One of the things I’ve wanted to do since my first summer in Bullfrog is to visit Valley of the Gods. Well, it was one of the first things I did once I got here for the season. Off we went on a cold, windy, and cloudy day in April for what I had very high expectation of. Valley of the Gods was described to me as a mini Monument Valley or the Grand Canyon with the best views in Utah. Safe to say, I was expecting a lot, so if you don’t go in with those expectations, it’s pretty cool.
Valley of the Gods is a scenic drive dirt road taking you through a Monument Valley-like area, but cozier. We were coming from Bullfrog and started on the side of Valley of the Gods at the bottom of the Moki Dugway. I will say, I wasn’t blown away by a lot of it, but especially not the beginning. It was pretty flat with a formation here and there but it was far from what I thought it was.
Once we started to get farther back into the canyons though, it got more impressive. Still not the coolest thing I’ve seen in Utah, but I did enjoy it more the longer we drove. The road isn’t bad but it is pretty washboardy in a lot of places. Any car should be fine driving on it as long as it’s dry. There was a wash that we had to cross, but it wasn’t tough. A mini van crossed before us no problem. If it’s wet, you may need 4WD hgh clearance, but even then it may be impassible.
We made a couple stops along the way to look for Geocaches. I found a cute little Stitch toy in it and obviously had to trade for that. We didn’t get out and do any hiking because, like I said, it was windy and freezing, but this would be a great place for some backcountry hiking if you’re comfortable with it. Overall I enjoyed Valley of the Gods, but I wouldn’t go way out of my way for it unless it was my only chance to see it and I’d never really seen the area.
I do think I liked it less than most people I’ve met that have been there, so don’t let this discourage you from going. I know a lot of people really love it, it just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be after my expectations were set.
What to bring to Valley of the Gods
Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side. They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.
Snacks – These are more important for long hikes, but you never know when you’ll get hungry! I like EPIC bars (kind of like beef jerky but different), Sahale nut mix things, and Moon Cheese. There’s always the good old Clif Bars and trail mix, too.
Light Jacket – Because you just never know. Weather can change quickly depending on where you are and if you’ll be in any slot canyons, they can get cool depending on the time of day and season. I usually use my rain jacket for this.
Sleeping pad – Gotta make the tent comfy! The one I have isn’t available anymore but this one is similar. It’s self-inflating and just needs a little help filling all the way. Buy the sleeping pad here.
Pillow – If you’re just driving, I’d just bring a regular pillow, but if you’re flying then renting a car, you might want a smaller pillow. This is a good non-inflatible option. Here is a good inflatable option.
Lantern – I love having a lantern for in the tent at night, reading in the dark, or going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The LuminAID is my favorite and you can charge your phone on it. Buy the LuminAID lantern here.
Where is Valley of the Gods and how to get there
Valley of the Gods is just outside of Mexican Hat at the bottom of the Moki Dugway. I’ve included maps from Blanding, Monument Valley, and Capitol Reef.
Blanding to Valley of the Gods to Goosenecks State Park
Monument Valley to Goosenecks State Park to Valley of the Gods
Capitol Reef to Goosenecks State Park to Valley of the Gods
How much is Valley of the Gods
When is the best time to go to Valley of the Gods?
There isn’t really a bad time to go, but I would not go if it is raining or if it has been really wet recently. The road can be impassible in wet conditions. I think any car should be able to make the drive if it is dry. If it’s wet or in bad condition, 4WD high-clearance may be necessary, but still isn’t always possible.
Camping in Valley of the Gods
There are no official campgrounds in Valley of the Gods but you can find some car camping spots along the road. You are not allowed to have campfires, though.
Is Valley of the Gods worth it?
I would say yes if you’re in the area already. It’s a great addition to a Monument Valley trip, but I wouldn’t go way out of my way for just this. If this is your only chance to go on a trip to Utah, then I would also recommend it, but if you can only do so many scenic drives, I think there are better ones. I would say the same goes for Goosenecks State Park. It’s cool, but there isn’t much to do there, but it’s worth a stop if you’re passing by.
Geocaching in Valley of the Gods and Gooseneck State Park
There are a surprising number of Geocaches along the Valley of the Gods drive and even in Goosenecks State Park. There are a couple in Mexican Hat and along the Moki Dugway as well, which you may be taking to get here depending on where you’re coming from. Even if you don’t have to take it, it’s worth the drive up and down. Some require rock scrambling to find but others are nice and easy.
Once we were done with the Valley of the Gods drive, I wanted to stop at Goosenecks State Park since we were right there. We headed back over towards the park to cross another thing off my Utah bucket list. In the park, we just stopped right after the ranger station to check out the view of, you guessed it, the Goosenecks, the park’s namesake.
We admired the view for a bit before looking for a couple of the Geocaches in the park because you know I can’t go and not look if I know they’re there. I found two before hurrying back to the car because it was so cold and windy the day we went. It was spring in Utah after all. While I liked the park, I’m not sure I’ll go back just because there isn’t much of anything to do there other than look at the view. I would still recommend going if you’re nearby though.
Where is Goosenecks State Park and how to get there
Goosenecks State Park is between the Moki Dugway, Mexican Hat, and Valley of the Gods. I’ve included maps above with directions including Valley of the Gods.
How much is Goosenecks State Park?
The entrance fee is $5 and they only accept cash.
Camping at Goosenecks State Park
There are eight designated campsites along the rim that are first-come, first-serve. It is $10 per night. Each spot has a fire ring and picnic table.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Monument Valley, this is a great side trip if you’re coming from the west. If you’ve got limited time, you wouldn’t be missing out on a lot if you skipped them. You do get some cool views of Monument Valley from both places, though and the Moki Dugway is totally worth seeing. So if you take the Dugway and have two or three hours to spare, I’d make the trip through Valley of the Gods.
Have you been to Valley of the Gods? Is it worth it? What did you think of it? Do you want to go?