Goosenecks State Park
The Goosenecks State Park in southeastern Utah offers some of the most striking examples of entrenched river meanders on the North American continent.
Goosenecks State Park, Utah
The Goosenecks State Park in southeastern Utah offers some of the most striking examples of entrenched river meanders on the North American continent. The park is located near the state's southern border and provides an awe-inspiring view of the San Juan River winding its way through the desert 1,000 feet below.
The History of Goosenecks State Park
The formation of Goosenecks State Park took place over 300 million years ago. The San Juan River has carved its way through layers of sedimentary rock, creating a deep canyon and the distinctive, looping meanders that give the park its name. This region was known to the ancient Pueblo people and later the Navajo, who named the river "Tsékooh Hatsoh," meaning "rock with a hole."
Goosenecks State Park was officially established in 1962 and remains a testament to the power of geological time and the persistence of natural forces.
Exploring Goosenecks State Park
One of the defining features of Goosenecks State Park is the breathtaking view. From the observation point near the parking area, visitors are treated to an almost aerial view of the twisting canyons and river below. The park covers a small area of just 10 acres, but the views of the deep canyons and the looping river are expansive.
While there are no developed hiking trails within the park, the adventurous might want to explore the Honaker Trail, a 2.5-mile trail leading to the river, built during the Gold Rush era. However, caution is advised due to the steep and rough nature of the trail.
Camping at Goosenecks State Park
For those wanting to stay overnight, Goosenecks State Park offers primitive camping on the rim of the canyon. There are no designated campsites, and you're free to set up wherever you find a spot you like. Keep in mind that there are minimal facilities; there's no running water, no food services, and only vault toilets are available.
Tips for Visiting
The park is open year-round, 24 hours a day, so plan your visit according to the weather.
There's no entrance fee for the park, but there's a small fee for overnight camping.
Bring your own water, food, and other necessary supplies as amenities are sparse.
Don't forget your camera! The views, particularly at sunrise and sunset, are unforgettable.
The rugged beauty of Goosenecks State Park offers a window into the earth's geological past. While it may not have the amenities and activities of larger parks, its stunning scenery makes it a worthwhile stop for those traveling through southern Utah.