Dead Horse Point overlook at sunset
The story of how Dead Horse Point got its name is just as grisly as the name implies. According to local lore, wild mustangs were corralled along the edge of the cliff, where the prime horses were broken and tamed, while the castoffs were left in the corral to eventually die.
I have no idea if that’s a true story. My sister read it to me from a guidebook, so you know, it must be true.
Today, Dead Horse Point is part of a Utah state park that bears its name. You get there from Moab by taking the same road that leads to Canyonlands National Park.
Here’s how the Utah State Parks website describes it:
From the prominence of Dead Horse Point, 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River, an ever changing landscape unfurls. Immense vertical cliffs meet with canyons carved by ice, water and wind creating a visual masterpiece. Plants and animals surviving on the edge of existence face many challenges of extreme conditions within this high desert environment.
We visited Dead Horse Point at sunset, though another photographer told us that it makes a good sunrise photo, as well. It’s pretty easy to get to, you just follow the signs off of U.S. 191 onto State Road 313 to the park. There’s a $10 entry fee for a car of up to eight passengers.
There’s no hiking involved. You get out of your car and you’re on the overlook. There’s an observation boardwalk along the edge of the canyon but if you go past the north end of the viewing area, you can climb down to a spot that allows you to get pretty close to the edge.
I can only imagine how many people have fallen or jumped to their deaths from the cliff. I thought about that as I stood a few feet from the edge. I had already made up my mind that if my tripod accidentally toppled forward, I would just wave goodbye to my camera gear, rather than give the state of Utah a reason to rename the area “Dead Stupid Tourist Point.”
That’s me as close to the edge as I wanted to get / Photo by Derek Lukasik
Photo of Dead Horse Point overlooking the Colorado River by Joe Newman Want to order a print? Click here.