Monday, June 3, 2019

Dead Horse Point State Park

Gopher Flats
May 24, 2019
Moab, UT

Nothing puts a smile on my face and a skip in my feet like gorgeous weather and places to explore.  

Dead Horse Point State Park sure fits the criteria for a beautiful place to explore with it's wide-open vistas,  desert flora,  and peaceful solitude.

Joe and I chose to do the Rim Loop Trail a few days ago so we were up early and excited to be heading a few miles north to take in the gorgeous canyon and mountain scenery.  

The hike begins behind the Visitor Center.  We began at the red star on the map photo above and took the West Rim Trail (the blue trail) making it a counterclockwise loop.  We included the side trails to the Rim Overlook, Schaffer Canyon Overlook and Meander Overlook before reaching "The Point".  The Point is amazing at 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River...a birds eye view.  It is also a great place to stop for a snack before hooking up to the East Rim Trail (the red trail) which takes you back to the VC.  All total its just under 7 miles with the side trails.

The West Rim
Schaffer Canyon Overlook

The trail is a combo of dirt and rocks, a few boulders to scramble, and slickrock.

According to one legend,  the point was used as a corral for wild horses.  Cowboys rounded up the horses, herded them to the "narrow neck of land" (which was only 30 yards wide)  and onto the point.  They chose the horses they wanted and left the others to go free.  But on one occasion, the horses were left corralled with no water and died of thirst...thus the name !
The Point...I waited and waited for the cloud cover to disappear for a better picture of the Gooseneck.   

Meander Point
The park has a variety of high desert plants that have adapted over the years to the lack of water and the extreme temperatures.  Trees there are only 15 feet tall but may be hundreds of years old. The leaves on most plants are small and often have a waxy coating to help retain water.

Plants along the rim at the Rim Overlook...

The East Rim 
The bright blue hues on the desert floor are potash evaporation ponds.  

The LaSal Mountains make a gorgeous backdrop for the scenery along the East Rim.  

If you have ridden along Schaffer Trail then you have seen the potash evaporation ponds up close.  I read sometime ago that they are visible by satellites in space.

The winding Colorado River

The trail leading back to the VC is all dirt that mostly follows the rim.  The plants are totally different with a thick layer of sage and small cedar trees.  Along the edges of the path were lots of Prickly Pear.

Dead Horse Point was opened to the public as a state park in 1959.  Today it offers biking and hiking trails with RV campgrounds and yurts to rent.  

Ancient oceans, freshwater lakes, rivers and streams, and wind blown sand dunes created the rock layers of this canyon country...well worth a visit if you are in the area. 



  1. As always a nice outing with some great pictures. Nice to see snow on the mountains. We camped at Dead Horse a few years ago, it is a nice place to make a home base. Wish we had a 4x4 in tow then!, but we did rent a side=by-side in town for a day trip.

  2. Love that park and that hike...

  3. Always an awesome park to visit. The views never disappoint. Beautiful photos, Gay!

  4. So pretty and wonderful long distance views. I held on to my chair looking over the edges :-) Love the water pockets on the slick rock.