Utah Weekend Getaways - Hoodoos, Slot Canyons, Rock Art
Article by Ryan Wilson
This is the first in our getaway series. If you are looking for adventures for yourself, you and some friends or your family, but don’t know where to start, we have a few ideas for you.
These adventures are just a rough itinerary with plenty of room for you to adjust and tweak, to make your escape truly a one of a kind trip.
If you can leave work by 2pm one Friday and are wanting a weekend escape in southern Utah, this is the trip for you.
Head to Goblin Valley State Park, leave no later than 2pm, to give yourself enough time to check it out. There is a $13 fee to enter the park, then I recommend you head to the valley floor, which is accessible from the main parking lot. Wander, get lost, let your imagination run wild, as you find more goblins and hoodoos around every turn.
There are a few trails in the park, but I thought the best was just wandering around. This place is kid and pet friendly, they will both love getting lost in a maze of Hoodoos. This place will also wake up the inner child inside all of us busy adults.
After you've had your fill of Goblin Valley, leave the park and take your first left on Wild Horse Road. You'll want to keep driving a few miles, 4wd isn't necessary, but helpful, and I’d also recommend good ground clearance. I did see plenty of regular family sedans on the road, I just wouldn't be as comfortable with them. When you find a nice spot, set up camp, and go explore around your campsite. Wildflowers and cactus blooms are abundant on this part of BLM land.
You'll be heading down the road to the Little Wild Horse Canyon - Bell Canyon trailhead. There is a large parking lot with restrooms, and you will likely see quite a few vehicles, but the crowds will likely be non-existent once you are in the narrows.
The full loop is just shy of 8 miles, however, if that is a bit much for you, you can just do an out-and-back of Little Wild Horse which is just 3.6 miles total. There are more than a couple of places to stop and have some snacks or lunch with the kiddos if you need to. There isn’t water though, so be sure to bring plenty.
After the hike, you can head back to your campsite to hang out and relax, or there are numerous other trail heads on the road that you can stop at on your way back to camp for some extra exploration.
After breakfast, pack up and hit the road. On the way home, you'll be going to Nine Mile Canyon. This place is a 45-mile canyon (not sure where the name came from), with tons of rock art from different eras of Utah's history. The road is mostly paved and there are a couple of restroom/picnic areas along the route. When you have finished, you will likely be ready to continue your drive back home, refreshed, rejuvenated and with some great photos you can share to inspire your coworkers to get out as well!
Day 1: Goblin Valley State Park
Take I-15 Southbound to exit 257, follow signs toward Price (US 6 East)
Follow US 6 East for 126 miles to 70W, towards Salina.
After 8 miles on 70W, you’ll see signs for Goblin Valley/Hanksville, take exit 149, UT 24W.
Take a left off of the exit, follow UT 24W for 24 miles, turn right on Temple Mt Rd.
After 5 Miles, you’ll see Goblin Valley Rd on the left.
Almost 7 miles later, you get to the park gate.
After Exploring Goblin Valley leave the park on the same road. Shorlty past the Goblin Valley entrance take a left on Wild Horse Rd.
5.5 miles down this road is the trailhead you’ll be at on day two, you can pass the trailhead, and drive as far down the road as you want to find the seclusion desired, there are also camp spots around the trailhead.
From your chosen campsite make your way back to the Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon Trailhead. After hiking and enjoying the beauty head back to your campsite relax and get ready for day 3.
Head back to Goblin Valley Rd., Take a left. This will end at Temple Mt. Rd, where you will take a right.
Follow this a few miles back to US 24W, turn left and continue for 24 miles, until you get to the 70W junction.
Go east on 70W for 8 Miles, until you get to US 6W toward Price/Salt Lake City snd 99 Miles later you’ll get to a gas station in Wellington. This place has a Subway, restrooms and lots of snacks to fill up on, also, you’ll probably want to refuel here too. There is a map station with free map/brochures for 9-Mile Canyon. Pick up one of these, then you can easily tailor the rest of your trip to your desire.
Follow the road from the gas station until you have reached the Hunter’s Wall at the end of the canyon, or wherever you decide to end the trip.
From your turnaround point, you’ll have two options to get back home. Depending on where in the valley you live, one may be preferable to the other.
Head back the same way you came, turn right one US 6W and follow it until you get to I-15.
Take 9 Mile Canyon Rd to US-191 S/US-40W in Duchesne County, you’ll see signs for Myton, UT, on county road 43. Take this, unpaved, but improved road all the way to Myton, then turn left onto US 40W.
Follow 40W to 80W, then you’ll get to I-15
Option Two is more scenic, but slower, the choice is yours.
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