Dead Horse Point State Park

December 19, 2014  •  7 Comments

          The Legend of Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point is a peninsula of rock atop sheer sandstone cliffs. The peninsula is connected to the mesa by a narrow strip of land called the neck. There are many stories about how this high promontory of land received its name.

According to one legend, around the turn of the century the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top. Cowboys rounded up these horses, herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck, which is only 30-yards-wide, was then fenced off with branches and brush. This created a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs straight down on all sides, affording no escape. Cowboys then chose the horses they wanted and let the culls or broomtails go free. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below.

Sandstone CliffsApple iPhone 6 plus: 4.15mm f/2.2: ISO: 32 1/2300 @ f/2.2

A visit to Dead Horse Point State Park is planned every time I visit Moab, Utah.  The scenic beauty although surrounded by the sadness of its mysterious legend always calls me back atop its sandstone cliffs.
I have experienced all four seasons here, Winter being my favorite.  The Colorado River seemed more green in color with ice chunks meandering down around its horseshoe bend.  Cold can not adequately describe what it feels like to be standing out on the point at sunrise on a frigid January morning, but having the jeep a few hundred feet away certainly kept me from becoming a frozen statue.
Thunder accompanied me several times and I was able to snap this shot of him on his first visit.   And yes, it's a 2000 foot drop to the right of where he's sitting.  My mom was terrified when I showed her this picture but I had either trained him very well or he was frozen in fear.  Either way, he made it back alive.
I thought one of my first images taken here in 1997 was the best I could achieve until this recent trip where I had Mother Natures cooperation with her spectacular display of cloud formations.  There are many different shooting angles and subject matter of interest on the peninsula, all within a short walk of the parking lot.

        Not many people visit here, instead the pass by on their way to Canyonlands National Park.  I think the $10 daily entrance fee is steep for this           state park but the view is worth a million.

Mushroom RocksNikon D800: Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8: ISO: 200 1/500 @ f/8.0

The next time you visit Arches or Canyonlands (Island in the Sky District) National Parks, plan on stopping by Dead Horse Point.  You will be glad you did.



Beautiful! I really need to prioritize seeing the southwestern U.S.!
That is a beautiful part of the country John. We came down through the area to visit Best Friends outside of Kanab. That is a fantastic place as well, check out www.Best Never heard of Dead Horse Point, maybe we'll give it a try soon. Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!
Thanks for sharing John.
That part of the country is no doubt geologically spectacular.
eldon & bonny(non-registered)
Spectacular, as always, John. We remember being there along with you
and your Mom. Still beautiful!
Keith and Sharon Gundy(non-registered)
Now that we have our Forever passes, we'll visit them all!
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