Overlooking the drama of the winding Colorado River, many don’t realize that one of the best ways to see adjacent Canyonlands National Park is from this scenic overlook. The park—although relatively small—boasts miles of hiking trails, biking trails, and a 21 site campground for you to enjoy the millions of years of geologic theatrics on display.
The Legend of Dead Horse Point
According to one legend (and the Utah Division of Natural Resources website) the rock outcropping—only 30 yards wide!--was once used as a corral for wild mustangs. Apparently, cowboys would round up these wild animals, and herd them across the narrow neck of land onto the point. Surrounded by cliffs on all sides but one, the cowboys stuck brush and branches across the point to keep the horses corralled. Then the mustangs were culled through, and a few came back to civilization for farming and ranching. One time, the horses were left up on the point for too long without water, and died within sight of the mighty Colorado two thousand feet below. That’s the legend, and the name’s stuck now.
My wife and I took a weekend down last February to celebrate our anniversary, and had a blast. We’re super passionate about the outdoors, and we’re always planning our next getaway, usually settling for some gorgeous locale in the great American West. This time, Moab answered the call.
When do I go?
Now’s a great time to hit Red Rock country, as it’s not scorching hot yet (park rangers recommend a gallon of water per person per day in the heat of the summer), and you can beat the summer crowds. Kids aren’t out of school yet, but colleges are done ‘till August. In fact, I just checked, it’s 55 degrees and raining today. A rarity for sun-soaked Moab… Better head down!
What do I bring?
So whether you’re a hard-core adventurer on their way down south for serious riding, climbing, and hiking, or a less-seasoned outdoor enthusiast, Dead Horse Point makes my to-do list for any Utah Red Rock trip.