear that if I ever do drive it that I’ll have to drive it by myself.

Still, it’s hard not to be drawn to a road that seems to lead to nowhere, or, perhaps, into a distant past.

For some, it’s apparently enough just to stand

on the edge without descending into the belly of the beast.

It’s hard to believe that ancient natives could survive here

though petroglyphs testify otherwise.

A Last Glance at Arches NP

Considering how spectacular Arches National Park is, it’s clear we’ve never spent the time there that it really deserves, even though we saw more on this trip that we’ve ever seen before. For instance, I don’t think we had ever seen Wolfe Ranch; I’m sure I would have remembered if I’d been there before.

This is actually the second house on the ranch; this was the first one.

Apparently it isn’t only the trees that persevered.

If we had had more time, we would probably have walked to Delicate Arch, one of the most photographed arches in the Park. Instead, we drove up the road to a scenic turnout

and used my 100-400mm lens to get this shot of Delicate Arch.

On our way out we stopped and took a short hike to this rock formation

where we were surprised to by long, narrow passages through the rocks.

The most popular activity in the park, at least when we were there, was obviously biking, but I suspect the activities are only limited by your imagination,

though I would never, ever dream of doing this kind of adventure.