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Dead Horse Point State Park

Utah, USA


Dead Horse Point State Park is a state park of Utah, USA, featuring a dramatic overlook of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. The park covers 5,362 acres (21.70 km2) of high desert at an altitude of 5,900 feet (1,800 m). Dead Horse Point was named by early Mormon pioneers for a rock formation at the base of the plateau. It is clearly visible and looks like a dead white horse lying on its side.

The plateau is surrounded by sheer cliffs 2,000 feet (610 m) high with only a narrow neck of land 30 yards (27 m) wide connecting the mesa to the main plateau. Thus it was easy for cowboys to simply fence off this narrow neck, and keep rounded up wild horses from running away. Legend has it that one group of horses was inadvertently left fenced in and eventually died of thirst.

The park has several overlooks, a visitor center, a 21-site campground and a group campsite, one picnic area, and a 9-mile (14 km) loop hiking trail with two cutovers to allow shorter trips. Safety concerns include the relative isolation of the park (gas, food and medical care are over 30 miles (48 km) away in Moab), lightning danger and unfenced cliffs. While nearby Moab is a noted center for mountain biking, bikes in the park are only allowed on paved roads. Hunting is not allowed in the park.