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Dead Horse Point State Park Day Trip from Moab Utah

It’s not the prettiest name but it is descriptive of an event that occurred before Dead Horse State Park in Utah became an official park. You may be familiar with some or all the national parks in Utah but there are many state parks in Utah that are also worthy of a visit. Dead Horse is one of them.

I only recently became aware of Dead Horse State Park, when I planned out my road trip to three national parks in Utah – Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. When I found out about Dead Horse park, I made sure to plan a visit to see the amazing view of the Colorado River and the location that gave the park its name.

Read on to learn more about Dead Horse State Park and how to plan your visit.


Dead Horse Point State Park UT

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Dead Horse Point State Park from Moab

Moab to Dead Horse State Park is a 45 minute drive. Watch for cyclists on the road.

If you decide to bicycle your way to the park it’s 40 miles from Moab – bring lots of water and energy food for the trip. The elevation gain is 1,875 ft (572 m) from Moab to Dead Horse Point.

Driving to Dead Horse Park from Moab is easy.

  • Drive north on Main Street and continue onto Hwy 191 N and follow it for about 11 miles (18 km).
  • Turn left on Utah Hwy 313 W and continue for 22 miles (35 km) to Dead Horse State Park entrance on the left.

Moab is where most people stay when exploring Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, two of the Big 5 national parks in Utah. And Dead Horse Point State Park is a bonus, the perfect day trip from Moab.


Tourists enjoy canyon view Dead Horse State Park Utah

Tourists enjoying the canyon view at Dead Horse State Park


Where to stay in Moab

I found great accommodation in Moab through – that’s the online booking site I use when I stay at hotels.

Many of the reservations do not require a deposit in advance so it’s best to book early and if your plans change you can cancel or make adjustments.

Book your hotel in Moab – read reviews and find the latest deals.

The hotel I stayed at in Moab is the Big Horn Lodge. The price was cheaper than many of the other hotels, but the reviews were awesome, and after looking at all the photos I booked it.

I loved that the room had some counter space by the sink and a decent sized mini fridge and a microwave. Another plus for the Big Horn Lodge is the restaurant on-site, the Moab Grill. And a small swimming pool so bring your bathing suit.

At Big Horn Lodge they allow cyclists to bring their bikes into the room and provide wash rags to use for cleaning your bike, hiking shoes, etc. That’s a nice little extra and very useful because hiking in Utah makes for some dusty footwear.

I bought my beer (hiking is thirsty work) across the street from Big Horn Lodge at the convenience store. Only a few blocks to the City Market grocery store for my meal basics and I was all set in Moab.


Info board on the geology of a Canyon


Where to Eat in Moab

There are lots of great restaurants in downtown Moab. But I only ate at two because I was gone all day visiting the parks. You can walk along Main Street in downtown Moab to find all sorts of restaurants and pubs.

For Mexican food I recommend Fiesta Mexicana. I ordered the appetizer Camarones a la Fiesta – bacon wrapped shrimp with guacamole. It was enough for 2 meals! They serve beer and have a full bar in case you are craving a margarita.


Fiesta Mexicana 202 S Main St Moab UT

I also ate at Moab Grill (next to Big Horn Lodge) and enjoyed the fish dinner with a beer. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and desserts. And they have gluten free and vegetarian options, for instance the green chili.

For budget conscious travelers, Moab Grill offers 10% off when you dine between 4–5:00 pm.


Moab Grill 540 S Main St Moab UT

For breakfast I heard that Love Muffin Café (139 N Main St) is good. And Moab Diner (189 S Main St) has all day breakfast in retro style diner decor.

I made my own breakfast smoothies because that’s my favorite healthy breakfast. I use plain yogurt, water, rice protein, goji berries, ground flax, hemp hearts, frozen blueberries or blackberries, cayenne, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon. Or skip the blueberries and goji berries and use spinach – super healthy and keeps me energized.

I brought my own blender that I bought at a grocery store. I used to use a travel size blender, but it was a bit small for my big smoothies, so I switched to hauling a full size blender around on my road trips. It’s totally worth it but not so practical for when I go camping :/


Solor evaporation ponds Dead Horse State Park

Solor evaporation ponds at Dead Horse State Park


Can You Visit Canyonlands and Dead Horse in One Day?

Absolutely. When I stayed in Moab for a few days I took a day trip to Dead Horse State Park and then Canyonlands afterwards. I even hiked the Rim Trail at Dead Horse park and hiked the Grand View Point at Canyonlands.

Is one day enough at Dead Horse Point State Park?

One day is enough to do some hiking or biking, take the scenic drive and see the Colorado River view at Dead Horse Point. But if you want to camp then of course you’re going to stay longer.

One great thing about Dead Horse park is the entrance fee allows you to visit for 3 consecutive days.


Dead Horse Point State Park Utah


Why is it called Dead Horse Point?

The story is that years ago some cowboys used to gather up wild horses in the area. They would use the natural corral of the point to keep them secure with a gate.

Evidently the cowboys herded a bunch of horses into the corral, took the best of the bunch and left the other horses behind.

For some reason they never returned to take the rest of the horses. Left in the corral with no water and no way out, all the horses died.

When the next people stopped by the area and saw all the dead horses that is when the name Dead Horse Point originated.


Canyon layers Dead Horse Point park Utah


Things to Do at Dead Horse Park

  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Stargazing
  • Off Highway Vehicles


Hiking trails map Dead Horse Point

Map of hiking trails at Dead Horse Point State Park


Fees and Hours

The Park is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm

Visitor Center is open from 9 am to 5 pm year round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day

Entrance fee is good for 3 consecutive days

  • $20 per vehicle (up to 8 people)
  • $15 Utah senior (62 or older)
  • $10 motorcycle
  • $4 per person for vehicles with 9 or more people
  • $4 per person bike in or walk in


A view along the East Rim Trail Dead Horse Point Utah

A view along the East Rim Trail Dead Horse Point Utah


Camping  and Yurts at Dead Horse State Park

Campsite fees are $35 – $40 per night and INCLUDE the park fee for one vehicle

Looking for less primitive accommodation at Dead Horse Point State Park? You can rent a yurt that has heating and air-conditioning for $140 per night. It includes a bunk bed with double mattress on top and queen on bottom but it’s BYOB – Bring Your Own Bedding.

Sorry, no furbabies allowed :/

Campsite and yurt reservations call 1-800-322-3770 or get online reservations, up to four months prior to your arrival date.

Leave me a comment below if you have any questions about visiting Dead Horse State Park. Enjoy roadtripping in Utah!


Dead Horse Point and the Colorado River at the Dead Horse Point State Park

A stunning view of Dead Horse Point and the Colorado River


Dead Horse Point Rim Trail

Basin Overlook at Dead Horse Point East Rim Trail


Read related articles to help you plan your trip to Utah

Grand View Point Trail – Easy Hike at Canyonlands

Double Arch Trail Short Easy Hike to Spectacular Arches

Capitol Reef National Park Utah’s Least Visited National Park

Visit Cedar Breaks for Hiking in Beautiful Southern Utah

Kanarra Falls Utah Slot Canyon Hike to Waterfalls via Narrows

5 Easy Hikes in Zion National Park

Timber Creek Overlook Trail Zion National Park Kolob Canyon

Bryce Canyon One Day Itinerary


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Dead Horse Point Day Trip from Moab Utah

Epic Views of Colorado River at Dead Horse Point State Park Utah

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Jim Sanders

Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

Like you said Great place to visit.Thanks for the posting and write up.

Susan Moore

Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

Jim, Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the article :) Cheers, Susan

Susan L Woods

Thursday 30th of January 2020

If you aren't afraid of narrow roads, and heights, be sure to take the Shafer Trail on the opposite side of Dead Horse Point. Just drive slowly. It is So Cool.

Susan Moore

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Susan, thanks for your comment. Lucky you, Shafer Trail looks like a fun drive! I did see Shafer Trail at Canyonlands, but only from the overlook. You need 4 wheel drive to do Shafer Trail so my little Toyota Yaris is not eligible. I met some people that did drive the Shafer Trail and they said it was great, around 3 hours total time I think. Do you remember how long it took you to drive down and back? Cheers, Susan

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