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Goblin Valley State Park
Distance: 696 miles one-way
Goblin Valley is packed with little sandstone turrets and hoodoos that rise from the desert floor in a landscape that looks like an abandoned movie set made of Play-Doh.
For some reason, the squat towers on the park's more than 3,600 acres had me giggling as soon as I arrived at the entrance. It's no wonder that Arthur Chaffin, a ferry boat operator on the Colorado River who stumbled on an overlook of the area in the 1920s, named it Mushroom Valley.
Spring and fall are best times to visit (June through August is scorching), and visitors can stay for the day ($7 a per car) or camp ($16 a per night).
Info: The park is between Green River and Hanksville, about 24 miles south of Interstate 70 on Utah Highway 24. (435) 564-3633, www.stateparks.utah.gov
-- Mary Forgione