Located within the Canyon Rims Recreation Area in southeastern Utah, Dead Horse Point State Park sits 2,000 feet above the meandering Colorado River.
Legend has it that turn-of-century cowboys rounded up some of the many wild horses that roamed free in the area.
They then herded them through a 30 yard narrow neck on to a narrow promontory with sheer cliffs on three sides.
The neck was then blocked with branches and brush and the horses were neatly corralled.
The cowboys selected the best horses which were to be sold, or to be used for their own personal use, and the rest were left in the corral.
Before the cowboys were to leave with their horse herd, the gate was to be opened and the remaining horses would be free to go on their own accord.
However, as fate would have it, so the legend goes, the brush gate was inadvertently left in place and the horses were trapped inside and died from lack of water.
How to get there
Take US 191 nine miles northwest of Moab to Utah 313, then 23 miles southwest on Utah 313 to the end of the highway.
Operating Hours and Seasons
You may find books and maps on Dead Horse Point State Park at the Visitor Center, or you may click on the link below which will take you directly to Amazon.com.Dead Horse Point State Park
The Visitor Center is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
However, the park remains open during these holidays.
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There is no lodging within Dead Horse Point State Park.
The nearest lodging is in Moab, Utah.
To find lodging in Moab, use the Search Box on the right.
Simply enter the dates you have in mind, and the server, Hotels Combined, will provide you with a list of the lodging available on the dates you have specified.
• Electrical hookup
• Grills (For charcoal only. Wood burning is not allowed)
• Picnic tables
• No Water or Sewer Hookups
Water available near restroom
For reservations, call toll free 801-322-3770
All water must be hauled in from Moab. Consequently it is in short supply. Don’t depend on there being enough to meet all your needs.
Recreational vehicles should fill water tanks before coming to the park.
Pets are allowed within Dead Horse Point State Park.
However, very stringent rules apply.
• Must be on a leash at all times.
General Park Rules
Flora and Fauna
The Park supports more than 90 different species of desert plants including juniper, sagebrush and squawbush, as well as native grasses and many seasonal wildflowers that have adapted to the high desert climate.
Like the plant life, many of the animals at Dead Horse Point have adapted to living in the harsh desert environment.
• Rocky Mountain Mule Deer
Ancestral Puebloans and Fremont People
From the stone tools and rock art found in the area, it is know that both the ancestral Puebloans and the Fremont peoples lived here from about 500 A.D. to the 1300s.
These people were hunter-gatherers. They foraged for native plants, hunted bighorn sheep, deer and rabbits and grew crops of maize, squash and beans.
Later Inhabitants and Explorers
They were followed by the Ute and Paiute cultures who may have arrived in the area as early as A.D. 800 and the Navajo who migrated here after 1300A.D.
It is likely they were still using the area when the first Spanish explorers arrived around 1776 while searching for travel routes to the Spanish missions in California.
Mormon pioneers first tried to establish the Elk Mountain Mission in the Moab valley in the summer of 1855, but conflicts with the Utes led them to abandon their efforts.
It wasn’t until 1878 that settlers returned and established the farming and ranching community of Moab.
Uranium and Potash
In the 1950s uranium was discovered in the area and thousands of prospectors, miners, workers, and speculators poured into Moab.
But, by the 1980s uranium had been replaced by potash mining, which was used as fertilizer, and tourism.
Although potash has been an important part of the local economy since the early 1960s, tourism has been the mainstay.
State Park Status
Dead Horse Point State Park was established in 1959 with a 628-acre gift donated to the State by San Juan County.
Through acquisitions from the Bureau of Land Management and other state agencies, the original 628-acre gift has grown to more than 5,300 acres.
References and Resources
Utah State Parks
The Free Encyclopedia