One Of The Smallest State Parks In This Western State Offers The Most Breathtaking Views

Travelers with a shared passion for exploring new destinations and soaking up impressive scenery at the same time will find a long list of reasons to visit the state of Utah. Summer in this Western state is the perfect time to discover sandstone arches, sweeping canyons, and stunning valleys. At the same time, Utah's ski slopes are iconic for downhill fun in the wintertime. While it's fair to say it's typically the grandest of natural landmarks that draw visitors to Utah in droves, it might just be the lesser-known destinations that keep you coming back year after year.

If it's the best views around you're looking for, make sure your next trip to Utah includes time at Goosenecks State Park. One of more than 40 state parks found in the state, according to Visit Utah, Goosenecks State Park is unique in that it only spans 10 acres in total. What the park lacks in size, it definitely makes up for in breathtaking vistas. Yes, it may be one of the smaller state parks on the state map, but majestic views are waiting to greet you at every turn as soon as you arrive. Goosenecks State Park is located in the Southeastern portion of Utah in a place known as Mexican Hat, which is easily reached just over two hours south of Moab.

Unforgettable scenery crafted by nature over millennia

There might not be a lot of terrain to explore on foot when visiting Goosenecks State Park, but there's certainly plenty to admire from above. Sitting at an elevation of 4,500 feet, this state park gives visitors a thrilling bird's eye view of some undeniably mesmerizing landscapes. Goosenecks State Park first opened to the public in 1962 and today continues to be a place that stuns its guests who drop by utterly unaware of the dramatic scenery they can soak up from the overlooks.

Anywhere you park here, you're bound to be within reach of beautiful views, but the primary overlook is a must-visit. This popular viewpoint sits around 1,000 feet over the waters of the San Juan River below, and from this unique vantage point, it's easy to see where the park gets its name. The drastic meanders that resemble a gooseneck are almost whimsical from above. They're also a true testament to the powerful impact of nature over time. Experts believe the entrenched meanders took millions of years to create as the river slowly cut into the Colorado Plateau. The water worked alongside wind, frost, and gravity to create the view available to enjoy today.

Activities to pair with inspiring views

While time spent observing the impressive entrenched meanders at Goosenecks State Park is always thrilling, the overlooks also showcase a variety of attractions to admire in the distance. If you turn your gaze Southwest, you'll be able to spot the unique spires and buttes that make up the greater Monument Valley. On the distant horizon, Alhambra Rock is also visible.

Sightseeing is by far the top activity to enjoy at Goosenecks State Park, followed closely by nature photography. However, if you're in the mood to pair great views with flavor, there are picnicking areas you can use here as well. Just keep in mind that this state park doesn't come with shade included, so it's usually best to savor the moment by strategically planning a picnic for early in the morning or later in the evening. Goosenecks State Park doesn't host any hiking or biking trails of its own, but if you're looking to explore further, Honaker Trail is a nearby out-and-back route that covers just over two miles and is easily accessible from this destination.

You can extend your stay at Goosenecks State Park by reserving a place at the rim-side campground for just $10. There are eight primitive camping sites to choose from, which include a fire ring but no other services. When the sun goes down, make sure to look up towards the cosmos from your campsite because this state park is a certified International Dark Sky Park.