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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 has formed a series of entrenched meanders here, a geological formation rather rare to be seen.

The Goosenecks are located north of Monument Valley, along Highway 163 just north of the small center of Mexican Hat. The closest town is Blanding which is 86 km (54 miles) north. To reach them you need to make a detour of about 6 km (4 miles) along an asphalted road.

The San Juan River, a tributary of Colorado, has dug a deep canyon and a series of entrenched meanders for millions of years. The river which, as the crow flies, covers a path of about 2 km and a half (1.5 miles), due to its tortuous course, flows for more than 9 km (6 miles) through the twists of the entrenched meander.

The Goosenecks area is located at an altitude of approximately 1,370 meters (4,500 feet) above sea level. The climate of the park is desert so the heat is intense in the summer months and there is no shade in the whole area.

IMPRESSIVE GORGES CARVED INTO THE ROCK

From the lookout, which is located about 300 meters above the river, you can admire the spectacle dug by the San Juan river during 300 million years. From here you have a spectacular view of the river course and several entrenched meanders are visible, an incredible and rare geological formation.

The visit to the park is limited to the view from the panoramic viewpoint, there are no paths and it is not possible to reach the river.

Before arriving at the crossroads between highway 163 and 261 leading to the Goosenecks, another curiosity to observe is the rock formation located north of the inhabited center of Mexican Hat. This rock resembles a sombrero and gave the name of Mexican Hat to the village.

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

GOOSENECKS STATE PARK USEFUL INFORMATION

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

In the park there is no drinking water, but it is possible to camp in a primitive way and there are basic toilets.

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