The yearning to just pack the bags and escape to somewhere that is totally different than the scenery back home is a common urge in this modern world. Experiencing new places can expand the inner horizons, while providing a better understanding of the world we live in. The west offers many scenic destinations where Mother Nature does all the talking! One such place definitely is Goosenecks State Park in southeast Utah. In this region, the ancient San Juan River has carved a snaking path through this vast high desert territory over eons of time. As the Colorado Plateau and the Escalante Grand Staircase regions slowly arose from sea level, the force of gravity caused the meandering San Juan River to dig deeper and deeper into the landscape. As a result, the Goosenecks were created. The Goosenecks are like a preamble to the Grand Canyon, which is downstream from where the San Juan River meets the Colorado River at Lake Powell.
Exploring the San Juan River by boat in the Bears Ears National Monument region has to be done by special permit, because so many ancient native archeological sites are located along the banks. Floating down the San Juan River certainly is an adventurous way to experience the Goosenecks, but the views from the top of the mesa actually are better, because the deep canyon that snakes through this region can be seen in its entirety.
Tourists will be happy to know that the Goosenecks State Park can be accessed with an ordinary passenger car. All of the roads to this park are paved, which is a rarity in this neck of the woods. Goosenecks State Park is located near Mexican Hat, which also offers a unique San Juan River experience. Monument Valley, Valley Of The Gods, Natural Bridges National Monument, Fry Canyon and Bears Ears are all located close by, so there are endless adventures that await in this region.
Goosenecks State Park offers several scenic views of the majestic meandering canyon that the San Juan River runs through. There are no hiking trails down to the river, because any such trail would lead to towering bluffs that drop straight down. However, there are a few trails along the rim of the canyon, where visitors can find interesting perspectives when viewing the Goosenecks. Hiking onto the individual Goosenecks can be dangerous and rescue can take a long time, so it is not recommended.
Goosenecks State Park does offer some nice picnic areas that overlook the canyon and there are facilities on site. Camping is available away from the canyon rim and more campsites can be found nearby in the BLM territory. Supplies and amenities can be found in the towns of Mexican Hat or Bluff. When visiting Goosenecks State Park, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make the experience much better. Because there are no shade trees, be sure to wear protective clothing or sunscreen, because the sunlight can be very bright in the high elevations. Sunglasses help to cut through the bright glare. For photographers, adjusting the settings for bright conditions will save time on the computer. At the Goosenecks, there are no natural barriers to break the gusty winds, so be sure to pack a bandana or dust mask and goggles, just in case a dust storm starts up. Most important of all, bring plenty of water, because it is easy to become dehydrated in this high desert environment.
The Goosenecks definitely are a geologist’s dream come true and if a visitor listens carefully, the wind flowing through the Goosenecks creates natural music which is captivating beyond belief. Those who have a passion for earth sciences can spend hours viewing the Goosenecks and not become bored. For those who simply want to get away from it all just to experience something new and different, the Goosenecks will certainly deliver as promised!
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