Are you familiar with the view of Horseshoe Bend? Multiply that by three, picture fewer tourists, and you’ll get an idea of what awaits you at Goosenecks State Park. In this article, we will find out together how to visit one of the lesser-known places in this part of the United States (we’re talking about the state of Utah), but the lack of fame does not make it any less beautiful.
What to Do in Goosenecks State Park?
Never before has the expression pictures speak louder than words been so true. Thanks to the pictures, you can understand what a beautiful sight awaits you. Once you have parked your car, you will find yourself on a natural terrace from which you can admire what the San Juan River (which now flows gently 984 ft below you) has managed to do over thousands of years.
You can also enjoy your visit in peace and quiet. There are not many people who know about this hidden gem and even during the high tourist season, you will be able to enjoy this spectacular view without too much chaos around. Apart from the splendid panorama, however, there is not much else to do at this park. It is not possible to descend to San Juan and there are no hiking trails. Nevertheless, don’t be discouraged by the lack of activities, because the view alone is worth the price of admission.
How to Get to Goosenecks State Park
If we have piqued your curiosity and now you want to add this stop to your West Coast itinerary, it is advisable to visit it before or after passing through Monument Valley which you can use as a landmark. Goosenecks State Park is located in Utah, in the Navajo Nation, about 30 minutes from Monument Valley and its younger sister, Valley of the Gods, just over ten minutes from Mexican Hat.
If you’re coming from the northeast, once you pass the town of Bluff and its picturesque Twin Rocks, continue along US-191 to a junction where you’ll take US-163. After about 15 minutes, you will see signs for Goosenecks State Park on your right. This is the route that I have personally taken and that I recommend especially if you are going to continue towards Monument Valley.
On the other hand, if you come from the south and have already followed in John Wayne’s footsteps, all you have to do is take US-163 north. Once you have passed the San Juan River and the iconic Mexican Hat, you’ll be very close to the signs for Goosenecks State Park, but this time the signs will be on your left.
A Short Scenic Tour of the Nearby Attractions
You may also consider another recommended itinerary that will give you the opportunity to visit two additional breathtaking panoramic viewpoints. Take SR-316 and then SR-261 (North). Then a series of hairpin bends will begin that will lead you to Moki Dugway and the Muley Point Overlook. Stop to admire the view and then continue to Muley Point (turning left to Muley Point Road), where you can enjoy another unforgettable view, just as beautiful as the one in Goosenecks State Park. The entire route will take you about half an hour. For more information, please read the section on the subject found in the article about the Valley of the Gods.
Goosenecks State Park Hours and Entrance Fee
To visit the park, you pay $5 per day per car and $10 per night for camping. Keep in mind that apart from the typical vault toilets, you won’t find anything else. For this reason, be sure to have everything you need with you. The park is open year-round 24 hours a day. In case a ranger is not present at your arrival, you are still required to pay the amount due by depositing it in an envelope in a special container located near the entrance.
Where to Stay in the Area
If you have an RV the answer is easy. You can stay in the park (if you are looking for some tips, here is our guide to renting an RV). If you are traveling in a car, the decision about where to spend the night depends on what your next destination will be. In general, the suggestions found in our article on where to stay near Monument Valley can be useful. The closest area to find accommodations is Mexican Hat. You will find the list of all the places in Mexican Hat where you can stay overnight below: