Dead Horse Point State Park is located in eastern Utah, approximately 33 miles outside of downtown Moab. The visitor center at Dead Horse Point State Park is just 14 miles from the Island in the Sky Visitor Center at Canyonlands National Park. If you are in the area, this is a must see! I would even argue, that I maybe enjoyed the views at this state park a little more than its neighboring national park😊 The park extends out onto a narrow mesa top with spectacular 360 views. Between the steep canyon walls, a dramatic bend in the Colorado River, buttes in every direction and the La Sal Mountains on the horizon, this park is a stop you will not want to miss.
Below is a one-day itinerary that will give you plenty of opportunities for hiking and soaking in those amazing views. However, if you love mountain biking, I would highly recommend staying a second day to check out the bike trails. Plus, a two-night stay would give you the opportunity to stay in one of the yurts, which look very cool!
Entrance Fee: $20 for a non-commercial vehicle for 2 consecutive days.
Lodging: There are two campgrounds and a yurt site on property. The Kayenta Campground has 22 electric sites. The Wingate Campground has 21 electric sites, 11 hike-in tent sites and 4 yurts. And the last lodging option on property are the 5 Moenkopi Yurts. Reservations for all three areas can be made here- Dead Horse Point Camping. If you would prefer not to camp, hotel options can be found in the city of Moab, 33 miles away.
Dining: The only food options inside the park is a small selection of drinks and snacks at the gift shop. If you are coming for the day, I would bring food in with you. The city of Moab nearby has many dining options. Here are some of our favorites- Moab Food Truck Park (Street Dogs and Red Wok Kitchen are our favorites but they are all so good!), Trailhead Public House and Eatery, Zax, Sweet Cravings, and Miguel’s Baja Grill.
Must Know Before You Go:
*Like most parks in Utah, your biggest obstacle will be staying cool and hydrated in the desert heat. Especially when there is very little, if any, shade provided.
1. Bring all kinds of sun protection- Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, etc.
2. Bring plenty of water. The park recommends 1 gallon per person, per day.
3. In the height of summer, I highly recommend planning your hikes either early or late in the day to avoid the heat. Honestly, sunset at the park is spectacular, so you may want to do this even in the cooler months, although sunset would be much earlier😊
4. Carry plenty of water on your hikes- the park rangers repeatedly recommended 1 liter per hour per person.
5. Overlooks and trails do not always have railings, so you will want to keep your little ones close near the edge.
Cell Service: No cell service or Wifi anywhere in the park.
One Day Itinerary
Visitor Center- I would start your day at Dead Horse Point State Park at the visitor center. Inside the visitor center you will find informational exhibits on both the interesting history and very cool geology of the park. There is also a small gift shop. It is also a great place to start your hiking for the day.
East Rim Trail- The East and West Rim Trails make one large loop taking you around the park’s entire mesa top’s edge. Since it is a loop, you can start from anywhere but it’s easiest to start right from the visitor center. From the visitor center, head south on the East Rim trail. Including the short side trip to Basin Overlook it is 2 miles one way to Dead Horse Point Overlook. Most of the trail is flat, well marked and perfect for all ages. You will want to watch little ones near the edge and there will not be any shade until Dead Horse Point so bring plenty of water. There is shade, a picnic area, and pretty nice restrooms at the Dead Horse Point Overlook. The overlook is a stunning view of the Colorado River running through the striking canyon below.
West Rim Trail- The trail continues just on the other side of Dead Horse Point Overlook, where it turns into the West Rim Trail. The West Rim Trail, including side trips to Shafer Canyon Overlook and Rim Overlook is 4 miles back to the visitor center. If your crew is losing steam, you could skip the side trips to both overlooks and make the trail only 3 miles back to the visitor center. It’s a wonderful trail either way!
*Lastly, something to note. This park is worth staying another day if you have the time. Trails out to the Big Horn Overlook and Colorado Overlook add another 4 miles of hiking trails to explore. The park also has an awesome mountain biking system with almost 17 miles to check out! Can’t bring your bike to the park, this company has you covered! Check out what they have to offer on their site- Big Horn Mountain Biking.
Hope you have a wonderful adventure!