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Goosenecks State Park – Utah
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Overview
Location

near Mexican Hat, Utah

Parking Lot Elevation

4500 ft

Time Required

Less than one hour

Pets

Pets are allowed

Fees

$5 per vehicle
$2 per person on a bus
$10 per night camping
If no ranger is on duty then use the self-pay envelopes at the guard post

Water Info

Bring your own water.
No water available at the park.

Best Season

All

Hours

Open 24 hours a day 7 days a week

Sun Exposure

Literally no shade except for under one pavilion

Restrooms

Yes. Pit-Style

Visitor Center

None. But the guard station had maps and information about the area

Camping

Yes. $10 per night

Food

Bring all your food in. Mexican Hat nearby has some restaurants

GPS Coordinates:

Goosenecks State Park: 37.1752, -109.92665

Trail Map


Driving Directions


The Trail:

Ranger guard station

Ranger guard station

Before I knew this area was a designated Utah state park, I found it using Google Earth.  I noticed there were several really sharp bends in the San Juan River and I thought it would be a great place to take some photos.  Well, I quickly discovered that this was not just a cool area but it was also a popular state park.Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park

To see the San Juan river below wind around these giant bends is incredible.  You almost can’t grasp at how immense it is.  The river winds around for about 5 miles but only advances towards Lake Powell 1.5 miles.  There are three goose necks you can clearly see because of the very thin areas in which the river twists and turns and has cut a winding path in the canyon.  We also saw some rafters making camp below.

Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park

The park is very simple.  There is a guard station where you pay the $5 (in 2016 fees) and drive straight ahead to where the lookout is.  And that is it.  You can walk along the south western rim on the road if you would like too.

We came just before the sun was setting and found that there were people scattered all over the rim camping.  Apparently this is a very popular area for people who are not from Utah for we were the only car with Utah plates.

Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park

When we were checking out some of the camping spots, a car tugging a small teardrop trailer pulled up and a man stepped out and said with a big smile “Ahh! I’ve finally made it!”  We asked him how far he drove and he said was from Syracuse.  Since we were in Utah we assumed he was talking about Syracuse in Northern Utah to which we replied we were also from that area.  He started talking about some other things about Syracuse and then we quickly realized he was talking about the Syracuse in New York!  Apparently he had been driving the last two days to get here and also see nearby Monument Valley.  I didn’t know how popular this place was for people outside of the state.  I had never heard about this place until only recently too.

Each campsite has a picnic bench and there are several picnic benches at the overlook parking lot.  The park has pit-style restrooms which we could smell everywhere we went in the park – it was BAD!

I really enjoyed this state park.  I would like to come back and camp here.

The only shade in the entire park

The only shade in the entire park

Goosenecks State park Goosenecks State park

Personal Thoughts:

Even though this state park was extremely small, to see these huge bends in the San Juan was worth our side trip here.  I wouldn’t come down just for this though.  Make a trip out of Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods and this park too.

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Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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