Rural Utah and Goblin Valley State Park

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I absolutely loved the ride from Bryce Canyon to Green River, it was exactly the kind of scenery I had imagined we’d discover on this road trip – winding roads around hills, along rivers and across plains, farmland, ranches, little villages and towns, and miles and miles of traffic free road. Perfect.

Goblin Valley State Park

Riding in Utah.

From Bryce we took the 62 north through rural Utah, which was very green with farmland (huge sprinkler systems to keep crops growing in what still resembles desert to the untrained eye). Our route took us through open range after open range, where cows, buffalo and horses stood and watched as we rode passed as if they don’t get many motorbikes riding on their land. We saw tiny calf cows and huge buffalo bulls, eagles and vultures overhead, rode over what seemed like hundreds of cattle grids, and just enjoyed being in what felt like real Utah.

We stopped at the general store in Koosharem for a much needed cold drink and salty snack, and ended up chatting to the owner about English money and supermarkets and candy. The store was the gas station, grocer, café and post office for the town, and was bustling with people coming and going for gas (quad bikes seemed to be the transport of choice here) and emptying their post boxes.

Capitol Reef National Park

On the 24 in the Capitol Reef National Park.

Capitol Reef National Park

We changed direction and headed up to 8,000 feet over some huge hills with snow-capped mountains in the distance, and into Capitol Reef National Park. In the Waterpocket Fold, basically a wrinkle in the earth extending 100 miles in Utah, it was an unexpected delight as we had not noted this particular Park to visit on our road trip, it just happened to be on our route. You can see quite a few of the highlights, including Twin Rocks, Chimney Rock and Behunin Cabin from the main road – the 24 – through the Park without passing an entrance station and therefore without paying an entrance fee.

Capitol Reef National Park

The Twin Rocks and LincsGeek’s Tiger in Capitol Reef National Park.

Goblin Valley State Park

I definitely won’t admit that the reason Goblin Valley State Park made it onto our “must see” list was because it was where they filmed that scene in Galaxy Quest where they visit the alien planet and fight the cute little grey aliens and that huge rock monster. What a great film! But rather because the place is another one of those weird and wonderful landscapes that we simply had to see with our own eyes.

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park.

Being a State Park we had to pay the $10 per motorbike to get in. It is a relatively small area to explore if you consider the size of some of the other Parks we’ve visited, but still well worth the effort of riding into the desert as it really is one of a kind. The road to the viewing area used to be dirt but has recently been paved, and there is a large parking lot with a shaded picnic area overlooking the valley.

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley State Park

Can you spot the goblin?!

We spent about half an hour wandering around the goblin-like rock formations in the valley, taking photos and pretending to be Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver fighting off creepy baby looking aliens. We couldn’t really manage any longer as it was SO hot (high 30s with virtually no shade), but the place made us smile so much with its weirdness so we were very happy we visited.

 

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