Highlights: a quiet place, exceptional views, camping, glamping, picnic spots, pet-friendly, moderate hiking, mountain biking for beginners, sleeping in yurts, twinkling starry sky
What: Dead Horse State Park, Utah
Where: East of Canyonland National Park, near the town of Moab, Utah
When: Open year-round (6:00am -10:00pm)
Looking for a peaceful and quiet place to camp and hike for next weekend? Head to Dead Horse State Park in southeastern Utah. Although the name alone is more than enough to pique your interest – no, there aren’t any dead horses involved – this Park is abundant with exceptional views and even more activities that will surely make up for an eventful weekend! For instance, the Dead Horse State Park trails are known to leave you breathless, and since they’re pretty easy to finish, you can also bring your furry companion along with you. Additionally, the park feels like it’s located in the middle of nowhere, so you can only imagine how magical the night sky looks! And if you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can also sleep in a yurt for the night, just as nomads do! There’s a lot more you can expect from Dead Horse Ranch State Park, so if you’re planning the perfect escape away from the city’s bustle, this is the place to be!
The Enigma of Dead Horse Point
Shortly before the 19th century, cowboys and ranchers used to visit the area of the park that is today frequently. They stayed with their horses in a natural corral on the unique ridge passable only through a narrow 30-yard passage enclosed by fences. Because they saw the passage as an advantage, they used to block it off with thick branches, so they could easily trap all kinds of steeds. Later, the cowboys selected which ones to keep, leaving the rest without access to water, leading them to death.
Alternatively, legend has it that a group of broom tails was left in the corral with an open gate. Instead of running, they inexplicably stayed, dying of thirst, looking at the Colorado River. From that point on, this place was crowned Dead Horse Point, later altered to Dead Horse State Park.
When is the best visit period?
Each season offers a unique program of things to do in Dead Horse State Park. Whichever period you choose, you will do right! April to May and September to October offer the most pleasant temperatures. On the other hand, we recommend avoiding midday walks during July and August when temperatures reach up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The winters are not harsh – you can even enjoy walking along the Dead Horse State Park trails, as snow is a rare phenomenon in this area. In fact, if you go in winter, you will feel the total tranquility of Dead Horse Point State Park because the crowds are significantly smaller.
How to travel to the park, and where to stay?
- From St. Georgem Utah: It takes 4 hr 41 min to get to Moab.
- From Moab, Utah: it takes 32 miles southwest of Moab. Take Highway 191 south for about 9 miles, then turn right onto Highway 313. Follow this scenic route for around 22 miles until you reach the park.
- From Interstate 70: Take Exit 182 (U.S. 191) south and then turn onto Highway 313 to reach the park.
Public Transportation: not available.
Flying: The nearest major airports are: Grand Junction Regional Airport or Canyonlands
Field Airport (closer to the park but with limited flight options)
Accommodation: While Dead Horse Point State Park has camping and glamping facilities, there are also numerous accommodations in Moab, ranging from hotels and motels to scenic campgrounds. For availability, check our site for vacation rentals near Dead Horse Point State Park.
11 things to do in Dead Horse State Park
Hike & Bike
Both activities occur on exceptionally well-groomed trails, the longest being the Intrepid Trail (16.6 miles) and featuring sections of varying intensity. It is an excellent choice for beginners and offers scenic views. Twisted Tree is more challenging and covers 8 miles of higher-intensity trail.
The Most Peaceful Picnic
Without hesitation, get ready for an unforgettable picnic. Get there early and sit at some of the shaded picnic spots. Here you can really unwind, have a delightful lunch with your closest ones, and even meditate or do yoga. Choose to picnic on a sunny, pleasant spring or fall day. But a warm tip is to check the weather conditions just to be on the safe side, even though the rains are rare.
Look Up and Enjoy The Twinkle
If you are passionate about astrology, staying for a stargazing session after your picnic is a must. The park is far from the city and offers clear skies for observing celestial bodies. The whole atmosphere is yours; you can also take your telescope or ask the staff to provide one. Because the starry sky has captured the attention of many, Dead Horse State Park was rewarded a certificate for being a Dark Sky park.
Camping Amid Exceptional Views
Up for Dead Horse State Park camping? Or, maybe glamping is more up your forté? The park features many camping spots with the most scenic views. Although the sunset is a sight that shouldn’t be missed at all costs, you may want to set your alarm at sunrise since the sight will stay with you forever! Better yet, stay up all night and wait for it – we’re sure you’ll create cherished memories with your closest ones. Also, if you aim for a truly unique experience, ask the staff at the park to supply you with a traditional nomadic yurt instead of your standard, run-of-the-mill tent.
Leave some time for the Visitor Center, which is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (closed for holidays). The friendly staff will tell you the place’s legend and reveal information about the geology and history. You can also look at current or old maps or attend an exhibition if you are lucky enough.
An Adrenaline-Filled Day
Another option available to you in the Moab area is the ATV experience. Guided tours suitable for both beginners and experienced drivers are organized constantly. Along the way, you’ll stop at several breathtaking viewpoints, so always have your camera ready!
Capture the enjoyment
Your expedition will only be complete if you document it. Snap a few photos from the most photogenic places in and around the park. Below is a list of spots:
Dead Horse State Park Overlook
You want an incredible sunset or sunrise photo – if that’s the case, head for the Dead Horse State Park Overlook. The backdrop consists of the panorama over the Colorado River that everyone will be amazed by!
Mesa Arch Viewpoint
This is a place made for postcards. Come early in the morning and take a photo with the first rays of sunlight peeking through the arch.
Big Horn Overlook and Trail
While walking this trail, stop and take some perfect shots with beautiful details.
Don’t miss the opportunity of taking a picture of the mesmerizing visual pattern of the Colorado River.
Visitor Center Area:
Finally, you can enrich your gallery with pictures of rustic architecture and rock formations in this Dead Horse Ranch State Park section.
One task accomplished – finding the perfect place for an exciting weekend! Follow our advice on what time of year you can visit the park and how to get there. You also already know what adventures await you and what things to do in Dead Horse State Park.
Now let’s look for vacation rentals near Dead Horse Point State Park! Our site is the spot to be to finish your trip plan. Once this trip is over, read the rest of our blogs to get even more ideas for a fun-filled weekend amid breathtaking nature.