With famous national parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon and Arches, it’s got to be hard for the Utah state parks to get some attention. Don’t let that stop you though! A visit to Goblin Valley State Park with kids is so much fun! If you ask our kids, Goblin Valley was one of their favorite things to do in Utah!
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We first heard about Goblin Valley in our Utah Lonely Planet and we thought it sounded a really fun thing to do in Utah with kids.
Then, quite randomly, we were hiking with another family in Zion National Park with kids and they said Goblin Valley was one of the most fun places he’d ever been. After getting a third recommendation for Goblin Valley on our Instagram feed, we knew we had to visit Goblin Valley with our kids.
At this stage of our Utah road trip with kids, we had been hiking for 15 days straight and our kids deserved something just for them, so we decided to take them to Goblin Valley.
What to do in Goblin Valley State Park with Kids
Goblin Valley State Park is one of the most fun things to do with kids in Utah – it’s literally a giant outdoor playground for kids.
The main attraction at Goblin Valley State Park is a series of three connected valleys filled with hundreds of small “goblins“. The Goblins are odd-shaped rock formations which are small enough for kids to climb on, yet big enough for them to be filled with excitement and adventure.
(The Goblins reminded me of giant Nerds made of rock!)
There are so many fun things for kids to do at Goblin Valley. The rock goblins have small tunnels for kids to climb through, hills to run up and over, rocks to climb up, etc.
If your kids love running around getting dirty in the outdoors, they’ll go nuts over Goblin Valley State Park.
You can really let your imagination go wild in Goblin Valley as you’ll see all kinds of shapes in the rocks; my imagination saw lots of dinosaur faces in the rocks, but I suppose some looked like goblins too. The towering cliffs in the distance of are pretty cool too.
We only had a few hours in Goblin Valley with our kids and we spent our entire time exploring the Goblin Valleys. If your family has extra time, there are some kid-friendly hikes in Goblin Valley including Carmel Canyon, Curtis Bench and Entrada Canyon.
Goblin Valley Hiking Stats
Distance: We spent all of our time playing with our kids in the Valley of the Goblins, which has no set hiking trail. It’s a literal free-for-all, where kids can run wild exploring the Goblins rock formations. In 90 minutes, our kids ran 1.3 miles / 2.1km through Goblin Valley.
Elevation Gain: Goblin Valley is very flat with no discernable elevation change.
Difficulty: Goblin Valley is an easy hiking destination. You’ll spend your entire time chasing your kids around, so you should be able to keep up.
How to Get to Goblin Valley State Park
How to Get There: Goblin Valley State Park is about halfway between Moab (1h40m) and Capitol Reef National Park (1h20m). It’s just off Utah Highway 24 on Goblin Valley Road.
Visiting Goblin Valley with Kids
- There are bathrooms at the trailhead. Be sure to use them as the only places to go on this trail are places that other little kids will want to explore.
- There are no water bottle filling stations on this hike. If you feel you need a refill before starting, the Goblin Valley State Park Visitor Center has a water station.
- The goblins are made of sandstone. If your kids will want to climb up and over the goblins, be sure they have shoes with good traction.
- There are no trees in Goblin Valley, so you need to be prepared for full sun exposure. Bring sun hats, a hydration pack with lots of water and sunscreen.
- The ground around Goblin Valley is hard packed. An off-road stroller could be used around the goblins, but during our time in Utah, the most common way parents enjoyed activities with their small kids was to use a backpack carrier – we like the Deuter Kid Comfort 3 for hiking with babies or toddlers.
- Dogs are allowed in Goblin Valley, but must be on leash. Dogs are not allowed on most national park trails, so if you are traveling with a dog, it’s another great reason to stop here!
- Keep your eyes open for wildlife, but chances are you won’t see any as most of the animals in the Goblin Valley State Park are nocturnal. Jackrabbits, pronghorns, foxes and coyotes all call this park home.
A Goblin Valley Picnic
Safety Tips for Goblin Valley
- The sun can get intense in southern Utah, so bring more water than you think you will need.
- Be aware there are rattlesnakes and scorpions in Goblin Valley. Although we didn’t see any, if you are concerned, it’s best to ask a Park Ranger for advice.
What to Bring to Goblin Valley with Kids
Visiting Other Utah National Parks
No trip to Utah would be complete without a visit to all of the Mighty 5 National Parks! We’ve got you covered with detailed posts on all the kid-friendly hikes we did and where we stayed here:
- Ultimate Guide to Bryce Canyon National Park with Kids
- Capitol Reef National Park with Kids
- Arches National Park with Kids
- Canyonlands National Park with Kids
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