Destination: Goblin Valley and the Reef

Sensational Geology!

Goblin Valley      San Rafael Reef      Little Wild Horse Canyon

Goblin Valley State Park and Little Wild Horse Canyon are two natural playgrounds for kids! The geologic formation of these places set imagination spinning.  The San Rafael Reef in the same area is also an amazing rock wall tilted to almost vertical position!

Family Trip--Little Wildhorse Canyon1

Top Row: Hoodoos (geologic term) found in Goblin Valley State Park
Bottom Row: Uplifted rock to almost vertical position is called San Rafael REEF, near Goblin Valley.

We have had a great time at Goblin Valley with the kids by dividing into two groups and playing hide and seek, using two way radios to give clues as to where you are hiding, because it is a large are full of funny-looking formations. It’s also fun to look at the hoodoos and tell what they look like to each person. We’ve found turtles, horses, elephants, etc. Fun!

Goblin Valley is a campground with restrooms and campsites with fire pits, etc.  It’s not easy to get a spot there, however. Behind the San Rafael Reef, close by Goblin Valley are many good primitive camp spots. We camped up against the hill. In this same area is a narrow slot canyon named Little Wild Horse Canyon that is a super fun place to explore!

Family Trip--Little Wildhorse Canyon

All photos are different areas of Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon.

It is a fairly easy hike, even tiny kids can do it (see bottom right photos–she’s two and a half. The canyon is full of pockets, holes, and twists and turns. It’s like exploring a basement hallway in the San Rafael Swell. Crazy fun! The spring a this year–a few weeks ago–there was knee deep water in part of it that you had to wade through. That was even more fun!

 

Destination: Black Dragon

Black Dragon Canyon– Camping/Hiking

We have been hiking and camping in the San Rafael Swell so many times and have seen so many parts of it, that I would say we have seen about all of it, except that is impossible to do in one lifetime! We had hiked the canyon rocks before, but an old timer told us there was a cave up behind the boulders, so we went searching. My husband and I found it, but it was so full of soft dirt and dust that we thought when we brought our whole family back, we needed to put masks on them (middle right).

Family Trip--Black Dragon1

The cave is exciting to find. It takes some searching. There is only a small opening that you have to stoop to fit into (bottom right looking from the bottom of the cave up to the opening). The cave is so deep and dark that we all had headlamps (bottom left).   The ceiling and floor are lit up by the flash, and you can get the perspective. There is plenty of other wonderful sites to see in this high rock walled canyon (top left) like pictographs (top right). The Black Dragon pictograph here has been enhanced. It is very faded. It is a fun place to go, and there are lots of camping sites close by, and many other sites–see Goblin Valley and the Reef