Road trip, Travel Guide

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah is one of my absolute favorite states to visit. I’ve probably visited more than a handful of times and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. No less than two months ago, my husband and I, along with two of our closest friends, went on an epic road trip to Utah. I was the (self-appointed lol) planner of this trip & like with any trip I’ve planned, I took it waaaay seriously. Naturally, I wanted to visit every National Park in Utah but I had to remind myself that we only had 2 full days (of the 4-day trip) to explore. On our first day, we had to do a 7-hour drive to our first destination, Dead Horse Point State Park. I chose this state park because it’s the closest attraction to our Airbnb that didn’t require a lot of hiking to get to the views. Tired and thrilled, we arrived safely at 3:30 pm.

Our first stop was the Visitor’s Center where they have souvenirs available for purchase. You can also ask for info from one of the employees or rangers present. Additionally, they have exhibits that provide informational displays about canyon country geology, local plants and animals, prehistoric cultures and park history. From here, you can either explore via the paved walkway that leads to a trail or if you don’t really feel like walking, you can drive further to get to the Dead Horse Point overlook. We decided to do both. The views in the beginning of this trail are really nice but I knew there was more to see. Our main goal was to see the famous view of the Colorado gooseneck.

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

 

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

After taking photos and soaking in the view, we hopped in our car and drove to the Dead Horse Point overlook. Tip: We made a mistake of parking on the first pull out we saw. We couldn’t find the viewpoint and had to walk more than we wanted till we finally got to it. Just keep driving till you see a spacious parking lot on your left.

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

The view here is absolutely breathtaking! Utah’s hues and warm tones are my favorite and it served as a nice backdrop to the already stunning view. So stunning that I consider it as one of my favorite views ever! The views stretched for miles, overwhelming me as I take in its vastness. Situated atop a high plateau, it has an elevation of 6,000 feet above sea level;2,000 feet above the Colorado River. According to legend, the point was once used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa. Cowboys rounded up these horses, herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck, which is only 30 yards wide, was then fenced off with branches and brush, creating a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs. Cowboys then chose the horses they wanted and for reasons unknown, left the other horses corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below, hence the name Dead Horse Point. Pretty fascinating right?

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Aside from the captivating views, I will never forget this place because one of the funniest scariest moments in our lives happened here. So what happened was after we’ve taken our pictures and soaked in the view, my husband, my best friend and I decided to hike down to a ledge near the cliff. The ledge was pretty wide and had ample amount of space for more than 10 people so we were fine. My husband wanted to take a picture of my best friend and I on a rock that faces the view. I safely made my way close to the cliff where the rock was and sat down. So now it was my best friend’s turn. I guess she didn’t see that there was a small step (or she was just so comfortable I assume, because she was laughing) near the rock and next thing you know, she tripped and fell face down, almost sliding off the cliff. OMG! It was so scary. While screaming bloody murder, I grabbed her leg and tried to keep her from sliding. I was so glad she was okay. I told her she owes me forever since I just saved her life haha. We just had to laugh about it at the end. Definitely not a good way to start a trip! But yes, my husband still took the picture and here it is. Was it worth it?

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Anyway, despite the little mishap, Dead Horse Point State Park is a great way to start your Utah road trip. If you don’t have enough time like us, you can just admire the views from the overlooks but if you do, there are trails that you can definitely do. Another popular activity here is mountain biking. We saw some families with their bikes, enjoying the spectacular views of the canyon country.

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point

Utah Road Trip Guide: Dead Horse Point State Park

Trail Descriptions:

Intrepid Trail System

17 miles of singletrack mountain biking trails of intermediate difficulty. Hiking also permitted. Details and maps available at the visitor center.

*Dogs are not allowed on any Intrepid Trail System loops.

Hiking-Only Trails (All distances are one way)
Nature Trail — Paved interpretive walking trail. 0.25 mile; easy

East Rim Trail — Hiking trail with continuous canyon views leading to or from Dead Horse Point. A short spur to Basin Overlook (0.25 mi) adds to the hike and takes you to a view of Chimney Rock and Pyramid Butte. 1.5 mile; easy to moderate

West Rim Trail — Hike through a pinyon juniper forest to or from Dead Horse Point. Spurs to Meander Overlook (0.1 mi), Shafer Canyon (0.25 mi) and Rim Overlook (0.25 mi) add to the hike by taking you closer to the canyon rim. 2.5 mile; easy to moderate

Big Horn Overlook Trail — Spur trail leading to large desert potholes and a grand overlook. 1.25 mile; easy to moderate

Colorado Overlook Trail — Hike along the rim past desert potholes to a distant overlook of the Colorado River. 0.5 mile; easy

Address:

Dead Horse Point State Park P.O. Box 609
Moab, UT 84532-0609 (435) 259-2614

Park Fees:

Day-use fee: $10 per vehicle up to eight passengers, valid for 3 days. $5 for Utah seniors 62 and older. $5 per motorcycle. $2 pedestrian or cyclist (biking into park). Unfortunately, they don’t accept the National Park Pass here. Understandably so since this is a State Park.

Visitor Center Hours:

Summer (Mar 15 to Mid-Oct) – 8 am to 6 pm
Winter (Mid-Oct to Mar 14) – 9 am to 5 pm
Holiday Closures: Visitor Center closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day (park remains open)

Operating Hours:

The park is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. year-round. Visitor Center is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Activities:

Auto touring
Short hikes to scenic viewpoints
Mountain biking
Camping
ATV trails nearby

 

What do you guys think? Are you planning to visit Dead Horse Point after reading this post?

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54 Comments

  1. Shelby Vogl

    December 7, 2015 at 7:28 am

    What a great article! I’ve been to Utah before but I guess I didn’t do enough research because I’ve never heard of Dead Horse Point. But I definitely want to go there now 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      December 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Hey Shelby! Yea, it’s actually one of those off the beaten state parks/destinations in Utah. You should, it’s beautiful out there!

  2. rosiescapes

    December 9, 2015 at 8:04 am

    cool you experienced all that in Utah. I will put that on things to do list.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      December 9, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Hey Rosie! Thanks for visiting. Yes, so fun out there in Utah! You should def try and visit it someday. 🙂

  3. Jess

    December 9, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Such a sad story about the horses but it is such a beautiful place to be! I will have to check this out someday. I am new to Colorado and haven’t had a chance to explore any of my neighbor states yet. Awesome post and thanks for the new road trip idea.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      December 9, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Hello there Jess. Yes, I’m not sure if that’s really true or just like any other legend. I’ve been to Colorado but mainly focused in the downtown Denver area. I’ve seen some great spots in Colorado that I want to hike and explore maybe next year. Thank you! and I’m glad you found it helpful. 🙂

  4. Chantell Collins

    December 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Beautiful! We were in Utah earlier this year but didn’t get out to Moab. There is just so many beautiful parks and trails to explore in that area it’s overwhelming. We want to go back to try and get into Wave Valley one day (we tried for the lotto twice but didn’t make it) – so I will keep this one in mind for then.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      December 9, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Thank you Chantell! Moab is one of the best areas of Utah. You should totally explore it. Oh yes, I’ve heard of that place. I actually tried the lottery as well but due to high demand we didnt get it. If you want, there’s an alternative to the wave, its called fire wave here in Las Vegas, Nevada. 🙂

  5. Amanda

    December 9, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Wow, there are some pretty awesome views in those pictures!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      December 9, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Hello Amanda! Yes definitely. The views were phenomenal! I can’t get over it! 🙂

  6. Toni

    December 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    OMG these pics…amazing! I love Utah! Can’t wait to be back!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      December 9, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Hey Toni! Thank you so much. I’m glad you love Utah too. It is def one of those states you just keep visiting. So many places to explore for sure! 🙂

  7. Rosemary

    December 10, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Great pictures. Looks like a really amazing time. Never been…can’t wait to go!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      December 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Hello Rosemary! Thanks so much. I did have a great time! I’m glad the post inspired you to see it for yourself. Cheers! 🙂

  8. Voyager

    January 5, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    subscribed to your blog, check out our travel blog http://www.imvoyager.com, thanks!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      January 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks so much for subscriber! Will check yours out. 🙂

  9. Jessica

    January 30, 2016 at 3:29 am

    Definitely one of the trips and trails I wanted to do. I might need for time to do this and luckily you have here a very convenient guide. Thanks for this, Jana. 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Not a problem at all Jessica. Glad you found it helpful. Hope you get to do this trail soon! 🙂

  10. Anne | Girl Chasing Sunshine

    January 30, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Good thing your friend is okay! You’re a life saver. Some beautiful photos here but you guys should take care next time. 🙂 Looks like a great adventure!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      I’m glad she’s fine too! Thanks Anne! We will be extra careful next time. I think she just got too excited. 😀

  11. Doreen Pendgracs

    January 31, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Amazing photos! Thx for sharing, although there was a bit of difficulty loading them, and I am in a destination where I have high-speed internet. You may wish to resize the photos for faster loading.

    I haven’t been to Utah for a very long time, but do remember being wowed by the stunning views. Maybe it’s time for me to go back!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks Doreen! I’m actually in the process of reuploading my pics. I made a newbie mistake of uploading them in their full size. :\ I will resize them and reupload them soon.

      Yes! It’s time to go back. I miss Utah and I’m hoping to go back soon. 🙂

  12. Jennifer McMillen

    January 31, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Absolutely beautiful and rugged! Thank you for the beautiful photos Janna!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Agreed Jennifer! And not a problem at all. Glad you like them. 🙂

  13. Sabine

    January 31, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Wow, just wow, that’s how stunning your pictures look. I did not know Utah was so amazingly beautiful. Well, I know now. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Aww thanks for that Sabine. You’re too kind. <3 Utah is beautiful! It's one of my fave places to visit. 😀

  14. Kimberly Erin

    January 31, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Utah looks stunning. I have been looking into it a lot more lately. I would love to have some hiking/sweeping view moments there as well. very cool photos

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      You should definitely visit Utah Kimberly. I love exploring it! And thanks so much. 🙂

  15. Trisha Velarmino

    January 31, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Stunning photos, Janna! But the site is loading too slow. Maybe you can resize the pics? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks Trisha! Im actually in the process of reuploading the photos. I made a newbie mistake of uploading them in their full size. :\

  16. Sreeram@backpackways

    January 31, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Stunning fotos, Utah is certainly in my list. Thanks for sharing some vital informations about this magnificent place.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks Sreeram! Glad you liked my photos. Hope you can visit Utah soon!

  17. Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork

    February 1, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Lovely! I agree Utah has some of the best parks! There are a still a few on my wishlist!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth. And I’m glad you agree. Which parks have you visited so far? 🙂

  18. Lauren

    February 1, 2016 at 10:59 am

    What a stunning place! And your friend needs to be more careful! I would have freaked out 😀

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      February 13, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      haha I agree! I think she just got too excited and tripped. 😀

  19. Rob

    March 4, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Great photos, I had never heard of Dead Horse Point State Park until I read your post. I have seen photos of the Horseshoe bend in the river but I did not know where the photos were taken. It looks like a very beautiful park to explore.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Oh glad to know I’ve piqued your interest. Hope you get to explore it soon! It’s definitely quieter than the other national parks but its just as breath taking.

  20. Katja

    March 4, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    What an absolutely beautiful place!! Your photos are stunning. I’m glad you all made it out alive! 🙂

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks so much Katja! Yes! I am very glad no one was harmed. 🙂

  21. Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers

    March 4, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Wow Utah really is beautiful. The rugged rocky landscape really is quite unusual, and beautiful colours, must be quite the site at golden hour.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      It really is! Golden hour is always the best time to photograph landscapes! It was pretty amazing.

  22. Penny Sadler

    March 5, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Very comprehensive information. Looks beautiful! Keep up with the photography!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks so much Penny! 🙂

  23. Anda

    March 5, 2016 at 11:16 am

    It’s funny how similar some parts of Utah resemble Arizona. Before I read your post, just by looking at the pictures, I was almost sure I am looking at the Grand Canyon, but I was wrong. I never visited Dead Horse Point State Park, but I have to say it seems equally beautiful with the red rock parks in Arizona.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      It does actually remind me of the Grand Canyon. And I do agree with the similarities between Utah and Arizona. Both are spectacular places to visit. Hope you get to visit this park. It’s breath taking! 🙂

  24. shivansh

    March 5, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Those photographs are inviting me to Utah, I need to attend to the call! Thanks for the motivation!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      YES! That’s my goal. I do hope you make it out there sometime in the future. It’s a must! 🙂

  25. Natasha Amar

    March 6, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Such a spectacular landscape to hike in. Great photos by the way!

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks Natasha! Utah is one of my fave destinations for outdoor adventure!

  26. mark

    March 6, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Once again amazing pictures i love your wild west posts they are amazing

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks so much Mark! I appreciate the support!

  27. Nisha

    March 6, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Awesome, awesome photos. So barren yet so intriguing!

    And that was one lucky escape for your friend!
    Have read so much about this place that it’s a must visit now.

    Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

    1. Janna C.

      Janna C.

      March 10, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Thanks so much Nisha! I know right? I was so scared but relieved that nothing happened. Hope you get to visit! The vastness of the canyon will leave you awestruck!

      And no problem at all! Glad you liked it!

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