It’s no secret that one of the most popular activities to enjoy during your stay at Cougar Ridge is exploring Capitol Reef National Park. This beautiful national park is located just minutes away from our Fruita Utah hotel and is full of amazing hiking trails, scenic drives, and unique activities, like picking fruit in the historic orchards or checking out the Capitol Reef petroglyphs.
But Capitol Reef is far from the only thing that should be on your itinerary. There’s also no shortage of day trips to enjoy during your Cougar vacation. From a day on the water at Lake Powell to hiking in Arches National Park, there are an endless number of parks and other destinations to explore.
While national parks are often at the top of most visitors’ lists, Utah is also home to some incredible state parks, too. Many have views and attractions that rival those found in the state’s national parks. One great example of this is Goblin Valley State Park. Keep reading to learn why you should visit this unique state park, and how to plan a day trip during your next Cougar vacation.
What to Know About Goblin Valley State Park
Take a drive through Goblin Valley, and you’ll be surprised that it hasn’t been named a national park. This incredible state park gets its name from the giant rock formations that resemble something otherworldly. These sandstone “goblins” litter the ground of the park’s main canyon. One of the park’s most popular activities is simply wandering among them and taking in the view.
Traveling to Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park is located just an hour and a half from Cougar Ridge, in Green River, Utah. In 2022, the state park tripled in size, growing to 6,300 acres.
You will need to pay an entrance fee to enter Goblin Valley. The fee is $20 per private vehicle, and $25 on weekends and holidays, including Friday through Sunday in April, May, September, and October. While the America the Beautiful Pass does not include entry into state parks, your entrance fee at Goblin Valley State Park allows for entry until the following day at 10 p.m. So if you decide that you need more time to explore during your Cougar vacation, you can always enjoy back-to-back day trips.
Unlike some national parks, including Arches, you won’t need a reservation to enter this state park. This makes it a great choice for a last-minute adventure during your stay at our Fruita Utah hotel. The park is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm. Get to the park early to make the most of your day!
Take a Walk Among the Goblins
One of the first things that you’ll want to do during a day trip to Goblin Valley State Park is to take a walk among the famous goblin rock formations. These rock formations, called hoodoos, are primarily located in a three-square-mile area in the middle of the park, called Goblin Valley. These are the same rock formations found in large numbers at Bryce Canyon National Park. But while they are primarily perched on the walls of the steep Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, here, they are far more accessible and easy to explore.
There are no designated trails in this section of the park. But the wide, relatively flat valley is easy to explore without them. Walking among the rock formations feels a little like what one might imagine walking on Mars feels like. Be sure to bring your camera to snap some pictures here!
There is a parking lot for Goblin Valley, located at Observation Point. Here, you’ll have a great view of the valley below you. After descending from the parking lot, the further you go away from the lot, the hoodoos get larger and more interesting, with many nooks and crannies to explore.
Plan to give yourself anywhere from an hour to several hours to explore the hoodoos.
Other Things to Do in Goblin Valley State Park
In addition to checking out the goblins, there are plenty of other ways to explore Goblin Valley State Park. The park has five hiking trails, each under two miles long and ranging from easy walks to strenuous treks. Rappelling into the narrow slot canyon, Goblin’s Lair, is a must for adventure seekers. If you have your own gear, you can pay $2 for a permit at the park’s visitor center. If you don’t, you can join a guided canyoneering experience instead.
Stargazing is another popular activity in Goblin Valley State Park. Like Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley is a certified Dark Sky Park, which means that you’ll have great views come nightfall. If you’ve already enjoyed a Bonfire Party at Cougar Ridge, you can put your newfound stargazing knowledge to work!
Mountain biking, taking a scenic drive, and disc golfing are just a few other ways to enjoy this unique state park.
Planning a Visit to Goblin Valley State Park
A day trip to Goblin Valley State Park is a great addition to your next adventure at Cougar Ridge. Whether you want to spend a full day hiking, rappelling, or simply wandering among the goblins, or plan to make it back to our Fruita Utah hotel in time for a Bonfire Party, plan to add this unique state park to your itinerary!
Ready to start planning your next Cougar vacation? Book your stay at Cougar Ridge today!