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4 activities to enjoy in Dead Horse Point State Park

4 activities to enjoy in Dead Horse Point State Park

(Dead Horse Point State Park)


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MOAB — Although named after a sad legend, Dead Horse Point State Park offers a variety of outdoors activities and is known for its gorgeous views.

Located 30 miles from Arches National Park and 10 miles from Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park was established as a state park in 1959, according to park manager Megan Blackwelder. The park is located on a mesa top, and although it’s only 5,300 acres, it offers amazing views of Canyonlands and the Colorado River, Blackwelder said.

“I think the biggest thing that draws visitors from all over the world to Dead Horse Point is the views,” Blackwelder said. “It’s just super scenic. It’s amazing.”

According to legend, early ranchers in the area would use the peninsula as a horse corral by allowing the natural cliffs to serve as a fence, Blackwelder said. Ranchers would round up the wild mustangs that lived on the mesa and fence them in on the end of the peninsula. The ranchers would select the best horses and let the rest go. However, one time, some of the animals were allegedly left in the corral and died as a result of the lack of water on the peninsula, according to legend.

Blackwelder said that is how the state park got its name.

“Sometimes people don’t like our sad little legend, but we have to remind them that it’s a legend,” she said.

Blackwelder said even though the park is busy during the summer, drawing more than 300,000 visitors each year, it still gives people the opportunity to enjoy the solitude of the desert by getting off the “beaten path.”

Here are some of the activities available in Dead Horse Point National Park:

Hiking

Although the most famous view on the Dead Horse Point peninsula can be reached by vehicle, Blackwelder said hiking provides other more remote views in the park. The park has eight miles of hiking trails available.

While Canyonlands and Arches don’t allow pets, Blackwelder said Dead Horse Point does allow dogs on the hiking trails and campgrounds as long as they are on a leash.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking trails were added in the park in 2009 and now 17 miles of single track trails are available. Blackwelder said the majority of the Intrepid Trail System is for intermediate riders, but sections of the trails are find for beginner mountain bikers.

Photo credit: Dead Horse Point State Park

Yurts

Three yurts were opened in the park in October 2014 and have been very popular, Blackwelder said. The yurts each include a wrap-around deck that offers beautiful views of the area. Each yurt also includes a BBQ grill for guests.

Photo credit: Dead Horse Point State Park

Camping

The park also has one campground with 21 sites. Each site is equipped with electrical hookups for campers or trailers, Blackwelder said. The campground area also has a restroom with flushing toilets “which is a big deal around here,” Blackwelder said, laughing.

Photo credit: Dead Horse Point State Park

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Faith Heaton Jolley

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