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Riding on the Moon: The Wild Horse Trails

Goblin Valley State Park | Friday – Sunday, December 3-5, 2021

Last year we had such a great time riding all of the Intrepid Trails at Dead Horse State Park that this year we thought it was time to do the same thing at Goblin Valley State Park so we could ride all of the Wild Horse Trails. Back in August I booked the same yurt at Goblin Valley that we had stayed in almost two years ago for the first weekend in December and hoped that the weather would cooperate with our plans again this year. Of course, with the dry and mild winter we’ve been having this year it was no surprise that the weather was looking great for riding as the weekend finally approached. After I left work on Friday afternoon we loaded up our bikes and gear into the Jeep and drove over to Goblin Valley for the weekend!

It was dark out when we arrived, so after we brought our gear into the yurt I tried my hand at a couple of night shots. It was a New Moon so the stars were looking bright!

The First Night

After taking a few shots I returned inside and read for a while before we got to bed early. Thankfully, the temperature at night was not as cold as it was during our last visit and the heater was able to keep the inside of the yurt plenty warm this time. Oh yeah, this was also my 100th night camping this year, which was a goal I had set for myself back in January, so I was pretty happy to reach this milestone! I woke up early on Saturday morning to take a few more photos around the yurt before sunrise.

Alpenglow & Yurt #1

Alpenglow at Yurt 1

Dawn at Yurt 1

Light on the edge of the mesa behind the yurt.

Camp Canyon

Warm Light at Sunrise

Yurt Sunrise

Once the sun was up we grabbed our gear and drove over to the trailhead for the Wild Horse Mountain Bike Trails. It wasn’t far from our yurt, but I wanted to have the refrigerator in my Jeep at the trailhead for a lunch break.

Wild Horse Mountain Bike Trail Sign

We got ready to hit the trails and then headed out.

Wild Horse Trailhead

We spent the rest of the morning riding the outer perimeter of the five interconnecting loop trails in a counter-clockwise direction. Starting on the Lizard Foot trail, we connected to Desert View, Dark Side of the Moon, Landslide and then Buffalo Head.

Trail View

I enjoyed that the trails were all pretty easy and there weren’t any technical sections, but I sure would have liked them even better if they were a little more hard-packed, since they were pretty soft and sandy most of the time. They would definitely be better to ride after drying out from a recent rainstorm.


Wild Horse Butte is a constant companion on these trails and almost always in view.

Below Wild Horse Butte

Diane arriving at the Desert View Overlook, which was just above our yurt.

Desert View Overlook

Following the trail to the next overlook.

To The Butte

There was a good view of the San Rafael Reef from this overlook.

Wild Horse Butte Overlook

Diane at the Wild Horse Butte Overlook.

Below The Butte

Back on the trail…

Wild Horse Trails

Peak & Butte

Peak & Butte

Landslide Trail

Landslide Trail

Lost on the Moon

Lost on the Moon

Riding on the Moon

Riding on the Moon

After we completed riding the Outer Loop, Diane rode back down to the yurt so she could get back to studying (she has finals coming up) and I ate lunch and rested for a bit. Then I headed back out on the trails and rode another loop so that I could hit all of the sections of trails that we had missed during the first loop we rode.

Completing the rest of the Wild Horse Trails on my own. It was pretty great riding these trails because we were the only ones on them all day!

Along The Trail

Once I was done with my second loop I returned to the yurt and then rested for a bit.

Back From the Ride

A little while later in the afternoon we headed over to Goblin Valley and wandered around the Second Valley of Goblins until sunset.


Hole in the Goblin

Above The Rest

Canyon Exploring

Lost in the Hoodoos

Goblin Valley Sunset

Goblin Valley Sunset

Valley of Goblins

Wild Horse Butte at Sunset

Wild Horse Butte Sunset

When we returned to the yurt I cooked some burgers on the grill for dinner and then Diane went back to studying while I went back out side for another night photo.

An Evening in the Yurt

Evening in the Yurt

Yurt Ceiling

Yurt at Night

Yurt at Night

I woke up early again on Sunday to catch the alpenglow.

Morning Glow

The Second Morning

Second Morning

View from the Front Porch

Front Porch

We even got a little color in the sky this morning.

Morning Color

Once the sun was up I headed out on a hike alone while Diane slept in a bit longer. Last time we were here I had hiked all the official trails in the park, but since our last visit the park has added the Grand Circle Trail which connects the campground with the Visitor Center and then the Goblin’s Lair Trail, so I wanted to hike that one before leaving today.

Morning light on the edge of the mesa as I set out on the trail.

Morning View

A view across the desert to the San Rafael Reef. Much of this new trail was soft and sandy.

San Rafael Reef

Continuing on the Grand Circle Trail beyond the Visitor Center.

Grand Circle Trail Sign

Looking back to the Wild Horse Butte.

Wild Horse Butte Morning

Mollys Castle

Mollys Castle

Dirt Curves

Dirt Curves

Following the trail down the ridge to meet up with the Goblin’s Lair Trail.

Grand Circle Trail

Instead of hiking out to the Goblin’s Lair, I followed the Carmel Canyon Trail back to the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters

Three Sisters Side View

Then I followed the paved road back to the yurt with yet another view of Wild Horse Butte.

Goblin Valley Road

After returning we packed up our gear into the Jeep, cleaned the yurt and then started the drive back home. It had been yet another great weekend in Goblin Valley State Park!

>> The Wild Horse Trails at Goblin Valley State Park Photo Gallery

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