Goblin Valley State Park

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While on the way back from a guided tour of Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park, we stopped at Goblin Valley State Park. In Utah, the State Parks are every bit as spectacular as the National Parks, with fewer crowds.

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Goblin Valley State Park features thousands of mushroom-shaped hoodoo rocks, referred to as “goblins.” Goblin Valley has as many of these hoodoos as Bryce National Park, but most of the ones we saw in Bryce were pointier.

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Our guide didn’t know we were huge Sci-Fi fans and so didn’t anticipate the sheer delight we experienced at finding ourselves in the middle of the alien planet that Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver and crew landed on in the movie Galaxy Quest.

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While we didn’t see any beryllium spheres, we did enjoy the paved roads into the park. The fees the state received for allowing the movie to be filmed there paid for the access road.

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We spent at least an hour walking among the bizarre formations. Hubby found one that looked like an Easter Island head, there was another with a cool window. We saw very few people the whole time we were there.

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Location: Goblin Valley Rd, Green River, UT 84525

Designation: State Park

Date designated or established: 8/24/1964

Date of my visit: 4/13/2017

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Bryce Canyon National Park

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Welcome back to National Parks with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

 

Before we ever set foot in Utah, I realized that Bryce Canyon National Park , famous for its rock formations called hoodoos, deserved far more time than we’d alotted on our initial plans. But how to fit in everything and still be back in the Northeast for Greek Easter (lest we incur the wrath of Yia-yia?) I inquired on switching our last Zion Lodge night to Bryce Lodge, but alas, they were already booked up. So we made the most of it and spent an action packed day traveling from Zion to Capitol Reef. Here are the stops we were able to make inside Bryce NP in about 4 hours:
Bryce Canyon Visitors Center
A typical NPS visitors center with restrooms, gift shop and interprative displays. We dashed inside to check maps, get the pin I insist on collecting from every park we visit, fill our water bottle and peruse a display of Native American history and hoodoo ghost stories.
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Canyon Trail Rides: 2 hour trail ride

Since we knew we had limited time to explore Bryce, we had booked in advance the two hour AM horse-back ride into the canyon.
None of us were experienced riders and were feeling some trepidation…how do I get up in the saddle, how do I steer, what if I drive my horse off the cliff?? We needn’t have worried. The horses (and some mules) know the route and the staff helped us the whole way. My horse was Peanut and he was sweet and surefooted.
It was a little scary when we first came over the ridge and looked down into the canyon. But the scenery was so beautiful and the horses so calm, that our fears quickly evaporated.
The guide kept us entertained with information about the canyon and cheesy cowboy humor.
You can’t bring a backpack or anything except a small camera (which I recommend you hang around your neck ) but they have a small shed for people to leave their belongings.

Bryce Canyon Lodge Dining Room

We had lunch in the lodge dining room after taking the morning trail ride into the canyon. The place is pretty laid back and casual…no one seemed to mind that we were dusty from riding horses..but with the classic elegance of a historic park lodge.
I had the elk chili (just the right amount of heat, very tasty) and we also had the chicken noodle soup (fresh, nice big pieces of chicken) and the bison burger.
Waitress was cheerful, service was efficient and we were on our way to our next adventure in good time.

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Sunset Point

The view from the point is stunning, but my husband didn’t get to see it because he let us out to go see it and then circled the lot for a long time, hoping in vain for a parking spot to open up.

My daughter and I walked along the rim trail and took some photos. There is a trail down into the canyon there too. You’d need to get there early in the morning to beat the crowds, I guess. We were there too early in the season for the shuttle bus…it wasn’t running yet.  That would be a much less stressful way to get around the park.

Bryce Point

A short hike out onto an observation platform and you can pretty much see 360 degree views of the whole park.
It’s difficult to find parking in the small lot at the trailhead and rangers were ticketing improperly parked vehicles, so we did have to wait a bit before a spot opened up. But it wasn’t as bad as the lot at Sunset Point, and we did eventually get a spot so we could all enjoy the awesome scenery.

Location: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT-63, Bryce, UT 84764

Designation: National Park

Date NPS designation declared: 2/25/1928

Date of my visit: 4/12/2017

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