Goblin Valley, Utah
It all started while watching a re-run of "Galaxy Quest" on cable one idle Saturday morning. During a scene in the movie where Tim Allen faces off against a giant rock monster on some weird-looking planet, I found myself saying, "Hey, that'd be a cool place to ride." Once the credits started rolling, I noticed that the scene had been filmed not on some remote planet, but in Goblin Valley, Utah. Hmmm... maybe that wasn't such a wild thought after all.
Five minutes later, I did a quick search on Google and found out that Goblin Valley is a remote park in the south-east part of Utah. This was looking better and better. The fact that it is a state park meant that riding among the goblins was out, but there had to be some great trails nearby to explore.
The next thing I knew, Carl and I had the bikes loaded and were heading to beautiful southern Utah.
Just north of Hanksville, UT -- Goblin Valley national park is in a very remote area, and there's not a lot of signs directing the way. The good news in all of this is that there aren't a lot of people running around. In fact, we practically had the place to ourselves.
The "goblins" were an amazing thing to see, but it turns out they were the least eventful part of the journey. At this point, we were both so eager to ride that we only spent about ten minutes gawking at the rock formations. We immediately left the park and went searching for a camp site so we could unload the bikes.
It didn't take long to find a great little camp site that was fairly isolated and surrounded by gorgeous scenery.
Finally, it was time to ride. Being that neither of us had been to this area before, we weren't sure what kind of trails we would find. In fact, we didn't even know if there was any good riding. And considering it took us more than eight hours to drive up from Arizona, that was quite a gamble to take. Fortunately, the gamble paid off. Not 30 yards from camp, we hit an outstanding trail that took us through the surrounding foothills. We spent the next five hours just riding.
We could not have asked for better trails. I was blown away by how good the riding was. What made it so fantastic was the varying terrain we encountered. In a single loop, we hit everything from challenging single track to high-speed dirt roads, incredible sand dunes, slot canyons and even some slickrock. It was an absolute blast.
After a good night's rest, we geared up and headed out for another day of excellent riding.
After putting in about nine hours on the bikes, we called it a day. The original plan was to camp again that night and make the long trek back to Phoenix the following day. But we decided to pack up and head at least part of the way back that evening, to make the next day's drive a little shorter. The highway miles just seemed to float on by, however, and we ended up driving all the way back to Phoenix that night. So after nine hours in the saddle and another eight in the truck, we finally pulled into the driveway at about 2:30 am.
Needless to say, we can wholeheartedly recommend the Goblin Valley area for anyone who wants to truly get away from it all and explore some amazing trails.