Wednesday, September 23, 2015

State Park Detour: Goblin Valley and Dead Horse Point

I wasn't able to plan our state park tours with as much detail, as Utah's state park websites are quite horrid. The entry points and facilities within the parks are wonderful, but they need to hire new tech support. Just my two cents.

After leaving Capitol Reef National Park (and eating that scrumptious cinnamon roll) we headed toward Goblin Valley State Park. I had no recollection of Goblin Valley (and had never been there), but as I was planning our trip Ben mentioned it and asked if it were nearby where we'd be traveling. I was surprised to see it was just off a main highway we'd take from Capitol Reef to Moab (Hwy 24). So we penciled it in, and since the timing was right we took the detour over to see it.

It's strange how you can spend hours driving through Central Utah without spotting an other vehicle, and just as you reach your middle of nowhere destination a bus full of European tourists pulls in. That's totally what happened to us. Naturally we asked one of them to snap a family shot of us.

But first, a little background. Goblin Valley has been described as a mini Bryce Canyon, because of it's many hoodoos. I, of course, disagree. The hoodoos in each park are unique and you have to see them both to appreciate them -- one cannot replace the other. In Goblin Valley you have the opportunity to get right up close and personal with the hoodoos (but don't be idiots, be respectful). There are no marked trails through the park (which has three separate valleys), with the exception of the stairs that take you down into the first valley. 

View from the staircase entering the Valley, we walked all the way through the Goblins to that back rock wall.
Getting up close and personal
Sometimes, when they don't co-operate for pictures, we just go with it.

Reid loved poking around all the different hoodoos.
Nell loved taking a break in the shade.
This next set of pictures was taken from the backside of the park, once we'd reached the Eastern boundary.
Ben carried Coraline in on the pack. 

Reid really wanted to go up there, wherever "there" was.
I kept telling him to go ahead, and then we realized he wanted to go all the way around the structure on the right.
Thankfully, Ben was supportive and hiked up there with him. 

Hiking down from that mid level plateau on the far right.

Nell and I stayed on lower ground. Oh, and she was whiny enough that she got a ride on my back.
I'm always amazed by the support on that thing. Lugging her around was a breeze (compared to listening to her whine).
When I shared our Goblin Valley photos on social media many of my Utah friends commented on how much they loved going there with their family when they were kids. I'm not sure why, but that kind of surprised me. It is virtually no where. Like, the area wasn't even discovered until the 1920s. It is a really cool state park; one that will pique your curiosities. 

After Goblin Valley we hit Interstate-70 and had lunch in Green River. It was nice to be near civilization again (no offense Wayne County Utah -- it's not like Green River is anything fancy, it was a gas station lunch). From there we headed toward Moab.

Though I had lots of details on our itinerary, we were flexible. Before arriving in Moab we decided to detour over to Canyonlands. Upon entering the park we changed our minds and decided it'd be better use of our time to go see Dead Horse Point. The two parks (one National and one State) are adjacent one another. Dead Horse Point is much smaller, so that fit better with our time constraint. 

Traveling through the state of Utah as a kid, in some gas station, I spotted a Postcard for Dead Horse Point. I read the description on the back and was immediately fascinated. I HAD to see this place. I closed my eyes and imagined myself on the plateau, wild horses running past me, and it. felt. magical. I could practically feel my hair blowing as the mad race toward the river took place. 

I know this picture does the place no justice (neither did the postcard), but just envision yourself, arms thrust to your sides, standing atop the cliff of that river bend. The whole idea is just glorious to me. With age, it is also frightening, but still glorious. 

But this is likely the closest I'll ever get to that plateau.

Check out the Mesas to the left of me. This place is seriously a geological wonder.
I cannot get enough of it.
Unlike Goblin Valley, Dead Horse Point has a fancy visitor center, shop, and coffee house where you can rest and take some short hikes. Reid loved looking at all the educational tools the center had to offer. It also boasts some rich cowboy and wild stallion history. The below pictures are from the views at that first stop. They are looking out toward the East (with the Manti La Sal mountains in the back). Dead Horse Point is at the South end of the park. 

1 comment:

Pa said...

Great pics! Love it...

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