Goosenecks State Park is a must-see if you’re in the Monument Valley/Bluff area. The hike down to the river, however, is not so satisfying. Let’s start with the park: it’s a small park, just trails along the rim of the canyon, with incredible views of the goosenecks section of the San Juan river 1000 feet below. The river flows over six miles through the loopy meander, while only proceeding a mile and a half to the west toward Lake Powell. The photo above only shows one section of the meander; the river loops up and over similar goosenecks on both sides of the one pictured. You can camp on the rim of the canyon, if you can handle the winds, which is probably amazing. Walking the rim was super and we loved the views.
The next day, we hiked the Honaker Trail near Goosenecks, from the rim of the canyon to the river. The hike is all switchbacks carved into the cliff wall taking you a thousand feet down to the river, which sounds exciting and cool, but, and this was a big but for us, when you get there, you see a beach, and you walk out across the beach to the river, and you find out that the beach is a campground for boat trippers. About ten people were on a 5-day boat trip down the San Juan and had set up camp on this beach, and while half of them were very friendly and chatted with us about the trip and the river and the canyon, and the other half of them were chilly and acted as if we were trespassing on their property. So that was fun. The river was fast-moving and silty, so Bugsy wasn’t interested and we didn’t dally at the riverside anyway, but we were disappointed at how there was no solitude at the bottom of the hike–no reward for the big descent. We did feel some motivation, though, in starting the climb back up the cliff, as part of the boat party was preparing to climb the trail, and we wanted to stay far ahead of them.
In summary: Goosenecks SP is definitely worth the stop; the hike, not so much.
Goosenecks, though. Check it out:
And Honaker. Ok, it was pretty cool.
We visited Goosenecks from our base in Bluff.