Dead Horse Point State Park is a beautiful state park in Southern Utah just 32 miles from Moab. The park has spectacular views of the Colorado River winding its way below the mesa. The arid desert climate provides home to a wide variety of wildlife that have adapted to life with only about ten inches of rain per year.
The views are stunning from the several different vista points, many easily accessible via a very short hike from the parking lot. Be sure to take the short hike around to the opposite side of the point from the primary overlook as well; believe me, it’s well worth the trip.
The Legend Of Dead Horse Point
Legend has it that at one time wild mustangs roamed the area in and around Moab, Utah. In the late 1800’s cowboys used the point as an easy place to corral mustangs they had herded onto the mesa. Once they had the mustangs pushed to the farthest tip, they built fences using brush and tree branches, stranding the horses between the sheer drop-offs and the fences. After choosing which horses they wanted, the cowboys left the remaining horses to die from dehydration and starvation even though they could see the Colorado River some 2,000 feet below.
Dead Horse Point State Park Visitor Center
We didn’t arrive at Dead Horse Point State Park until early in the afternoon. After spending thirty minutes or so in the visitor center learning about the geology of the area and life in the arid desert, we checked out the view from their observation deck.
Making Our Way Around Dead Horse Point To The Various Overlooks
Next we drove the short distance to where we would be able to explore and scout out the best place to set up shop when we returned later in the evening to capture sunset photos. Once at the parking lot, we noticed that there was a less-frequented trail and decided to check it out before heading to the primary overlook. The path along the cliffs’ sheer drop-offs was protected with thigh to waist high rock walls which didn’t give us much of a sense of security.
The views were spectacular and well worth a little bit of nervousness.
Again, I was thankful for my selfie stick so I could stretch it out to show the magnitude of the sheer drop-off.
Looking in the distance you can see blue potash evaporation ponds where potassium chloride is produced. The blue is a stark contrast to the red desert rocks and green Colorado River and seems out of place.
As we made our way around the path, the Colorado River came into better view…
And as we made our way to the primary overlook, we had a magnificent view of the gooseneck bend in the river…
We continued on around the point beyond the primary overlook, checking out the views along the way. And as I mentioned earlier, Bill had an ulterior motive for searching out the perfect view as we would be returning later for sunset and he wanted to be perched and waiting in the perfect spot!
Be sure to come back tomorrow to read about our return to Dead Horse Point State Park for sunset and our amazing encounter with a very interesting gentleman making his way from Argentina to Alaska… on a bike!
- Have you visited Dead Horse Point State Park?
- Had you heard about the legend prior to reading my recap?
- Which is your favorite state park from any state?