Goosenecks State Park and Valley of the Gods

Bluff, UT

The tiny town of Bluff (pop. 320) has three restaurants that have been recommended to us.  We’ve eaten at one (Twin Rocks Cafe) twice and have been very pleased.  Earlier in the week we stopped at the second, Comb Ridge Coffee and Cafe, in the morning since their sign said they made espresso.  It turns out one of the two guys who run the place worked at Starbucks for years!  So he was able to make us both our favorite coffee drinks (even Pam’s very complicated Caramel Macchiato!).

Their Blue Corn Pancakes had received high marks from a blog we follow, so we just had to try them.  We were not disappointed!

Our very capable barista!

After enjoying our pancakes, we headed south to visit an area called Valley of the Gods.  This is an area about twenty miles south of Bluff filled with sandstone formations.  A seventeen mile dirt road winds its way through the formations.   Water, wind and ice have sculpted the shapes that the Navajo believe are living spirits.  You would think that rock formations believed to be living spirits would have exotic names.  But today the many buttes have less than exotic names like “Battleship”,”Lady in the Bathtub”,”Seven Sailors”, and “Setting Hen Butte.” (See Deb, more rocks posing as other things!)

Just a few miles south of Valley of the Gods is Goosenecks State Park.  This is not a state park in the traditional sense, but an undeveloped area on an overlook.  The overlook has a fantastic view of the San Juan River a thousand feet below as it meanders around three bends carved into the rocks.

Meander #1

Meander #2

Meander #3

You can camp for free along the rim of the canyon, as two of our blog friends (Watsons Wander and Wheelin It) did recently.  But you wouldn’t have wanted to be there during our visit, as the wind was gusting to about fifty miles an hour!

We left the park and drove north on Rte 161, driving back up the Moki Dugway (see an earlier blog).  At the top of Moki Dugway we turned to the south on a dirt road to visit Muley Point.  Muley Point is a remote, scenic overlook with panoramic vistas of the desert landscape of southern Utah and the San Juan River meandering in the canyon below.  We didn’t get too near the rocky rim though, as the wind gusts made it difficult to stand still at times.

The wind was blowing so hard near the edge of the rim that, when John moved a bit too close, Pam was afraid he would be blown over the edge, so she asked him to throw the Jeep keys to her.  How thoughtful!

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14 Responses to Goosenecks State Park and Valley of the Gods

  1. Allison says:

    We have a 4X4 pickup truck. It’s not high clearance like a jeep, although it’s high-ish. Can we do the Dugway? I want to see that.

    • placestheygo says:

      The Muley Dugway is fine for any vehicle that isn’t too long. The curves are sharp but most of them wide. There are a few areas that are narrow. But your truck will do fine.

  2. rvsueandcrew says:

    Such fun to read this blog post after having been in those same places recently! Your photos are excellent. I’m particularly impressed with the Goosenecks pics. You took them in the wind! Too scary. I’m glad you are having such a great time.

  3. Marsha says:

    Oh I see the new header photo. Very nice John.

    Now what are the chances of meeting somebody out there that worked at Starbucks? You amaze me. Love that Caramel Macchiato!

    What the heck is in a blue corn pancake? It actually sounds awful. But glad it wasn’t.

    We love those two parks. We were there many many many years ago.

    Wow, that photo of you with Muley Point in the background shows how skinny you are girl. Looking very good. I see what you mean by your clothes are too big. That top is about two sizes too big. Doesn’t that give you a great feeling?

    Another beautiful day for you two. Hope you enjoy the weekend.

  4. Janna says:

    A couple years ago we camped on the rim at Gooseneck. The wind came up late in the evening and my poor husband didn’t sleep a wink all night–we were out of there early the next morning!! It also gave me a strange sensation to be walking Emmi after dark with nothing but a flashlight knowing that big, deep hole was out there somewhere!

  5. earthdancerimages says:

    If you are still in Bluff we have another restaurant for you IF you are in the mood for Steak! Cottonwood Cafe on the east side of the highway is a bit pricey, not too bad, but the steaks are memorable! Beautiful!

  6. Ingrid says:

    We boondocked at Goosenecks last November for a night. We would have stayed longer but we were out running snow and wind. Loved it…..great photos as always.

  7. John Pickard says:

    We spent several days parked at Goosenecks a couple different times and it is such a great spot. Valley of the Gods is best in the late afternoon/evening. The Moki Dugway can be driven with any car but not recommended for large vehicles although we saw several rental Class C’s handle it fine. Muley Point is nice for morning shots to the west and evening to the east. Thanks for reminding me of this beautiful area!

  8. I’m trying to catch up so first off, the post on the ruins is amazing. You captured the House on Fire at. Just the right time…absolutely beautiful! You guys are my hiker heroes!

    The wind can be treacherous when you are on the edge…makes me just a wee bit nervous! But what great views you had. Joe and I also like to name the rock formations…it’s so cool to be among them!

  9. LuAnn says:

    Wind and I are not the best of friends. We get a lot of that here in Ohio, but without the views. 😦 Thanks for another great post.

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