near Mexican Hat, Utah
Less than one hour
Pets are allowed
$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
Bring your own water.
No water available at the park.
Open 24 hours a day 7 days a week
Literally no shade except for under one pavilion
None. But the guard station had maps and information about the area
Yes. $10 per night
Bring all your food in. Mexican Hat nearby has some restaurants
Goosenecks State Park: 37.1752, -109.92665
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.