Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park is located in southeastern Utah between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The park gets its name from an incident long ago when wild horses roamed this part of Utah. In those days, wranglers would use the lay of the land to trap wild mustangs so they could be captured and sold. The point itself is surrounded by a steep dropoff on all sides– up to 2,000 feet in some places! The point sticks out like a peninsula above the river valley far below. The wranglers would herd the horses out onto this narrow point and then build a fence of brush and dead wood across the entrance. Then they’d separate out the horses they wanted to keep and leave the nags behind. One time, the men forgot to take the fence down, and all the horses that were left on the point died of thirst within sight of the Colorado River far below.

Now Dead Horse Point is a state park. There is a $10 entrance fee, and a small visitor’s center. Our boys participated in the Junior Ranger Program and had a good time playing in the kid’s corner, which included puzzles, books, and a few other activities.

Inside the visitor’s center

There are a few gentle walks to do with kids, too. The first goes begins at the visitor’s center and goes out along the edge of the rim. A wall made of natural rocks protects children (and adults) from the straight drop of over 1,000 feet. If you enjoy panoramic vistas, this is the place for you.  (If, on the other hand, you’re like my Dad, you “have no interest in paying $10 to go look straight down into a hole.”)

As you drive further out along the point, you’ll come to a campground. Dead Horse Point State Park has tent camping, but no yurts or cabins. At the end of the road is another look out point. You can take a short walk around the point and look out over the surrounding valley. There are plenty of breathtaking views, but you won’t spend too long at Dead Horse Point. We did all that in one morning. There are a few other hikes, but we left by 11:30 so we could get down to Canyonlands National Park (just down the road) for the rest of the day.

A view from the nature walk next to the Visitor’s Center.
We saw lots of lizards!
Dead Horse Point
You can see these two buttes (Monitor & Merrimack)
on your way to Dead Horse Point & Canyonlands.

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