Utah: Dead Horse Point State Park loop 7.6km

The second hike for the day was a rim walk within Dead Horse Point State Park. Post the interrupted hiking at Devil’s Garden, Good Mrs and I both felt that we needed to add something else.

Dead Horse Point State Park is towering some 2,000 feet above the Colorado River and provides a panorama of the nearby Canyonlands National Park’s sculptured pinnacles and buttes.

By the way, can you believe it? During National Park Week when access to all national parks is free, we chose to visit a State Park. No, State Parks are not National Parks and entry fee here was $10.

So we drove the 40km or so from Arches National Park to Dead Horse Point Lookout where we parked the car. We were soon on our way.

At Dead Horse Point State Park, you can string together different shorter rim trails to create something longer. So that’s what we did. We hiked East Rim Trail to the Visitor’s Centre, then across to the western side and then West Rim Trail back to Dead Horse Point Lookout. Sort of like a triangle.

At Dead Horse Point Lookout, you have fantastic views over Colorado River.

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Well, you had fantastic views anywhere you looked over the edges.

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I, for one, would not step out there…

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Good Mrs and I were not quite sure what these things were at the time. However, we later found out later they were potash ponds. Potash is salts and potassium used in fertilisers. You learn something new every day.

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Just before you get to Dead Horse Point Lookout, you need to cross something that is simply called “Neck”. This is Neck and it is narrow.

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Well, it was a harsh weather day and it wasn’t over yet. The temperature was low and it was dropper. Cold it was. And then… Snowflakes. You may be able to see snowflakes against the green to the left in the picture below.

We just couldn’t believe it. Gale winds, sand storms and now snow. Not much and not for long but still…

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We popped into the Visitors Centre for a cup of hot chocolate and a bread roll. They had a whiteboard with park information and there you had it. All the signs of foul weather.

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All rugged up and still happy as Larry. What was there not to like? Awesome views and landscape.

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Colorado River again but now from the West Rim a bit further north.

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Given the Neck’s narrowness, the rim trails were next to the road. And if you didn’t know where you were, you could always read the sign.

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It turned out that the length of our Rim Trail at 7.6km was longer than my Devil’s Garden hike of 7.2km. Still, the two of them together added up to almost 15km of hiking today so that was at least something.

Good Mrs and I had enough of the cold weather after this. We drove back to our motel and hoped that the weather would improve the following day. The warm shower was fantastic…

Footnote:

Yes, I almost forgot. You, dear reader, may wonder about the Dead Horse name.

Well, Utah State Parks describes it as follows:

“According to one legend, cowboys in the 1800s used the point as a corral for wild mustangs. The cowboys rounded up the herd, pushed them across the 30-yard-wide neck of land and fenced the neck with tree branches and shrubs. Some of these horses were left corralled on the waterless point, where they died of thirst 2,000 feet above the Colorado River. Although wild horses no longer roam the mesa top, the area’s local name was kept when the park was established in 1959”.

Whatever the truth was, this story is as good as the next.

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