Dead Horse Point State Park features a dramatic overlook
of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. The
park is so named because of its use as a natural corral by
cowboys in the 19th century.
The plateau is surrounded by sheer cliffs 2,000 feet
high with only a narrow neck of land 30 yards wide
connecting the mesa to the main plateau. Thus it was easy
for cowboys to simply fence off this narrow neck, and keep
rounded up wild horses from running away.
Directions: Drive nine miles northwest of Moab
on US 191 and then 23 miles southwest on Utah 313 to the
end of the highway.
According to one legend, around the turn of the century the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa
top. Cowboys rounded up these horses, herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck, which is only 30-
yards-wide, was then fenced off with branches and brush.
This created a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs straight down on all sides, affording no escape. Cowboys then
chose the horses they wanted and let the culls or broom-tails go free. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled
on the water less point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below.
The park has several overlooks, a visitor center, a 21-site campground and a group campsite, one picnic area, and a 9-mile
(14 km) loop hiking trail with two cutovers to allow shorter trips. Safety concerns include the relative isolation of the park (gas, food
and medical care are over 30 miles (48 km) away in Moab), lightning danger and unfenced cliffs. Nearby Moab is a noted center for
mountain biking. Bikes in the park are allowed on paved roads, and there is a mountain bike trail called Intrepid Trail near the State
Park Visitor's Center with loops of varying levels of difficulty. Hunting is not allowed in the park.