Journey with Raven • Goblin Valley State Park

Something Eerie This Way Stares

Wild Horse Butte Under Cirrus and Sky
Wild Horse Butte Under Cirrus and Sky

It's a little difficult for a Californian – used to driving everywhere on paved roads – to take his car off road. At least this Californian. But that's exactly what you have to do to get to Goblin Valley State Park. Seven miles of washboard dirt road, no less. But at the base of Wild Horse Butte can be seen oddest collection of geologic formations imaginable.

Time and the elements have done strange things to the sandstone here. You need drive only a short distance through the park before your imagination takes hold, and you begin to see faces staring out at you from the cliffs. Bizarre, misshapen faces. Twisted, contorted, distorted faces.

Goblin faces.

Two Goblins in a Stare-Down<br>of the Ages (photo by Qin Zhu)
Two Goblins in a Stare-Down
of the Ages (photo by Qin Zhu)

We had never heard of Goblin Valley until a hotel clerk in Torrey (just west of Capital Reef) mentioned it in passing during our previous trip. Even then we really didn't make much note of it. But as we were driving along State Route 24, we came across Molly's Castle, a little outcropping along the side of the road. Not far beyond that was the road down to Goblin Valley. So we decided to check the place out.

The Goblin Host Stand at Muster
The Goblin Host Stand at Muster

This time, we knew we had to go back.

In the back of the park, past the Three Brothers (what we named "The Goblin King and his Entourage" last time) lays the Valley of Goblins, a large shallow bowl of a valley where literally thousands of these goblins haunt.

A Column of Goblins Standing at Attention
A Column of Goblins Standing at Attention

During the day time, it's a children's playground, with the young of heart (of all ages!) to be found climbing on, under and around the goblins. Navigating the mazes, climbing the walls, exploring the hidden passages beneath the "goblin feet". All across the entire valley of goblins.

I'm told, though, that at as the sun sets, it's another place altogether.

I suppose that's when the goblins come out and play...

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