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: Moab and Arches

Sego Canyon and Arches

We actually started this family gathering in Green River and stayed in a motel there. It is an hour away from Moab. The first day we hiked to some Native American Rock Art sites in Sego Canyon near Green River. Dinner, of course, was a burger at the famous Ray’s Tavern.

Sego Canyon

Sego Canyon is filled with many types of rock art. On top of a rock are footprints (top left); Grinding stone grooves  in the rock that was once lying flat (top right); Petroglyphs and Pictographs; and a ghost town as well.

The next morning we drove to Moab. Some of the family went  on some trails with ATVs. The rest of us shopped and went sight-seeing, and visited all of the art galleries. In the afternoon we visited Arches National Park.

Family Trip--Arches1

Top Row L-A small arch in the park; C-Hiking up the solid rock; R-Hiking to Delicate Arch. Bottom Row–Hiking to Delicate Arch–a pretty long hike, but so worth it!. R-Our ballerina daughter-in-law did some poses for me under the arch.

There are several arches to see, and we love to hike, so we trekked  to the farthest, and most famous–Delicate Arch. Everyone in the world should see this national park! Amazing formations, and amazing views!!

Destination: Duck Creek

Duck Creek Village and Cedar Mountain

We rented a 6 bedroom cabin and stayed at Duck Creek Village. Fishing, hiking, mountain atmosphere!

Family Trip Duck Creek1

Top L-Skating in the Ice Cave; R-Fishing in a lake; Middle L- Trail to Crystal Falls; R-Crystal Falls; Bottom L and R–Evening Family Entertainment, playing a tune on desk bells, and dancing queens.

While at Duck Creek we took some side trips. There is an Ice Cave nearby, on Cedar Mountain, and a Bristle Cone Pine Trail–Bristle Cone Pines are thought to be one of the oldest living things on the earth, some of them are 5,000 years old! Navajo Lake was close by and good fishing. Crystal Falls is a really great hike!  We traveled from Cedar City up Cedar Mountain, past Navajo Lake to Duck Creek. The side trips were in that same area.

You can rent a cabin 3-6 bedrooms for $175-350/night. See the link at the top of this post. Sometimes cabins have a two or three day minimum stay. This in between Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument just 42 miles away.

 

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

Destination: Bryce Canyon

Ruby’s Inn Campground at Bryce Canyon

We planned our reunion for Bryce Canyon, and because of our grandchildren, we thought it would be fun to stay in Tipis. They rent for $35-53.00/night depending on how many people–2-8. The cabins rent for $52-65/night. There is a restroom/shower building and also an indoor pool that is available to campers.Family Trip--Bryce Canyon  We participated in the wagon ride and chuck wagon dinner one evening. We went on several gorgeous hikes! I think Bryce has the most unusual formations of any of the National Parks. It is a fun place to explore, and tipis made the trip all the more enchanting.

Destination: Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

We stayed in Torrey at the Cowboy Homestead Cabins. They are each $89.00. They have a kitchenette and bathroom and bed–cute cabins and fabulous view! This is the best deal because they are off the main road, a little outside of town. There is an irrigation ditch that runs next to the property. My city grand kids never got out of the ditch unless we left to go somewhere (top middle).

Family Trip--Torrey Capitol Reef1

We made some side trips the days we were there. We went hiking in Capitol Reef National Park (bottom left). We went to the ghost town of Fruita, where there are orchards with fruit you can pick; an old school house; a gift store; and this old truck (middle row 5, 6). We also drove to Boulder Mountain and hiked and played in the water (bottom center).Each family had their own cabin, but the back yard is large with a lot of room for ball and frisbee games, and outside grills where we cooked together. Across the fence in the back yard is a horse pasture (top right). We want to revisit this destination and stay in these same cabins!