Gooseneck State Park

The Park

This small preserve, perched on the rim of a deep canyon above the serpentine river meander known as a gooseneck, offers spectacular views of one of the continent's most striking representations of an entrenched river meander. The San Juan River bends and bends across the meander, flowing about six miles before moving one and a half miles west to Lake Powell. Look down 1,000 feet into the desert to see the results of 300 million years of volcanic activity as the San Juan River winds and carves its way into the desert.


$5.00 day-use fee per car with up to 8 people

$2.00 per person fee for bus tour groups

$10.00 per night per campsite. If no ranger on duty, pay at fee tube using the self serve envelopes. Camping is in 8 designated sites along the rim, where fire-ring and picnic tables are located. First come, first served site only. No reservations accepted. Conditions are primitive, bring your own firewood and water. No services except vault toilets.

What to Do

Sightseeing, photography, stargazing, hiking on the nearby Honaker Trail, pet-friendly, picnicking, and camping are among the activities available. Its important be comfortable with heights as you will be exploring the edge of the river's high canyon walls. Over the summer, Goosenecks State Park can be very sunny, and there is no shade.

In 1962, the park was opened to the public as a state park.

Elevation of the park: 4,500 feet

Geological History

The ground here was comparatively flat millions of years ago, and the river meandered down its course. The Colorado Plateau then had a phase of uplift. The river flowed faster as the land rose, though still following its meandering path. The river carved its way into the landscape, finally forming the spectacular entrenched meanders that can now be seen at Goosenecks State Park. This majestic perspective has been eroded by water, wind, snow, and gravity.

The River

The San Juan River's headwaters are in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, where 90 percent of the river's flow originates. From its source to the Colorado River, the San Juan flows 360 miles, beginning at 14,000 feet and falling to 3,600 feet at Lake Powell. San Juan Bautista, or St. John the Baptist in Spanish, is the where the San Juan River got it's name from. Images on stone, storage buildings, and remains of small masonry settlements were left behind by the ancestors of today's Pueblo people who lived in the canyon tributaries of the San Juan.