Goblin Valley State Park

If you’re looking to go off the beaten path and have some fun with a couple nights of camping, Goblin Valley State Park may be the place for you.  Located near Hanksville (It’s really in between Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks), it’s filled with amazing scenery.

 

Goblin Valley State Park - what an amazing place to hike or camp!
It is a state park, and the fee to get in is $13 per car ($10 if you have a senior citizen 62+ with you).  You can also opt to camp there, which we did once, and we highly enjoyed it.  The campground fee is $25, which includes the park entry fee. ($15 more if you bring a second vehicle).   They have RV and tent set ups available, as well as 2 yurts if you want to camp a little more luxuriously!  (The price rate for the yurt is around $100/night.)
Holy cow, I could have spent HOURS climbing and exploring at the Goblin Valley State Park.  Such incredible scenery, fun history, and places to run around!
Goblin Valley State Park is am amazing place to hike and/or camp.
Having a son with autism who used to bolt and/or run away when he was mad, I loved this area…there weren’t ledges he could fall down, you know?  Some of the rocks we climbed on could have been fallen off of, but there were no real possibilities for him to fall a long distance, and that eased my stress a TON.  But don’t let that make you think there isn’t some major hiking available.  This is such a family-friendly area.  The kids can run around, climb, explore, and learn about the neat history of the park.  The rock shapes are simply incredible, and I’m telling you now, if I wasn’t already married, I think I would LOVE having my wedding photos taken here…the beautiful red sandstone contrasting a white dress….ahhh…
Oops, getting off track there.  Sorry.:-)
Goblin Valley State Park
The area is huge.  You could literally explore for hours.  There are restrooms available, and paved parking.  There is a pavilion with picnic tables and benches as well.  The campground has heated restrooms and showers.  It would make for a fantastic day trip, or a camping trip with the family.
Goblin Valley State Park - It's a great place for a day trip or a camping trip for the family!

Goblin Valley State Park Details:

 

  • Location – Green River, UT 216 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, 20 miles north of Hanksville (get directions HERE and updated pricing)
  • Kids/Snacks? – Very kid friendly, and yes, bring snacks and drinks.  You’re gonna want to be here awhile! 🙂

Twin Lakes – Big Cottonwood Canyon

Ahh…Twin Lakes is a gorgeous hike located near the top of the Big Cottonwood Canyon.  It is truly one of our favorites, and we enjoy it every year!

 

 

Twin Lakes - a gorgeous, family friendly hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon!

 

When we arrived at the trailhead for both the Twin Lakes (which is now just one body of water) and Lake Solitude, we weren’t sure which we should try.  We opted for the shorter one, just in case the kids got tired.  This was a great hike, with moderately steep ridges at points.  Our 5-year old needed to take a couple of breaks, which worked out perfectly for picture-taking opportunities:

 

Taking a quick break on the trail to Twin Lakes
About 3/4 of the way up you come across a lovely meadow.

 

 

 

View of Silver Lake on the way to Twin Lakes!  What a gorgeous trail!
About halfway up you can get an amazing view of Silver Lake down below.

 

 

Once we got to Twin Lakes, we had the place completely to ourselves for about 45 minutes!  At one point there was one other small group there, but for the most part it was all ours….THAT’s my kind of hike.

 

 

 

twinlakes4
The black arrow you see is pointing at the end of the hike. Once we arrived I explored the hills just above.

 

 

twin lakes - a view from behind the aspen trees!
Looking down at twin lakes from the aspen trees just behind.

 

Twin Lakes Details:

  • Location – Brighton Parking Area, Big Cottonwood Canyon (drive all the way to the end of the canyon.)
  • Distance – 2 miles round trip from the start of the trail (2.5 miles round trip from the parking area.)
  • Kids/snacks? – this is a kid-friendly hike.  We recommend bringing snacks for the little ones.

Jackson Hole WY Deals

Our family recently found some Jackson Hole WY deals on a local deals site, and so guess where we’re going to take our mini summer vacation?  Yep, we’re total suckers for a good deal. 🙂

 

The main deal that grabbed my attention and started this whole planning process?  This 13-mile scenic tour down the Snake River.

 

13-mile-scenic-tour-down-the-snake-river-for-one-52-off-8-6627392-regularI went on a river trip for the first time last year as part of an outreach for moms of children with autism, and it was incredible.  This is a much shorter trip, but I just HAVE to be on the river again, and have my family with me this time!

 

Now, if relaxing river floats aren’t exciting enough for you, I just placed my reservation yesterday, and I was told that for $20 more, I could upgrade our trip to a whitewater.  I’m a little too chicken for that, but be aware that it is an option!

 

 

 

We combined that with a hotel deal (that expires in ONE DAY!) for 3 nights for $169.  This place has a pool and hot tub, but they do not have microwaves and refrigerators in the rooms included with the deal, which is a big bummer.  We usually bring and refrigerate/microwave our own food.  Luckily, this place is right in town and is only a few blocks away from a Wendy’s, a Dominos, and other fairly affordable eateries.  We’ll also be bringing our cooler and keeping it filled with ice so we’ll have our “refrigerator” anyway.

 

I have read reviews that this hotel is a bit dated, and that the bathrooms are tiny.  We’re not too concerned since we aren’t planning on spending our time at the hotel, but if that’s a concern for you, there is another deal happening for the area right now:   a 1-night cabin rental.

 

I’m getting so super pumped!!

Lisa Falls – Simple, Short Hike

If you’re looking for a very short, easy hike, Lisa Falls is it.  It’s definitely ideal for those with young children!

 

Lisa Falls - a short, simple hike up Little Cottonwood Canyon!

 

Lisa Falls is a popular spot up the canyon and it tends to get crowded, so the earlier you go, the better.  There isn’t a lot of room for exploration, and with the crowds, there isn’t a lot to do, but it’s a nice simple hike and it can be fun to sit and watch people climb the rock right next to the falls.  I personally would recommend this hike as a stop-off on the way to another adventure.  The kids will probably enjoy putting their hands in the water and feeling the smooth rock!

 

Lisa Falls - a great little hike for those with young children!

 

 

To get to Lisa Falls, simply head up Little Cottonwood Canyon.  You’ll go up 2.7 miles from the mouth of the canyon, and there is parking on the left.  It isn’t a paved parking lot, but it is an extended “shoulder” specifically for parking.  The trail starts right where you park.

 

Lisa Falls details:

  • Location – Little Cottonwood Canyon (4.2 miles up)
  • Distance – 0.2 miles
  • Kids/Snacks – This is a great hike for kids.  It’s so short you shouldn’t need snacks.

Hello world!

Hey guys!  We are the Cox family.  Over the last few years, we’ve discovered the excitement and joy in exploring the beautiful world we live in.  We’ve enjoyed our many little adventures, and have been surprised at the number of people who ask us to share our details…how are we finding these places, how are we doing them so frugally, etc.

utahexplore

Well, we decided to start a blog so that we can share!  We hope you like casual – because that’s who we are. We’ll share specifics on the places we go – big and small – as well as general tips that we use to make our adventures go more smoothly (most of the time, anyway).  So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, and then get outta that chair and go explore!