Goblin Valley's Dark Sky

Sep 26, 2017
By: Chad Taylor & Jake Wilhelmsen

170 million-year-old hoodoos by day, 100 billion stars by night.

Not all skies are created equal. Utah is home to nine International Dark-Sky Association–designated Dark Sky Parks — that’s more than any other state or region in the world — meaning the utter absence of light pollution in those spots makes the stargazing top-notch. But another thing that makes certain skies more attractive is what’s underneath them. Why limit your astro-tourism to the nighttime? Why stargaze somewhere that’s ugly in the daytime when you’ve got a Dark Sky Park like Goblin Valley in central Utah?

When the pesky sun is up and the atmosphere scatters blue light that obfuscates your celestial view, go ahead and look down. Gaze earthward at Goblin Valley’s gaggle of gnarly gargoyles, gathered grotesquely in a gully of gothic garishness. Climbing and exploring the melting red rock monsters ought to keep you busy until the sun goes down and you can get back to astronomical business. Here’s how to do your trip right.

Camp

There are several campsites. You’ve got your standard tent sites, sites with RV hookups, group sites, and… drumroll... YURTS!

Fees

Main Campground: $25 ($15 extra vehicle fee)

Group Sites: $85 for up to 35 people, $3/person after that (8 vehicles / 4 RVs max)

Yurts: $100

Check availability

Hike

You can spend as much time as you’d like wandering through the hoodoos, or you can choose to hike one of the designated trails:

The Goblin’s Lair

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Difficulty: Strenuous

Carmel Canyon

Distance: 1.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Entrada Canyon

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Curtis Bench

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

The Three Sisters

Distance: 250 yards one way

Difficulty: Easy

Canyoneer

Rappel into Goblin’s Lair, a 70-foot natural sandstone cave on the east side of Goblin Valley, accessed by a short hike through the goblins. You’ll need some technical gear and canyoneering skills, as well as a backcountry permit.

Contact Get in the Wild Adventures for more information

Mountain Bike

The Wild Horse trail system is comprised of five trails that are all perfectly suited for novice riders but still super fun for the self-proclaimed experts.

Click here for more information

Stargaze

To make Goblin Valley even spookier, it has one of the clearest, darkest night skies in the world. Make sure to download your stargazing apps before your trip — there’s a strong correlation between how much light pollution and cellular reception you’ll find in a given place.

Click here to start planning your trip to Goblin Valley and the surrounding area.


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