Finding Fantasy Canyon from Vernal Utah

Finding Fantasy Canyon from Vernal, Utah

On May 14th, my boys and I sat out to find Fantasy Canyon from Vernal, Utah

It’s located just 27 miles south of Vernal, Utah (42 by road).  If you want to find Fantasy Canyon and you’re starting from Vernal, Utah, head Southeast out of Vernal on Hwy 40.  Re-set your trip odometer at the Pink Dinosaur. Three miles South of the Pink Dinosaur, you will be at the last stoplight in Naples.  Go right at the light to keep heading due South on UT 45.

It’s been an unusually wet year, and the desert was more colorful than normal.  The drive was beautiful.

Picture taken from road south of Vernal with Split Mountain and Blue Mountain in the distance.

Spilt Mountain and Blue Mountain

About 10 miles from the Pink Dinosaur, you will cross the Green River.

Highway crossing the Green River

The Green River

This is where Finding Fantasy Canyon from Vernal, Utah got tricky:

At about 22 miles from town, you will see a sign directing you to turn right onto the Glen Bench Road.  It will say Fantasy Canyon is 18 miles away (which is not quite accurate).

Comments on TripAdvisor led me to believe there would be good signage, but we didn’t see ANY signs from this point forward.  Immediately after turning off UT 45, we were faced with a fork.  To the left was the paved, Glen Bench road and to the right was the dirt Wonsits Valley Road.  I went against my better judgment and followed Google Maps when “she” said to stay on the dirt road.  Thus began an adventure of twists and turns and lots of guessing about which way to go.  Google Maps continued to announce directions, but her suggestions weren’t always an option.  Eventually the maze of dirt oilfield service roads intersected with the paved Glen Bench road where we should have stayed all along.  This misdirection probably added 45 minutes to the drive, but we did see wildlife we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.



We lost phone service out there, but we had internet the entire time, which was good because I would never have turned off the Glen Bench Road where recommended because it felt like we were turning into an oilfield/industrial yard. (If you cross the Green River again, you have went too far; the turn is to the left just before that.  You’ll know you’re approaching the river by the grouping of trees).  We wound around through the oilfield equipment and eventually ended up at a spot GoogleMaps called “Fantasy Canyon”.  The road we actually needed to take had water flowing over it.  Since we had been driving for over an hour and only seen one other car, I didn’t dare risk crossing through the water.

So, we didn’t find Fantasy Canyon from Vernal, Utah that day!

We found a neat geological area with similar features to Fantasy Canyon nearby and got out to explore.

“Some of the most unusual geological features in the world”.

That’s how Wikipedia describes Fantasy Canyon.

The terrain and the texture of the “dirt” really feels like you are in another place entirely.  The blm website says Fantasy Canyon is referred to as “Nature’s China Shop” because of the delicate nature of the structures.  I have tried to think of how to describe it.  It feels like a styrofoam stage set covered in sandpaper.  In some places, the dirt crumbles where you touch or step.  The closest thing I can liken it to is the texture of a decoration crafted out of sugar.

In Conclusion:

I am happy we decided to make the drive so late in the day.  I was worried it might rain on us, but instead the clouds really added to the unique beauty of the experience.  That being said, if you decide to go, I recommend you don’t do so if it is raining.  There were several spots where you could tell the road washes.  Fantasy Canyon is in an isolated area.  From the time we left UT-45 to the time we returned (about three hours), we only saw two other vehicles.  Granted, there would be more traffic if the oilfield was in a boom cycle.  It is a desert and you might not have phone service, so plan accordingly.  Make sure you have a full tank of gas and plenty of water.  Also, remember to let someone know before you set out to find Fantasy Canyon from Vernal, Utah.

If you haven’t already, go to both the TripAdvisor and the BLM links for further information and photos taken IN Fantasy Canyon.

Happy Travels!

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Fantasy Canyon

Marcy Vogler is a lifestyle makeover coach, personal trainer, and mother of three.  Marcy is passionate about helping women make over their lives from the inside out.  To learn more about the courses Marcy offers, check out our parter website at  For daily inspiration, join Marcy’s Facebook Group:  Love Your Day, Love Your Life.


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