Perhaps Utah’s most spectacular state park, Dead Horse Point towers 2,000ft above the Colorado River with breathtaking views of canyon country and of the pinnacles and buttes of Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. The road to Dead Horse Point State Park is ten miles northwest of Moab on US Hwy 191, then 23 miles southwest on Utah Hwy 313. The visitor center in the park houses a comprehensive and very interesting interpretive museum. There is also a developed campground, yurts that can be rented overnight, and hiking and mountain biking trails. Park hours 6am-10pm. Visitor center hours: Summer (March 15-mid-October) 8am-6pm, winter (mid-October-March 14) 9am-5pm. Visitor center closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The park remains open.
Entrance Fees • Day use $10 per vehicle, up to eight passengers, subject to change, valid for three days. • Day use for Utah seniors 62+, $5. • Annual day-use pass $75. • Annual Senior Adventure Pass $35. Note: This is a Utah State Park. The National Parks Pass is not valid here nor does the entrance fee for this park allow you entrance to the nearby Canyonlands or Arches National Parks.
The park is at 5,900ft elevation which means weather is a bit more unpredictable, windier, and definitely cooler, so dress accordingly. The main overlook boasts breathtaking panoramic views of the Colorado River and its side canyons. Remember scenes from the movies Thelma and Louise and Mission Impossible II? Both movies used this site. The scenic Rim Walk towers 2,000ft directly above the Colorado River. There are two hiking-specific trails on which mountain biking is not allowed. Both trails leave from the visitor center and go to an overlook point. Both are an easy walk; one trail is 1½ miles and the other is 2½ miles.
The Intrepid Trail System is bisected by the highway and provides 16.6 miles of moderate to intermediate riding. They meander through varied terrain including slickrock and sand, some pass through meadows and others along the edge of the plateau. The classic Big Chief is among the longest, and the newer Whiptail and Prickly Pear offer technical challenges. Hiking is allowed on the mountain biking trails.
21 campsites are available for reservations ($28). The campground fills quickly. Camp only in designated areas. Electrical hookups, tent pads, sheltered tables, and charcoal grills at each site. No showers. Reservation call center 800-322-3770, 8am-5pm (Mountain Time) or www.stateparks.utah.gov/reservations. Campfires may be built in specified areas only; gathering firewood is prohibited. Limited drinking water. All water must be trucked to the park. Please fill water tanks before arriving at Dead Horse Point. Pets are allowed but must be on a maximum six-foot leash. Please keep pets under control and clean up after them. Sorry, no pets allowed on the Intrepid Trail System.
Each yurt provides sleeping for six (a queen bunk bed, a full-size futon), electricity, cooling unit, propane fireplace, table and chairs, locking door, outdoor propane grill and seating, modern restrooms nearby; no showers. $80 per night. Reservations 800-322-3770, www.stateparks.utah.gov.
Why Dead Horse?
There are many stories of how the park gained its name. One legend has it that cowboys chased wild horses onto the peninsula and corralled them by building a fence across the narrowest part. The animals were left too long without water and perished from thirst.