If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you were on another planet, then you need to visit Goblin Valley. Goblin Valley is an area where soft sandstone has eroded into incredibly interesting shapes. As you look down into the valley, all of the shapes put together almost looks like hundreds of goblins are having a convention, hence the name Goblin Valley. And as you walk among and climb around on these amazing features, you truly feel as if you have left earth behind and have journeyed to another planet. (In fact, one of my favorite movies, Galaxy Quest, used Goblin Valley as a set for their scene on an alien planet.)
We began our journey early in the morning back at camp. We started off the day with a nice fire, some hot chocolate, bagels, and clementines. It was a little chilly in the morning so the fire and hot chocolate were most welcome. Tye has gotten pretty good at using the fire to toast bagels so we had a wonderful little breakfast out in the wilderness.
After breakfast it was off to explore Goblin Valley! We jumped in our car and drove the short distance to the park from our campsite. The last time we went to Goblin Valley we explored the 1st and 2nd valley so this time we decided to explore the lesser-known 3rd valley.
One of the best things about Goblin Valley is that it is a giant, natural playground. It invites you to climb among its weird structures, to hop from rock to rock, to scale its easily climbable towers. Kids absolutely love it! And, as an adult, you’ll be drawn back to your own childhood and will be just as excited as your kids to climb up on a goblin here or hop over onto that goblin’s head there. It’s a magical place.
Getting to the third valley is quite the trip. You have to traverse all the way around the outside of the valley and cross quite a few crevices. But eventually you get there.
The third valley is just as great as the first and second valley, it’s just a little harder to get to and so is not as popular. So if you are looking for a much more secluded goblin playground to play in, make the extra effort and go to the third valley. Because we went in early spring (which is the best time to go) and it was a little cooler due to some wind, we didn’t see a single other person the entire time we were in the third valley and we were there for a few hours. But we saw plenty of people in the first valley.
In the third valley we found a great little spot to eat lunch at. The kids called it a goblin castle and were all deciding what royalty they were as we ate. Tye and Rogue sat at the base of the goblin castle in some shade to cool off. We also spent lots of time scurrying around and exploring the many “goblin castles” around. And I can’t really explain how much fun it is to just climb and hop around on the goblin rocks. It really does bring out your inner child.
While there we also explored some of the little canyons and found some little caves to crawl around in. The caves are really fun and provide a cool and shaded area to play in if you are a little hot from being out in the sun. Plus, they are just really cool.
We also stumbled upon the heart of Tafiti and Aspen was brave enough to take out the heart, although she quickly put it back…we didn’t want any rock monsters chasing us.
After a few hours of cave exploring, castle climbing, and goblin parkouring, we decided it was time to head back. So we travelled back over hills and through abandoned stream beds to get back to the first valley and the parking area. But along the way we talked about all of the fun adventures we’d had that day.
And I think that’s my favorite thing about going on hikes with my family…it makes you talk to each other. You spend hours and hours walking side by side and you end up talking about so many things that you never would in the distracted world that we live in. Going camping and going on hikes gives you the time to really connect with each other that just isn’t readily available anymore.
After we got back to camp we quickly took down our campsite and loaded up. It was going to be a long drive home and we were all tired from our day’s adventures. A couple of hours later as I looked back at my sleeping kids in the back of the car, I thought how much I love going on these adventures with our family. And I hope that my kids will look back on our trips when they are all grown up and have the best of memories.