Goblin Valley State Park is inhabited by strange and unique rock sculptures, carved by wind and water, that suggest mischievous goblins and phantasmagoric creatures. It also contains colorful chocolate-colored balanced rocks, spires and pedestals amidst the solitude of the Great Basin Desert.
The Valley, which is only about a mile across and two miles long, is full of thousands of mushroom-shaped pinnacles a few feet high. These pinnacles are composed of large, orange-brown boulders of hard rock atop weaker sandy layers which have eroded more quickly. Goblin Valley State park is located in Emery County between the towns of Green River and Hanksville. Follow Utah Highway 24 to Temple Mountain Junction and proceed 14 miles southwest on a surfaced and improved gravel road. The Park encompasses 3,014 acres.
Secluded Goblin Valley was first discovered by cowboys searching for cattle. Then in the late 1920’s, Arthur Chaffin, owner/operator of the Hite Ferry (a ferry used to shuttle people across the Colorado River), and two companions were searching for an alternative route between Green River and Cainsville. They came to a vantage point about a mile west of Goblin Valley and were awed by what they saw–five buttes and a valley of strange-shaped rock formations surrounded by a wall of eroded cliffs.
In 1949, Chaffin returned to the area he called Mushroom Valley. He spent several days exploring the mysterious valley and photographing its scores of intricately eroded creatures. Publicity attracted visitors to the valley despite its remoteness. In 1954, it was proposed that Goblin Valley be protected from vandalism. The state of Utah later acquired the property and established Goblin Valley State Reserve. It was officially designated a state park on August 24, 1964.