Searching for a pet-friendly camping experience that's out of this world? Goblin Valley State Park, located in Utah's San Rafael Desert, offers amazingly unique terrain that makes it feel like you're on another planet.
Found between Green River and Hanksville, Goblin Valley was formed from deposits left behind some 170 million years ago by a huge inland sea. Today, the landscape is dotted with sandstone goblins and distinctive rock formations, so first-time visitors could be forgiven for thinking that they've somehow ended up on the surface of Mars.
This makes it a wonderful park for families to explore, and there are three trails that allow you to get a closer look at these distinctive goblins. The Entrada Canyon Trail leaves from the campground and offers a slightly strenuous 1.3-mile trek to the goblins and back. Kids will love wandering freely among these remarkable rock formations, and you'll most likely reach for your camera on myriad occasions. To see the goblins from a different angle and take in great views of the surrounding desert, the Carmel Canyon and Curtis Bench Trails are also worth exploring.
Since 2015, the park has also been home to the seven-mile Wild Horse Mountain Biking Trail System, which is designed to take visitors through different areas of Goblin Valley rarely seen. And for those interested in canyoneering, you can test your skills at a cave known as Goblin's Lair on the east side of the valley.
Pets are welcome in the park, provided they're kept on a leash and cleaned up after at all times. Your pooch is also permitted in the campground, where you'll find 24 sites (10 walk-in tent pads and 14 RV sites). All sites have a picnic table and fire ring, while modern amenities and a dump station are easily accessible.
All sites also come with a shade shelter, which is a very welcome addition in hot weather. However, this part of the world is home to extreme desert conditions, so make sure you and your pooch always have plenty of water.
The camping charge in Goblin Valley State Park is $30 per night, but this includes the $15 park entry fee. Two yurts and a group camping zone are also available, but pets are not permitted in these areas.
Goblin Valley State Park is a rugged and remote location, so you'll need to plan your camping trip in advance and make sure you pack all the essentials. But please believe us that it's worth the trip -- this place offers scenery you probably won't find anywhere else.