A few months back, my friend Tim and I, decided to take a weekend road trip to a few spots in the states nearby. Our first destination was arriving in Albuquerque New Mexico for their crazy awesome Balloon Fiesta. After that, we made our way to the Painted Dessert in Arizona, which I touched on previously and finally we explored Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon in Utah.
I’ve seen pictures and heard of the arches and canyons throughout parts of Utah but for some reason, I was never really drawn to visit. Then, in 2010, the movie 127 hours came out. The movie is based on a true story about an explorer out of Colorado that goes to Blue John Canyon in Utah. While he is maneuvering his way through the canyons he slips and slides on some loose rocks and boulders, which eventually end up getting him stuck with his arm in between a boulder and the canyon wall. Don’t worry, things end fairly well.
Anyways, it wasn’t until I saw video of the Canyons that I was really inspired to go see them for myself.
Towards the final leg of our trip we get up early and head to Goblin Valley National park. A short drive and a seven dollar entrance fee later we find ourselves walking among the Goblins. The eroded sandstone figures give the entire place an otherworldly feel providing one of the most unique places I have visited. Along with freely being able to roam around the Goblins, there are various trails that take you around and through the nearby areas. Also, not just for day hikes and leisure, Goblin Valley National Park has various campgrounds for anybody wanting to sleep under the stars.
After meandering around the valley we get some lunch and head a short ways north to Little Wild Horse Canyon. For those of you who have seen the movie, I want to say that this canyon is about 20-30 miles south of Blue John Canyon. This slot canyon creates a loop that takes a few hours to navigate through. Possibly longer if you’re a picture fanatic, which Tim and I both are. Every turn introduces a new site and on some occasions some fun obstacles.
This was probably my favorite part of the trip. There were times where we had to squeeze are way through and under the canyons and a couple of times where we found ourselves pressing up between the walls to avoid water. Some people we encountered ended having to go through as they weren’t tall enough to shimmy over the water features. Unlike Blue John Canyon the water features aren’t swimming holes but the canyon is a lot safer to navigate. Apparently Blue John Canyon often has to have helicopters go in and help out people who get stuck within the walls.
This trip has motivated me to explore more of Utah for sure. I think I’ll have start dabbling in canyoneering and go back to visit Blue John Canyon relatively soon! (Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to let people know in advance if that happens, haha) If you ever find yourself in Utah, make it point to check out some of the stunning sights!