Goblin Valley To Cathedral Valley

Cathedral Valley has been a place I have wanted to visit for a very long time. Last fall while visiting Goblin Valley I got the idea that it would be pretty cool if I could find a way to drive from just outside of Goblin Valley on Behind the Reef trail to Cathedral Valley. After spending a few hours with on Google and Hema Maps I had planned a route and invited my brother Mike to join me.

We left after work on Thursday and headed out towards Goblin Valley via Highway 6. We made a quick stop in Green River Utah for fuel and set out to find a nice place to camp. I have a place off of Behind The Reef Trail that is beautiful and is always available. I admit I did get nervous seeing how busy the area was, we knew it would be busier than normal due to the fact that it was Spring Break weekend for most schools in Utah. It's one of those love hate situations, I hate how busy it is but love that people are getting out and exploring. We setup camp in the dark and headed to bed as we knew we had a pretty long day ahead of us.

I woke up early and did some hiking around our campsite and enjoyed watching the sun come in over the red rock.

We were eager to hit the trail so we made a quick breakfast and broke camp quickly. Mike was trying out his new Kodiak tent, and I was impressed with how cavernous that tent was. I am partial to sleeping in the rig especially when it is just me, but the Kodiak tent looks to be a sweet option for the entire family.

After a few miles on the trail we made a quick stop at the Temple Mountain Pictographs to snap a few pictures and read about the pictographs.

Old vs New Which would you take?

We had a blast as we made our way towards Cathedral Valley and we were completely blown away by how cool these trails were. When planning a trip like this you never really know what you are going to get and we couldn't have been more please with the route.

We took a quick break for lunch along the trail which highlighted how I really need to come up with a better organization strategy. The cooler needs to be more accessible without completely eliminating the ability to stack. It's always interesting to me how a simple sandwich tastes so much better when out on an adventure. Why do you think that is?

After about 5 hours of driving we made it to Cathedral Valley and I was absolutely blown away.

We had the whole place to our selves and spent an hour or so walking around Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun. Formations like this make we wish I had studied geography so I would know more about how they were formed.

With only a few hours of daylight we decided to head for BLM land just outside of Capitol Reef National Park so that we could find a place to setup camp for the night.

We found a great place to camp, and enjoyed the rest of the evening exploring the rock formations nearby and chilling around the campfire. Once it got dark we went to bed early excited about the rest of our trip through Capitol Reef and up the Burr Trail...
Part 2 coming soon.


Wiffleball Batter
Very cool. When we were in Capitol Reef a couple of years ago I was going through my Benchmark atlas to see if there was a way to get from Cathedral Valley up to I-70 somewhere in the Swell. Looks like there were several ways including the way you went.
Would love to explore that area more thoroughly.
Thanks for the writeup!


Nice! We camped at the top of the Burr Trail once. There's a few great spots up top they are much cooler in temp than the bottom.

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Very cool and refreshing simplicity:) Nice to just go out and explore, we plan to get out that way this summer. Thanks for sharing!


Quality video production skills too. I would assume you do this for a living. Nice trip, added to my list.
Part 2 Is Finally Finished

Part 2 of my trip is finally finished! I was hoping to have it done weeks ago but I wasn't able to finish it up before leaving on a few trips. Finally back for a weekend and I was able to finish things up.

Night two was pretty brutal. We had a crazy storm come rolling in with intense winds. I slept in the LC and the entire thing was shaking from bursts of wind. I was able to get a few hours of sleep waking up each time the rig would shake to see if my brother and his daughter were still there. Mike was trying out his brand new Kodiak Tent. The campspot was pretty sandy so he kept on losing stakes. Finally around 5am he gave up and we took the tent down. They jumped in his rig to sleep for a few hours while we waited out the wind. We hit the trail around 10am, and headed back to Capitol Reef National Park.

We spent the morning checking out the Main Cathedrals and exploring the park. It didn't take long for the bad weather to return and it started to rain. Wet days in the desert are good thing, keep the dust down, beautiful contrast when the rock gets wet, the only downside is some of the better views lose some visibility due to the rain. We stopped briefly at the Cathedral Valley Campground to use the pit toilets and then headed south towards the Burr Trail.

The hardest part of any adventure is passing up on the checking out all of the side trails and hikes. Weekend adventures often mean I am left passing places I want to checkout due to time constraints. I hope to go back with the family and spend some time exploring some of the areas we had to cruise past.

Once we reached the Fremont river we stopped for a few minutes to check the depth and setup some cameras for the video. The river was very manageable which was a good thing, My guess is with spring run off at its peak right now things would be a little more scary. We stopped right after the crossing for lunch and then hit the trail again. The closer we got to the Burr Trail and the southern end of the park the more rigs we saw. Still nothing crazy especially considering it was Spring Break in Utah, but there were a lot of rigs in Boulder when we passed through.

After stopping to take a ton of pictures of the Water Pocket Fold we started our ascent up the Burr Trail. I love steep switchbacks, so it did not disappoint at all, but as I look back on the trip it wasn't the best part (which I think is a good thing, because it was pretty awesome) We made a quick stop in Boulder for fuel and then headed home.
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Did a similar course last October/November as part of the trailsoffroad Epic Adventure; you make fantastic photos--really capture the essence of being out there!


Ya mean you didn't climb "the Fold" to Strike Valley overlook? You missed the best part! Guess you WILL have to go back! :sombrero:


New member
I’m planning on taking my family on this same style route this summer. Any more info on what roads you linked up to make it that way? Great work on the videos.