Off the beaten track Utah – Goblin Valley in Emery County

Spectacular Scenery in Emery County
San Rafael Swell in Emery County

The vastness and bleak beauty of Utah’s southern deserts cannot be understated.  Between Green River and Moab County (Arches and Canyonland National Park) and Wayne County (Capitol Reef) lies largely uninhabited land filled with amazing landscapes.  It is known as San Rafael Country.

Emery County aka San Rafael Country is possibly best known for Goblin Valley State Park.

Tina in the shade, Goblin Valley
Tina in the shade, Goblin Valley

 

Located  between Green River and Capitol Reef National Park is the turn off for Goblin Valley – Hwy 24.   This surreal landscape has been created mainly by water erosion and also weathering.  It is sandstone (softer parts of the rock eroded more quickly than harder layers) which create the bizarre shapes that dominate this valley.

Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park

 

The park was brought to the public’s attention when popular comedian Tim Allen starred in the film Galaxy Quest and the rock formations in the Valley became part of the story line.  Camping is allowed nearby and there are showers and bathrooms and also electricity in the yurts.

Snake Petroglyph on the way to Millsite Reservoir
Snake Petroglyph on the way to Millsite Reservoir

 

The amount of records carved into rock in this area by the ancient aboriginal peoples is mind boggling.  My favourites were the petroglyphs at Rochester Creek called the Rochester Rock Art Panel.  A short 1/2 mile hike from the roadside (Country Road 805) and you see how ancient peoples learned about family life. One image even depicts a mother giving birth!

Rochester Creek Petroglyphs
Rochester Creek Petroglyphs

 

Birthing depicted on petroglyphs
Birthing depicted on petroglyphs at Rochester Creek

 

If you are looking for a natural activity, how about scorpion hunting at night?  Using ultra-violet black-light torches to spot the creatures’ exoskeleton’s which glow in the dark, is something kids in particular find fun and frantic.  Perfect when camping.

Scorpions skeletons glow under black light torch
Scorpions skeletons glow under black light torch © gutsytraveler.com

 

Castle Valley Outdoors

Ever fancied going on an old fashioned shooting trip?  You and your party will be shooting in style at the expansive Castle Valley Outdoors property.   There are organised jaunts every autumn to shoot pheasant, chukar and quail.  You also can stay at the property’s lodge or one of its private cabins.

Shooting at Castle Valley Outdoors
Shooting at Castle Valley Outdoors

 

Antler chandelier at Castle Valley Outdoors.
Antler chandelier at Castle Valley Outdoors.

 

Fancy a spot of golf?  The views are magnificent from Millsite Reservoir Golf Course.  There is an enormous spillway/waterfall here and the owners provide golf buggies for everyone at only $36 for 18 holes.

Millsite Reservoir Golf Course
Millsite Reservoir Golf Course
Sandstone cliffs frame the Millsite Reservoir.
Sandstone cliffs frame the Millsite Reservoir Golf Course.

Getting off the beaten track can be a wonderful way to experience a new destination.  For a place as scenic as Utah, your efforts will not disappoint.

Images, unless stated, @roaming_scribe

Lynn stayed at the River Terrace Inn.  Visit: www.river-terrace.com/

For more information click Emery County.