Goblin Valley State Park couldn’t have been more perfect for my little boys. It reminded me of the very authentic, organic, and au-natural version of City Creek’s Dinosaur play place, except Goblin Valley is a 100% ORGANIC.
On a side note, you can bring your dog too!
The formations are pretty fun to watch and climb up on. Goblin Valley gets its name from these rock formations that were created from soft sandstone eroding away. It is pretty unique. Goblin Valley is a small place too. It was pretty perfect for our 1 night, 2 day getaway. Last time I did Goblin Valley I visited Capitol Reef too. It is a pretty scenic drive between these two parks.
All the kids, and there were 7 of them, were exploring tunnels, skinny slots, and climbing up. They were so excited to explore!
At one point we had a game of kick the can going. If you aren’t familiar with that game, basically one kid stands in the middle all alone next to a can (or gatorade bottle), and everyone hides. The child near the can has to protect it and counts down and when they say zero, everyone comes out of hiding and tries to knock the can down without being tagged and sent to jail.
Goblin Valley was a pretty perfect place to do it, seriously. I highly recommend it!
My 5 year old believes that it should actually be called Mushroom Valley because all of the formations seem to resemble Mushrooms more so than Goblins.
Where to Camp
SO MANY PLACES TO CAMP FOR FREE near this park! I love to use: https://freecampsites.net/ However, there were more places than are listed on this site. We found a nice little place tucked in up against the bluffs. We brought buckets, shovels, rakes, and toy cars. The kids played in the dirt undisturbed for great lengths of time. We even brought KITES.
Which was great because it was super windy. We ended up sleeping in our car because the tents we did set up ended up looking like those inflatable tube men bobbing up and down. One moment our tent was as flat as a pancake from the wind the next moment it was bobbing straight up.
Hiking Little Wildhorse/Bells Canyon
How to get there:
Leaving the Visitor Center you need to turn left onto Wild Horse Road which is about .7 miles from the Visitor’s Center, and go for about 5.4 miles until you see the trailhead. It is pretty obvious when you arrive. (Wild Horse Road has so many spots for FREE CAMPING.)
Google Maps can take you there too. There is no phone reception & no data at all. in this place, but you can download the map from Google Maps fairly easily ahead of time and have access to it even though you have no service.
Services at the Trailhead:
There are bathrooms and small trash cans. The trailhead is well marked. However there was NO TOILET PAPER when we got there. I do not know the story about that, but consider yourself informed!
Why This Trail?
It provided for some pretty awesome slots that our kids enjoyed climbing into. The trail was NOT STEEP at all. I saw all ability levels doing it too. Also, many babywearers. Little Wildhorse canyon is an 8 mile loop. We probably hiked 1.5 miles in and turned around because, with reason, we doubted the ability of all children being able to walk that long. I have done all 8 miles before and if you are up for it, do it, it’s a fun hike. Pretty much flat the whole time too.
The only part I thought was pretty questionable was at the beginning. When you start the trail you follow a dry river bed for some time and then you need to climb up to the left, it is pretty obvious when you get to this point. You climb left because if you continue straight you will meet up to a pothole that doesn’t seem like there is much chance of climbing through. It’s impressive so feel free to take a look. However, you will need to hike up to get around the giant pothole. Once you climb up you will have to get down again to get into the canyon. It is at this point where I had some concerns. Small children need a lot of assistance in this area. It is not unreasonable, but if you have bad knees it could make for a rather uncomfortable decent.
It is short lived and I almost forgot about it, but wanted to make you all aware.
Goblin Lair apparently is gorgeous and fun, but strenuous--- especially for little legs so we opted out on that one, but it is on my bucket list! I wanted to mention it so if you have the chance, DON’T PASS IT UP