Monday, May 13, 2013

Utah Places: Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley is a great example of the unique geological formations found in Utah.  In the valley, there is an unusual concentration of bizarre sandstone formations commonly known locally as "hoodoos".

Sunset in Goblin Valley

According to geologists, the formations resulted from erosion of a softer stratum of the supporting column, while the more obdurate caprock resisted weathering.

Whatever the reason, the weird gnome-like formations abound in this particular locale to make a showplace unlike anything else found on earth.  Not specifically the formations by themselves, which are spectacular enough.  But just the sheer numbers of them in concentration is impressive.  Goblin Valley enjoys some degree of obscurity, being so out-of-the-way and unknown.  So there are relatively few visitors, and you may find, on a casual visit, that you have the place pretty much to yourself.  If peace and solitude is what you seek, this is a good place to find it.

 Goblins galore

Not only that, but Goblin Valley State Park sits like an oasis in the desert, with camping facilities and all kind of modern amenities.  For those wandering souls who have been braving the desert sands for any length of time, it may be that the nice clean restrooms and public showers are the main attraction.

Goblin Valley location and nearby attactions

In addition, the allure of the San Rafael Swell country beckons to the bold.

In the immediate vicinity are a number of stunning slot canyons, some of the most spectacular places on earth.

 Pothole in Little Wild Horse Canyon
 Little Wild Horse narrows

 Crack Canyon trailhead

twists and turns in Crack Canyon

driftwood lodged high up in Crack Canyon

 Crack Canyon narrows
If 4wd exploring is your interest, the "Behind the Reef" trail and some of the many other dirt trails that wind through the desert may prove attractive.  Many other unique geological formations characterize the San Rafael Swell area.

characteristic "hogback" ridges in the San Rafael Reef

4wd tracks and Factory Butte

The Factory Butte area has become the focus for many wilderness preservation arguments.  The area is a popular destination for 4wd enthusiasts, motorcycle riders, ATV operators, and mountain bikers.  Erosion and vandalism of historic mining works have become common.  Some wilderness preservationists have objected to the use of sensitive desert areas for such abusive and destructive traffic.

1 comment:

Jim Cobabe said...

Always check the weather report before going into any slot canyons. Remember, flash flooding can originate from very far away in the mountains.