The sunrise at Utah’s Goosenecks State Park was just um… okay. For one I could find very little information about the park online. The park’s website warns that there are no hiking or biking trails within the park, but the park is pretty much just a gravel parking lot, an outhouse, and a view.
Don’t get me wrong, the views of the winding Goosenecks of the San Juan river are definitely amazing. I just feel that some one ought to warn you that the park is just a view and that is it. There is no visitor center or staff on duty, just a tube where you drop your two bucks, an outhouse, and a few picnic tables scattered about. Goosenecks State Park is definitely worth stopping by if you’re traveling to Monument Valley, but as a destination in itself, not so much.
Named after San Juan Bautista, the Spanish name for St. John the Baptist, the San Juan River flows from its source high up in Coloardo’s San Juan Mountains before emptying into the Colorado River at Lake Powell. What caused the Goosenecks is probably a combination of millions of years of erosion caused by water, ice, and wind as well as the Monument Upwarp that caused much of the land in Southern Utah to rise.
One great thing about the park is that there are no guardrails around the edge so you can step right up to the rim and gaze into the thousand foot plus chasm below. You can also walk the edge of the rim for a quarter of a mile or so although there is no established trail.
I visited the park on a Saturday morning the end of November and had the park all to myself for the sunrise. The sun couldn’t rise fast enough since it was a bitter 22 degrees, which I am guessing is why I was the only one in the park.
A friendly staff member at the San Juan Inn recommended watching the sunrise from Muley Point, but I did not get up early enough to make it up up there. Muley Point is a panoramic viewpoint high above the Goosenecks with views of Monument Valley and distant Arizona, which is also a great place to catch the sunset.