We love exploring Utah and have been to Moab several times, but this was our first time to Dead Horse Point State park. We spent 5 days here and used it as our base camp for exploring Canyonlands and Moab. There are no water hookups in the campground, so it took a little bit of logistics to plan for five days with 9 people. The air is very dry and you will need at least one gallon of water per person per day. The campground has bathrooms and a sink with cold water to wash dishes, but no showers. The closest water, gas, food, and medical care is 32 miles away in Moab, so be sure you come prepared. There was also very little AT&T cell phone coverage (occasionally we could get a strong enough signal in the early morning or late evening hours to get some text messages through). The sites are spacious, paved, mostly level, have a covered picnic area, and 1-2 tent pads.
The hiking trails lead to several overlooks of the canyon. We hiked a couple of nights to Rim Overlook which was a short .7 miles from the campground (one way) to watch the sunset. There are very steep drop offs at the overlooks, so we had to watch our children closely and be sure that they understood the dangers and rules. At Rim overlook there are several boulders that our children enjoyed clinging on. They even found a geocache tucked away in one of the crevices (though nothing was in it).
One afternoon we hiked Big Horn overlook, which is a 1.3 mile hike (one-way) from Kayenta campground. The kids found a boulder they thought looked like a big turtle and enjoyed surfing on its back. Like Rim Overlook, Big Horn Overlook has precipitous cliffs and it was extremely windy. We left the kids to play in the “nest” while we walked them out to the overlook one at a time. They had a blast pretending they were birdies and “flying” (or jumping) into the sandy “nest” (pit).
And of course we had to hike to Dead Horse Point. According to legend, cowboys would corral the wild mustangs roaming the Mesa on this point. The neck is only 30 yards wide, so it was easy to fence off with brush. The cowboys would choose the horses they wanted and left the other horses corralled on the point. The Colorado River winds 2,000 feet below, but because of the cliffs the horses were unable to reach water and died there on the point.
We hiked out to the point along the west rim trail 2.5 miles and back 1.5 miles along the east rim trail. The East Rim hugs closer to the rim so you have more scenic vistas. The trails were poorly marked and impossible for us to follow near the point, so we ended up hiking on the road past the neck before rejoining the rim trail.
We chose to do the hike first thing in the morning before it got too hot, so we were done with the 4+ mile loop by 9am and celebrated with popsicles from the visitors center for breakfast.
That’s about it as far as hiking trails go within Dead Horse Point State Park. To further explore you can ride mountain bikes on the Intrepid Trail System. We drove to Canyonlands and Moab for more hiking adventures.
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