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Goosenecks: the spectacular gorges of the San Juan River

The Goosenecks are impressive gorges carved into the rock by the San Juan River, which here has formed a series of entrenched meanders, a geologic formation rather rare to be seen.

The Goosenecks are north of Monument Valley, along Highway 163 just north of the small town of Mexican Hat, the nearest city is Blanding which is located 86 km (54 miles) to the north, to reach them you need to take a detour from the main Highway (about 6 km (4 miles)) along a paved road.

The San Juan River, a tributary of the Colorado, over millions of years has carved a deep canyon and a series of entrenched meanders, the river as the crow flies taking a trip of about 2 and a half kilometers (1.5 miles), but because of its tortuous course, it runs for more than 9 km (6 miles) through the twists of the entrenched meander.

The area of the Goosenecks lies at an altitude of about 1,370 meters (4,500 feet), the climate is desert so in the park, during the summer months, the heat is intense and in the whole area there is no shadow.

From the lookout, which is located about 300 meters above the river, admiring the show dug from the river San Juan during 300 million years, it has spectacular views of the river and are visible several entrenched meanders, an amazing and rare geological formation.

The visit to the park is limited to the view from the scenic lookout, there are no trails and you can not reach the river.

Before arriving at the junction of State Road 163 and the 261 which leads to the Goosenecks, another curiosity to be observed is the rock formation located north of the town of Mexican Hat, which looks like a sombrero and gave the name of Mexican Hat to the village.

In the environs of the Goosenecks are numerous national parks and other natural attractions, including to the east is the Hovenweep National Monument, to the north is the Canyonlands National Park (Needles District), to the west is Natural Bridges National Monument and to the south is the Monument Valley Tribal Park.


Hours: The Goosenecks of the San Juan River State Park is open all year round. Admission is free.

In the park there is no drinking water but you can camp in a primitive way and there are basic toilets.

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