Free activities Hikes

Fantasy Canyon

(Last Updated On: October 22, 2019)

Fantasy Canyon is such an amazing spot in Utah. It is so unique and accessible to almost everyone. Fantasy Canyon is located near Vernal and is definitely worth the 45 minute drive from Vernal to visit. You will want to add it to your bucket list. Also, if you are looking ideas on what to do in Vernal, check out our Things to do in Vernal post.

Respect the Rocks

First, a warning and plea. We considered not putting this amazing spot on our website because we are worried that the wonderfully delicate features of Fantasy Canyon will be overrun by people who won’t care for it responsibly. Please do not climb on the rock features. This canyon is meant to be enjoyed by keeping your feet on the dirt, and admiring the rocks by looking at them. If you stay on the trail, then we know that Fantasy Canyon will be around for our grandchildren to enjoy.

Begin the trail by the trail sign. It is over by the restrooms (pit toilet).
The trail is mostly easy to follow. Use the map at the bottom to help you.

Fantasy Canyon is a little bit like Goblin Valley. However, it is much smaller and its rocks are much more lacelike. This is the main reason why there is a strict no climbing rule! The rocks are easily broken, but they are also very interesting to wander through. We loved following the trail and looking for the different features of Fantasy Canyon.

There is no shade in Fantasy Canyon.
We loved the witch! Her profile is so obvious!
What do you think this looks like?

Fantasy Canyon

Fantasy Canyon is on Ute Tribal lands. There is a legend that a hole opened in the earth and demons began to climb out. Anyone who visits Fantasy Canyon will see that the legend looks to be accurate. Witches, demons, and fierce animals can be imagined in every rock. It looks like something made out of ice rather than stone. The map we used named many of these like the witch, the bear, and the squirrel, but we enjoyed naming them ourselves, too.

There are so many different types of rocks to name.

A trail through Fantasy Canyon has been created, but it is a little hard to follow. We started all the way to the left of the parking area at the trail sign. The trail is only about a half mile, and you’ll never be more than a hundred meters from the car. Although your car is in sight, you will feel like you have stepped into another world. As the trail winds back and forth through the canyon, just remember to keep you feet on the soil and your hands off the rock formations.

Fantasy Canyon is full of interesting rock formations.
Does this look like a camel to you?
Can you see Mickey Mouse in the middle of this photo?

One of the nicest parts of Fantasy Canyon is the farthest from the parking area. We didn’t see anyone venture this far, and we were glad we had a map to show us where it was. This section of the canyon ventures a little farther than the other sections. It is a separate canyon from the first walk through the rocks, and it has a ton of unique rocks. It also feels more like a canyon since the walls are so close, so make sure to find this area and carefully explore.

Watch for these trail signs to lead you to the back canyon.
We were excited once we saw the entrance to the back canyon.
This canyon was a little tighter and there is a bench in the middle to sit and enjoy.
We found the prairie dog.
We named this one screaming face.

Directions

Many people told us that they got lost on the way to Fantasy Canyon. We were given this map by a ranger and it led us right to the spot. There are signs that help you navigate once you find the dirt road. We will also include the map that we used to show us the different named rock formations. Here is a link to a different map, but it’s similar to the one that we used.

This is the overall map. I will include two closer up pictures below of the top half and then bottom half of the map.
This is the top half of the map with directions from Vernal.
This is the bottom half of the map that shows where to turn. Once on the dirt road that says 4.4 miles to Vernal, follow the signs that lead you through the maze to Fantasy Canyon.
This is the map we used to find the different features. The trail starts by the restrooms.

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