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    Fantasy Canyon in Utah: a surrealist natural museum… in the open air!

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    Joel Fulleda

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    We at ForTravelAdviceLovers know it well: a month would not be enough to explore all the beauties of Utah! Today I want to tell you about a special excursion, which hardly appears on pre-packaged Southwest itineraries: the Fantasy Canyon. Perhaps you have already fallen in love with this place seeing the cover image, and you are already wondering why you have never heard of it.

    Just like a fantastic place, this canyon is located a little off the main tourist circuits: the problem with this natural wonder is related to its geographic location, which is not at all strategic for those who want to take a classic tour of the parks, even for those who have concentrated their visit in this state to discover the fantastic Utah Migthy Five. But let's go deeper into the matter a bit, locating the Fantasy Canyon on the map and giving some information on how to get there and what kind of excursion to expect.


    • What is Fantasy Canyon
    • Where is the Fantasy Canyon located
    • How to reach us
    • How to visit it
    • Accomodation

    What is Fantasy Canyon

    Il Fantasy Canyon covers one small area of ​​the Uinta Basin, a semi-arid territory located between Colorado and Utah generally devoid of other reasons of naturalistic interest. Here the sandstone is mostly gray and brown - okay, the canyon won't have the bright red colors of other Southwestern parks, but sports some truly unique rock shapes, so much so that more than in a desert we would expect them in a painting by Dalì or a sculpture by Boccioni, which evidently have not invented anything.

    Here you will find strange clusters of rocks sweet or sharp that stack on top of each other, as if they were shoulder blades and other sandstone bones stacked horizontally in a creative and very irregular way. Some "rocky monuments" show amorphous and surreal profiles (one above all the so-called tea pot), others project vertically like pinnacles and columns in unstable equilibrium.

    One of the few US landscapes that comes close to the particularity of this canyon is the wild area of ​​Bisti De-Na-Zin in New Mexico but in short: walking inside this canyon is a surprising and practically unique experience, to be done with great attention to do not compromise theextreme fragility of the rocks.

    Where is the Fantasy Canyon located

    The Fantasy Canyon is located precisely in northeastern Utah, one hour south of the city of Vernal, reference point for the visit of Flaming Gorge e Dinosaur National Monument. Map in hand, you can see that we are not far from the Wyoming border, and in fact we usually find ourselves passing through here during the on the road in the West which also include the visit of Yellowstone.

    If you are coming from the North and from Vernal you are going to Moab - whether you are passing through Colorado (via CO-139 S and I-70 W), or whether you are passing through Utah (via US-191 S) - you will have to take into account minimum 2 hours more for the detour (visit of the canyon included).

    How to reach us

    Starting from Vernal, you need to follow the UT-45 S for 40 km, leaving behind the city of Naples (which, for the record, has nothing to do with the Campania capital). At this crossroads, you need to turn right and take the main asphalted road (Glen Bench Rd), driving it for 20 km. At this next crossroads, you need to turn left onto the dirt road and continue for 5,2 km up to this point. Then turn right and, after 800 meters, right again. After 700 meters you will find the large parking lot for the Fantasy Canyon on the right.

    Attention! Long Glen Bench Road you might find trucks and tankers, because there are numerous production activities in the hydrocarbon sector in the area. In particular, in the stretch of dirt road you will find many secondary roads that lead to extraction sites, but you just need to follow the signs of the BLM and our itinerary with gps maps and you will easily arrive at the entrance of the canyon.

    How to visit it

    The canyon is can be visited freely in just under an hour. The area is under the protection of the BLM: there is a picnic table on site but there is no Visitor Center. You also don't have to pay no entrance fee. After parking the car, you can start exploring immediately: there is a short circular path of just under a kilometer marked with stones and information signs, but in some places it is not well signposted.

    My advice is not to worry too much: the difference in height is minimal, the area is limited and it is really impossible to get lost. Rather, as in the case of Goblin Valley, I recommend that you roam freely among the strange rock formations, walking aimlessly on the bottom of the canyon or climbing the highest hills to get a different perspective on the rock formations while also observing the surrounding landscape made of calanchi e montagnole striate in pastel pink, orange, gray and bluish colors.

    The excursion will delight children, therefore if you are traveling as a family and you are in the area know that the detour is absolutely worth it.


    Fantasy Canyon is there classic intermediate stage to be inserted during a move, so to understand which could be the most strategic accommodation, you need to know the following destination. Without a doubt, however, as anticipated, the town to be taken as a reference point is Vernal, which offers some interesting accommodation options. At the link below you can see what they are.

    All available accommodations in Vernal

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