Dead Horse State Park |

Moab

Hiking Dead Horse State Park - MoabRoadside Attraction Dead Horse State Park - Moab Hiking Dead Horse State Park
Moab

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Roadside Attraction / Easy Hike
LENGTH: 1+ hours
MAPS: SHAFER BASIN, UT; MUSSELMAN ARCH, UT;

Sun

50 | 34

Mon

54 | 30

Tue

58 | 32

Wed

60 | 37

Thu

52 | 33

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Any, hot in summer.
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: Available at visitor center.

Sun

50 | 34

Mon

54 | 30

Tue

58 | 32

Wed

60 | 37

Thu

52 | 33

View Full Weather Details
Diane enjoying the views on a snowy winter day.

Diane enjoying the views on a snowy winter day.

I'm consistently impressed by the state parks in Utah. Everyone knows about the national parks, but the state parks often have incredible beauty without quite the crowds! Dead Horse State Park, near Canyonlands’ Island In The Sky is stunning with views similar to Island In the Sky.

The park offers great camping, easy roadside views, mountain bike trails, and over 6 miles of jaw-dropping hiking along the rim of the mesa. This makes an excellent alternative (or addition) to the nearby Island In the Sky.

What's in a name? Cowboys would drive wild horses to the point and then close off the narrowest section with a wooden fence. The cowboys would choose which horses they wanted to keep for themselves and the ones they wanted to take to sell, and then leave the rest to wander off. Legend is that one time a group of the horses left behind stayed on the point to eventually die of dehydration even though the gate was supposedly left open for them to leave.

Snow and slickrock at Dead Horse State Park

Snow and slickrock at Dead Horse State Park

Getting There

From Moab, head north on US-191 toward I-70. About 11 miles north of town is the junction with SR-313. This is also the road to Canyonlands. Follow SR-313 14.6 miles to the junction to Dead Horse Point. Turn left and go 4.2 miles to the entrance to the park.

Snow flurries over the valley.

Snow flurries over the valley.

Route

Recommendations

Roadside Attraction
For families or the less motivated, start by driving to the end of the park road and viewpoint at Dead Horse Point proper. The views 2000 feet down to the Colorado River are incredible! A paved path allows for a nice wander along the point; afterwards stop back at the visitor center and take in somewhat less dramatic views from that overlook.

Hikers
The park has several excellent trails. For my money, I would recommend the West Rim trail the highest. Linking the West Rim and East Rim trails and visiting all of the viewpoints along the way makes for about a 6-mile loop. Get an early start in the summer, the trail can be scorchingly hot in the heat. Finding the trail can be a minor problem in the winter if there is fresh snow.

Bikers
The park boasts the Intrepid Trail System, about 16 miles of continuous beginner and intermediate mountain bike trails. These are separate from the hiking trails, on the north end of the park near the entrance gate. Dogs are not allowed on the biking trails.


Maps

Route / 4.71 miles / Elevation Range 5,581 - 6,013 ft.
Printable Maps:
Dead Horse Point

12S 609954mE 4258733mN

N38° 28' 13" W109° 44' 22"

Meander Overlook Junction

12S 609400mE 4259700mN

N38° 28' 44" W109° 44' 45"

Shafer Overlook Junction

12S 609275mE 4259814mN

N38° 28' 48" W109° 44' 50"

Rim Overlook Junction

12S 609266mE 4260622mN

N38° 29' 14" W109° 44' 50"

Big Horn Junction

12S 609733mE 4260628mN

N38° 29' 14" W109° 44' 31"

Basin Overlook Junction

12S 610336mE 4259793mN

N38° 28' 47" W109° 44' 06"

Visitor Center

12S 610261mE 4260690mN

N38° 29' 16" W109° 44' 09"

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