Dead Horse Point Loop

Moab and Arches
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Dead Horse Point Loop

Distance: 8.3km
Elevation: 144m
Time: 2-2.5

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.5 Overall Rating
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Straight from the trailhead, this scenically dense hike puts you in the heart of the action. Expect fantastic views down to the winding Colorado River and across the expansive valley to the La Sal Mountains throughout the entire route.

Getting there

Head north from downtown Moab along route 191 for 17.7km, crossing the Colorado River. Turn left onto the 313 West, but watch out, this intersection comes up fast! Drive along this highway for just under 24.1km, then turn left to continue along route 313 towards Dead Horse State Park. In a couple miles you will arrive at the park gate, where you have to pay the entrance fee. Continue along the same road until you reach the visitor centre on the left, where the parking lot is also located.

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About

When to do

Year Round

Backcountry Campsites

Yes

Toilets

Yes

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate to High

Route Type

Circuit


Elevation


Detailed Description

Before starting the hike you can replenish your supplies in the visitor centre. Grab a soda, snack or a souvenir for the hike. We also recommend talking to a park ranger here, who can provide you with the most up to date trail conditions and helpful tips for the hike. The route itself begins on the opposite side of the visitor centre from the parking lot, signposted as the East Rim trail. Head south along the East Rim Trail towards Dead Horse Point.

The trail here is almost entirely flat, tightly hugging the edge of the large rock peninsula – known as Dead Horse Point. To your left you see sheer cliffs running down 610m to the valley bottom, meeting up with a gooseneck in the Colorado River. To the right, a handful of resilient plants hang onto the red dirt, populating the otherwise desolate and flat plain.

The point received its name when it was used as a natural corral for cowboy’s horses. Many horses were left stranded out on the point and died of dehydration and exposure – ironically all within view of the Colorado River below.

As the trail continues, you will soon reach Dead Horse Point, the apex of the hike. From here you will truly be granted unparalleled 360-degree views of mountains, canyons, towers, cliffs and the mighty Colorado River. There is a shaded picnic area at the point, as well as washroom. Take care when leaning over the edge to snap photos, as the exposure is severe! That being said, along most of the East Rim there is a manmade wall railing to keep you safe.

The West Rim Trail picks up where the East Rim left off, continuing around the point for another couple miles. At times the West Rim’s trail is more difficult to follow than the East Rim, but cairns and other small trail markers aid the process. There are two points along the path where you can divert to go to viewpoints, but these junctions are extremely well signposted. Check out these diversions if you have the energy.

Finally the trail will veer right, completing the loop and bringing you back to the visitor centre. You will pass by the Dead Horse Point campground as you near the lodge.

Insider Hints

  • The park road continues all the way to Dead Horse Point. If you want a shorter hike we recommend just doing the East Rim, and shuttling a car between the visitor centre and the point.

  • There are several popular mountain bike trails accessed from the visitor centre. If you are keen to shred, look into bringing or renting bikes as another option for exploring the gorgeous scenery.

Comments

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Giedre2 weeks ago

We've loved this spot as we didn't expect to find the canyon next to Moab and it was nothing like the Arches. The overlook was amazing

10.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Wyatt Thomas2 weeks ago

Dead Horse Point was a nice trail.

8.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Otis3 weeks ago

Dead horse point is on the opposite side from Moab than Arches but worth giving some time as it has a great overview of the canyon

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
1h 00m Time Taken
SteffWilk3 weeks ago

Dead horse point is a nice walk and it really gives you the opportunity to see the amazing canyons. They are spectacular.

9.0 Overall Rating
Physical Difficulty
MaggieRoy3 weeks ago

A great point to have a look at the Canyon.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
1h 30m Time Taken
Burokai3 weeks ago

Amazing overview. Mind that your annual pass won't work in Dead Horse Point so you'll have to pay the entry fee (15-25usd, don't remember) but I'm glad we did as we saw the other side of the canyon. It was nothing like I've ever seen. The hike itself is more of a walk where you can make it as short as you want (going straight to the point) and family friendly (if you can keep your kids of the steep sides)

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 00m Time Taken
6 Comments

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