The Goblin's Lair

MODERATE 83 reviews
#1 of 11 trails in

The Goblin's Lair is a 3.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hanksville, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.5 miles
324 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

rock climbing



wild flowers


Hidden away on the parks eastern boundary, beyond the cliffs that form the far wall of the Valley of Goblins, is a massive cavernous formation known as The Goblins Lair. Not truly a cavern, the lair is actually a beautiful slot canyon, the entrance of which has been sealed by rock fall. Depending on time of day, light may pour in through ceiling vents more than 100 feet above the chamber floor. Once a secret gem known only to a few, a marked trail now guides visitors to the hikers entrance of the lair. The trail begins at the observation point, and follows the Carmel Canyon loop before splitting off after 1/2 mile. Some moderate scrambling up scree slopes and over boulders is required. Caution is advised. Permits for those wishing to rappel into the Goblins Lair are available at the visitor center desk. A $2 permit fee (per group) is charged for the maintenance of the route.

1 month ago

This is a fairly strenuous trail. It gets confusing because hardly any of the trailheads are properly marked. I lost sight of the trail when I rounded the first goblin cliff. There’s a point where the trail splits and goes to the goblin valley and goes further around the cliff. To get to the Goblin Lair, you have climb down maybe 10 or 15 feet of rock. Be careful because everything is sandy and the desert floor is far below. Once you’re past, there are, I guess, dunes of crusted sand that will crumble if you’re not careful. There may be easier way to get to the lair by climbing down to the desert floor and just walking there. The lair is basically an amphitheater of goblins. It’s worth the exhaustion.

1 month ago

It was too hot today to complete the whole hike. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the cavern, but we’ll definitely go back when it cools down a bit and we can enjoy hiking this trail without the harsh sun and heat. Regardless, Goblin valley is always a hit with our family!

3 months ago

The cavern at the end is fantastic and the views along the way are well worth it.

Be aware this is a very very exposed, hot hike. Carry plenty of water.

4 months ago

The kids loved this trail! Especially the scrambling required to get down into the "lair". The cavern is beautiful mid-day with the light shining through!

4 months ago

Very satisfying hike. Going inside the cavern is easy. Take 2 sources of light if you want to go deeper in the crawlspace under the cavern. Don't do this if there's any chance of rain. That's where the rain water goes, you'll pretty much die. :)

7 months ago

We left early enough in the morning that there were hardly any others on the trail with us. Beautiful landscape and the cave at the end kept the kids engaged for a good hour. Such a beautiful place to see for it being mid February.

8 months ago

Great hike! I agree with others, that winter is the best time to visit. The weather is cooler and there are no crowds. We took two dogs on this hike, they loved it. They did not go all way to the bottom of the chamber, but were able to scramble up the rocks with human assistance.

9 months ago

A bit of a short hike but beautiful. Winter is the best time to go!

10 months ago

I enjoyed the quiet lair more than the valley of hoodoos simply because of the amount of kids running around yelling and climbing on everything. After the lair I look the Carmel Canyon side trail then back to the road.

Monday, July 31, 2017

the loop does NOT take you to the Lair!! if you are ONLY going to the lair; take the trail UP and to the left. The trail to the right and down will take you straight into the goblin valley; with no way to see the lair without starting over. THERE IS NO SHADE!! bring tons of water & sunscreen. LAST CLIMB UP A MOUNTAIN TO THE LAIR IS HARD, BUT WORTH IT. we suggest going to both parts of the park; but do it EARLY.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Nice easy walk to a cave but the goblins are really the main attraction. Roaming around in the park with the hoodoos is really fun! Yay, Galaxy Quest!

Monday, June 26, 2017

The rock formation ma were coops but I kinda felt like once I saw about 5 minutes of it, I'd seen it all. Would have been much better had it not been so hot. Don't got in the heat of the day, cause it's like burning in hell....gonna make sure I live right so I don't go to hell after knowing how hot it could be

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Super fun to play hide and seek

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Always a family favorite to play hide and seek amongst the goblins.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Too much traffic for my taste. Some interesting rock formations. However, it would be great for kids.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Fun hike the end was the best. We stopped to run up and down the sand as well

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Goblin Valley is an amazing place. Unfortunately people are allowed to roam anywhere in the park..You can imagine the havoc brought about by loads of unsupervised children. That said, the Goblins Lair is relief from the crowds. A nice trail around the other side of the valley that is sparsely traveled. I only ran into to a pair of women who were looking for the "lair." Not a difficult hike, mostly flat with a scramble up to the lair. As in most hikes that are more remote, it is better to have some company.. I didn't, but I am careful when climbing or descending scree slopes. Was lucky enough to get some interesting light from the top. Like some others on this site, this was combined with a visit to Little Wild Horse Canyon.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

One of the MOST AMAZING spots ever! i couldn't do little wildhorse slot canyons due to the 20% chance of rain... next time!
Goblin Valley is like an alternate universe. Profound!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

kind of a unique place, you can make this hike as long as you want really as you wander through Goblins, Easy hike on a dirt like surface, go early it gets very hot

Sunday, July 10, 2016

now I know what hell is going to feel like.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

hot but goblins are cool.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

It was incredible! Well worth the hike!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

We loved it. It was a great hike. At the end, there is a cave hidden on top

rock climbing
Thursday, April 14, 2016

It was great!! We did a lot of walking and climbing the huge rocks. My kids love it!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Really great area of odd little rock formations. It is in the middle of nowhere, but worth the drive. I enjoyed wondering through the "goblins".

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Always a blast at goblins. I went with my buddy's a couple years ago but this summer I'm taking family! There is a unmarked trail to the top of the plato at the north. If you have pro you'll see the X indicating the top "5180T" if you explorer the north end going in and out of the slots eventually you will keep going up until you reach the top. You will be doing some scrabbling. Note* I'm 5"11 and there are some tall areas where you need to reach areas to ensure your not suck... Suggest not to do alone. Enjoy the summit!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wonderful place to take children for a hike. My children have always enjoy walking around the goblins

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pretty amazing site to see. Fun for all ages. Its literally a giant play ground for all ages and you just park and explore!

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