Twists and Turns of Dead Horse Point State Park – Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park is another of the wonderful Utah state parks in a state that is rich in natural and human history. We hadn’t even heard of this park until we got closer to it during our trip to Arches National Park. With the intriguing name we had to find out more and see what the park had to offer.

There were many versions of how the park was named, none of them very uplifting. What was clear was that the small “Point” at the end of the park road was used to corral wild mustangs back in the 1800s. The Point is an erosional remnant of the Colorado River,  surrounded by steep cliffs all around. As a result, there is a small neck only 60 feet wide connecting the Point with the rest of the plateau. The old cowboys would rustle the horses to the Point and use the area as a natural corral. They only needed to close off the narrow neck to contain the horses.

Views Abound

One thing about this park is the expansive view of the canyonlands that surround it. The stunning views go on forever. In fact, as we looked south-southwest, we were actually overlooking much of Canyonlands National Park. The most spectacular view from the point is that of a gooseneck of the Colorado River. It’s not the more famous gooseneck located within Canyonlands, but it’s far more accessible and pretty awesome in its own right.

Sitting at the cliff’s edge and taking in the view, it’s hard even for this geologist to appreciate the immense scale of space and time that’s required to create all that’s before me in this moment. To imagine the millions of years it took to create this place is hard to comprehend. To look down and realize that one day the gooseneck in the river will be breached, and the river will adopt a new course through the rock, is crazy to think about.

There are several areas to visit in the park and some are off dirt roads that take you to other parts of the cliff’s edge. There is one campground you can use for a longer stay if you wish to get closer to the land and explore. Maybe even get down to the Colorado itself. Just outside the park there are many Jeep trails to take you down closer to the river. Hiking should get you the rest of the way. This is a place to get away from it all.