Where is Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point is located in Utah off of state route 313 approximately 32 miles Northwest of the city of Moab. The park overlooks both the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park as it sits upon a mesa that is 2,000 feet in elevation above these points. Dead Horse Point is also easily accessible from Salt Lake City via a 4 hour drive Southeast on US-6.
How Big Is Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point covers an expanse of 8.38 square miles or 5,362 acres of Utah. The park’s eight different segments of expansive biking and hiking trails cover just over sixteen total miles within the US State Park. The park sits at a total elevation of 6,981 feet above sea level allowing for outstanding views of both Mt. Paele in the La Sal mountain range (12,721 feet above sea level) as well as the Colorado River 2,000 feet below the mesa.
Dead Horse Point State Park Weather
Based on weather data collected by WeatherBase, the average temperature at Dead Horse Point is 46.9 degrees annually. One must take into account that the park is situated in a desert at very high altitude and may experience drastic temperature swings; even on a daily basis. The average daily high through the year is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the average daily low is estimated at 33 degrees annually. During the summer months temperatures during the day consistently extend over 100 degrees.
The average precipitation for the year in the park is only a mere 13 inches. The majority of the rainfall for the year is accounted for in the late summer and early fall months of August, September, and October at just under 2 inches of rainfall per month. The driest months of the year tend to be the winter months of December, January and February. The winter months average just under an inch of precipitation per month.
Though rain has been recorded in every month of the year at Dead Horse Point, snowfall has been accounted for only from late fall through early spring. Most recently, this has been recorded from September through May of this past year. The average amount of snowfall is approximately 48 inches annually with the months of December and January accounting for about half of the total amount of snowfall.
When Did Dead Horse Point Become A State Park
Dead Horse Point was founded in 1959 after the county commission of San Juan purchased the plot of land and then gifted it to the Utah State Parks system. There are several different accounts regarding how the park got its name. The common thread amongst all of the legends, though, is that desert horses were corralled in the canyon through the bottleneck of the cliffs and left, for one reason or another, to perish of thirst on the mesa overlooking the Colorado River.
The park is now also a preservation site which takes great caution not to disrupt the special cryptobiotic crust of the desert. The biological soil is teaming with microorganisms and plays an important role in supporting the plant life and ecosystem of the desert. The crust is so fragile that a single footprint could take decades to repair!
Things To Do At Dead Horse Point
There are few things to do at Dead Horse Point other than take in the natural beauty of the mesa and surrounding canyons but, if you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and camping in pure serenity, this is the place to do it. Here is List of Parks suggestions:
- Camping - There are three different options for camping at the park. An RV campsite and a hike-in only site underscore a third option of a luxurious stay in one of the sites nine yurts. The parks yurts allow campers space for six while offering modern amenities such as air conditioning and bathrooms in scenic and secluded locations. Campsites are open year-round, and each site has different stipulations regarding pets, waste, and amenities provided.
- Views - During the day, the stunning views from the elevated mesa make Dead Horse Point an enchanting place for sightseeing. Getting lost amongst the beautiful cliffs and canyons has become the main attraction for most park guests. In 2016, the park was also named as an international dark sky park for its uninterrupted views of the night sky. Without any infringing light pollution, the clear night skies of the park allow for some of the best views for stargazers in the country.
- Hiking and Biking - The park features sixteen miles of trail that are broken up into eight segments. Each segment is a different length and ranges in difficulty as well. These trails are ideal for hiking and biking in the spring, fall and winter but are not recommended during the high heat of the summer months.
Things To Bring To Dead Horse Point
Because the park is located in the desert, there are several things to bring to ensure a comfortable stay. There are also a few items our National Park Visitors Guide suggests that will enhance your ability to take in the landscape of the park.
- Water - This is the number one thing to keep in mind at all times. Though the visitors center at the park does have water available, it is recommended to each guest to bring an adequate supply of their own due to the desert climate and distance from city facilities.
- Food - Food is another important item when packing for a stay at the park. There are no restaurants or grocery stores nearby and the nearest city is more than thirty miles away.
- UV Protection - Due to the year-round, desert sun, it is very important to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and UV protective clothing as well.
- Footwear - The rugged terrain and demanding hiking trails implore visitors to ensure they are properly equipped with a sturdy set of hiking boots.
- Mountain Bike - To get the most out of the sixteen miles of trail, a proper mountain bike is a great addition to a camper supply kit for their stay.
- Optics - Although the views will stay with visitors for a lifetime it is recommended to bring a good camera and telescope to capture the beauty of the canyons and the night sky during your stay.
Where To Stay At Dead Horse Point
Though there are no hotels in the immediate vicinity of the park, visitors can choose between a few different styles of camping during their stay. Both the Kayenta and Windgate campsites offer RV sites as well as walk-in campsites. Both sites also offer fire pits, running water, bathrooms and waste-dump sites amongst other amenities. Visitors may also choose to stay in one of the park's nine yurts. Each yurt offers sleeping space for up to six people and more luxurious facilities with modern bathrooms and air conditioning included. The yurts also offer a more secluded experience and the broadest range of view in the whole park. From the yurts visitors can take in expansive views of the canyons as well as the La Sal mountain range.
Food Nearby Dead Horse Point
There are no dining or food options in the immediate vicinity of the park itself. If visitors are wanting a dining experience the closest restaurants are a 45 minute drive into Moab. Park visitors are highly encouraged to bring adequate food supply for their stay lest they have to make the drive into the city to resupply.
Airports Nearby Dead Horse Point
The closest major airport to the park is located in Salt Lake City; a four hour drive from the park. There are two other smaller airports closer to the city of Moab in the Canyonlands Field Airport (18 miles away) and Walker Field Airport (110 miles away).