Goosenecks State Park And Valley Of The Gods: Is It Worth It?

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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.

Water bottle – It’ll be hot and you’ll need to stay hydrated.  Even if it’s not hot you need to stay hydrated.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen.  I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, or a visor.  A baseball hat should be fine but I like my giant sun hat, too.

Sunglasses – This is a must no matter where you are.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly depending on where you are, time of day, and season.  I usually use my rain jacket for this.

Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking, just in case. 

For Camping

Kammok hammock – I have a Roo single that I love. It’s the color of mac and cheese and pretty light weight. I don’t think as light as Eno if that matters though. But it’s perfect for just regular camping.

RTIC cooler – We have one of those giant coffin sized Yetis, which is great, but this 20 can soft RTIC cooler is a lot more convenient for small trips with easy access to a fridge and ice.

REI Passage 2 Tent – Our tent isn’t available anymore but this one is similar.  We’ve used it quite a few times and it’s been great.  It’s good for two people, but can be a little cramped if you move around too much.

NEMO Viola sleeping bag – Mine isn’t available anymore but this one is similar.  It’s very good in cold weather, not freezing, but in the 40s with leggings on, I was totally fine.  It has zipper vent things on the top that are supposed to help it cool down when it’s hot.  I don’t know if it really did that.  When we camped in south Florida, I was still pretty warm with them open and it was probably in the 60s. 

LuminAID lantern – I love this lantern.  It’s great for getting around your campsite in the dark, lighting up campground bathrooms at night, and even during power outages at home.  You can plug it in to charge it or just let the sun do the work. 

REI Ruckpack 18 – This is the daypack I have and it’s awesome.  It’s lightweight, has water bottle pockets that my 40-ounce Hydro Flask fits in, and it comes in nice colors. 

REI Camp Wrap – This is totally unnecessary, but I love it.  It’s basically a blanket poncho and it doubles as a good blanket for sleeping in warmer weather.  I used it two nights in south Florida and it was perfect for when my sleeping bag was too hot.

Puffy quilt – If you’re a really warm sleeper and visiting in the summer, a puffy quilt might be a better option.  I prefer this for hotter nights.  Check out the Rumpl camp quilts 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.

Camp chairs – If you plan on doing a lot of camping outside of this trip, and backpacking especially, the REI Flexlite chairs are great choices.  Check out the camp chairs here.

Dramamine – this is a must if you get carsick.


Where is Valley of the Gods and how to get there

Valley of the Gods is just outside of Mexican Hat, not too far from Bluff, 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. If you’re following the Trail of the Ancients, these are easy stops.


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.

Books to read before visiting the Four Corners:


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 or Blanding, 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.


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Have you been to Valley of the Gods?  Is it worth it?  What did you think of it?  Do you want to go?

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