Goblin Valley State Park is like a little secret. Hidden at the end of a 16 km (10 miles) road off Utah state road 1016, it feels completely remote, as though events in the rest of the world could never affect this little gem.
We went there for two reasons: to enjoy the park’s Dark Sky designation. Goblin Valley was identified as one of the darkest places in the United States. With no light pollution thousands more stars and even the Milky Way are visible. And to see the “goblins.”
The goblins are created by the action of wind and water. The sandstone erodes in layers because of its uneven hardness, creating all kinds of odd shapes: people, sea creatures, animals, anything you can imagine. There are no hiking trails here, you just wander through the goblins and let your imagination take over.
We were thrilled to see the location of our campsite, under a goblin, next to a butte. Our site seemed sheltered from the constant wind of this wide-open country. We set up our tent, mattress and sleeping bags, then went off to explore the goblins at sunset. Supper and stargazing followed. But one more goblin surprise awaited me at bedtime.
I was crawling into our little tent by the light of my headlamp when I discovered small drifts of red sand in the seams and dips of the sleeping bags. It was like fine snow that accumulates in any little depression when it first starts to fall. Goblins like camping too.