"It's an alien planet!"
-- Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell), in Galaxy Quest
Goblin Valley, a state (not a national) park in central Utah, is one of the weirdest landscapes on Earth. It's a desert valley filled with hoodoos of Jurassic-era Entrada sandstone laid down in multiple layers about 170 million years ago, then eroded over time. Erosion of the different layers has occurred at different rates, leaving thousands of oddly shaped and precariously perched formations across the entire floor of the valley.
The valley covers about 3600 acres (5.5 square miles) -- more than 10 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC, or 4 times the size of New York's Central Park. So it's a great place to explore . . .
or play hide-and-seek!
The valley was also the location for an alien planet sequence in Galaxy Quest, the 1999 movie send-up of Star Trek, starring Tim Allen as the William Shatner/Captain Kirk character, along with Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman.
|Notice the hoodoos surrounding the cast.|
You can watch a 2-minute clip from that part of the movie by clicking here.
Goblin Valley shows evidence of Fremont-era Native Americans (AD 700 - 1300), as well as later Paiute and Ute activity. In the contemporary era, Goblin Valley was "discovered" in the 19th century by cowboys searching for lost cattle. In the late 1920s, Arthur Chaffin saw the valley and named it "Mushroom Valley." The area was acquired by the state of Utah in the 1950s and was made a state park 50 years ago this month in August, 1964. Somewhere along the way, some marketing genius decided to re-name the area Goblin Valley, perhaps to make it more attractive to visitors.
But whatever its name, it's another world!
If you would like to see these and additional images in a larger format, visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.