Dead Horse State Park is well known in Utah for its breathtaking overviews of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. The main view is somewhat similar to the Horse Shoe Bend in Arizona but from a higher elevation. Other views rival those in the Grand Canyon. The park was well maintained and in great condition. During our visit, the number of people also was very reasonable. No big lines to get to the main overlooks etc. The park covers 5,362 acres (2,170 ha) of high desert at an altitude of 5,900 feet (1,800 m).
The legend of Dead Horse Point states that in the late 1800’s the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top. Cowboys herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck was then fenced off with branches and brush. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River 2,000 feet below.
The park is about 40 miles from the city of Moab. This was our “base” during the first phase of our Utah exploration trip. We highly recommend visiting Moab. It is a city full of offroad adventurers and nature-loving travelers. Also, the food was very good. The city is strategically located right next to the Arches National Park and driving distance to the Canyonlands National Park. Amazing destination if you want to park hop and explore what Utah is all about. However room availability in the hotels there is scarce and you need to book way in advance. In our case, we booked more than 4 months ahead.
The views of the Colorado River and the Canyonlands National Park are breathtaking. You could also drive down right next to the river bend but we decided not to due to time constraints. However, you would need a 4×4 off-road-ready vehicle for that trip. Photo opportunities are everywhere. We loved every single view and spend most of the day walking between the different overlooks. Getting to the main viewpoints is very easy. They are within walking distance of the parking in most cases. Parking also was not an issue.
The park is also a desirable destination for mountain biking. The Intrepid Trail System has three hiking and biking loops ranging from one to nine miles with varying degrees of difficulty. In general Utah’s parks were packed with mountain bikers and everywhere we went we noticed at least a few of them. We even witnessed a biking movie being shot in the park with a photo crew, big cameras, etc. Park is also pet-friendly.
In conclusion, visiting Dead Horse State Park is a no-brainer especially if you are staying in Moab. It offers unique views of the Colorado River and the Canyonlands National Park. f you enjoyed the Horse Shoe Bend you definitely would enjoy the Dead Horse State Park.