Dead Horse Point State Park

Awe-Inspiring Vistas at Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point is a beautiful mesa at 5,900 feet elevation. Here, you can look for miles into the canyons of Canyonlands National Park. At the edge of the mesa – we followed a scenic trail along the rim and got breathtaking views. Sediment from former oceans, freshwater lakes, and windblown sand dunes contributed to this magnificent, colorful display of the canyons’ rock layers. Due to volcanic activity, the area is dotted with a few mountains as well.

Life Persists in the Barren Landscape

Despite the harsh environment, life finds its way. Nature and wildlife are adapted to the sun’s scorching heat and water scarcity. Plants grow at a snail’s pace; some trees hundreds of years old are just 15 feet tall. Their leaves are tiny, sometimes with a waxy coating to hold onto precious water. Animals like desert bighorn sheep and coyotes avoid the sun’s scorching heat and come alive in the cooler evenings.

The Legend Behind the Name

Dead Horse Point has a dark legend. This rocky peninsula has vertical cliffs on all sides. The point is connected to the mainland only by a narrow strip of land called the neck. Cowboys played a crucial role in its sinister name. They used the area to their advantage. They would flock wild mustangs together, trapping them by closing this natural corral with branches and brushes. Once trapped, they chose the horses they wanted and would set the others free. The legend goes that once, for some unknown reason, a group of unwanted horses were left in the closed-off corral. They died of thirst, ironically, with the sight of water in the Colorado River 2,000 feet beneath them. You might wonder if they, in their desperation, tried to reach the water and have fallen to their death.


Saturday, April 10, 2021


6.33 miles

Moving Time

2:25:45 hours


70 °F, sun, light breeze