Goosenecks State Park in southeast Utah is a viewpoint of the fascinating turns of the San Juan River that is in an “S”-shape with an additional curve, to create two curves similar to Horseshoe Bend immediately next to each other.
The San Juan river is named for San Juan Bautista, Spanish for St. John the Baptist. This would be an amazing place to get aerial shots from a drone to get a broader view. This was too wide for my camera lens, so the photo above is a panorama. These two together make up the shot.
Goosenecks State Park is just out of the small town of Mexican Hat. You can either take US-191 south of Monticello and Blanding to UT-163 or you can take UT-261 further west. If you are coming from the south north from Monument Valley you will take UT-163 north. For any of these routes the last 3.5 miles will be on UT-316 heading west.
Goosenecks State Park
Goosenecks State Park requires a $5/vehicle entrance fee or a National Parks Pass. If you want to camp overnight it is $10/vehicle.
This one doesn’t require any hiking, but is just a few steps from the parking. You could walk around to the side a bit for a different view. The ground is a bit uneven, but should be accessible since the parking is so close.
There is a nice barrier to keep people safe, but hold onto toddlers if they are climbers.
This would be a great place for stargazing and Milky Way photography. Here are a few shots zoomed in on the San Juan River below.
While in the area, Mexican Hat Rock is only 9 minutes away. The San Juan Cafe has great food, like burgers and tacos with Navajo fry bread.
Stats: Distance – 0-0.1 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 5-15 minutes (depending on how long you want to admire the view)
Elevation gain – 0 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Bathrooms – Yes
Seasons to hike – Year-round
Permits needed – $5/vehicle
Pets allowed – Yes (leashed)