Dead Horse Point Trails – Easy Riding and Incredible Sights
Cindy had visited Dead Horse Point State Park the last time we were in Moab. Her description of the park made me want to see it this time. I was not sure if there were any trails to ride but I brought the bike along just in case.
When we arrived I was pleased to find out that a whole bunch of trails had been built for hikers and bikers, some so new they were not even listed on the kiosk map. New maps were available (for free) at the visitor center.
INTERACTIVE MAP FOR Dead Horse Point
- Click the Blue “P” for driving directions to the trailhead.
- Click Tracks or Icons for More Specific Information.
Before starting my ride we drove out onto Dead Horse Point, which is kind of a balloon shaped peninsula … flat on top, with a narrow section. While walking from the parking lot to the overlook I read a sign which told me how the point got its name. A bunch of horses actually died out there.
The Name … Dead Horse Point
The story goes like this … cattle ranchers rounded up a herd of wild stallions and drove them onto the point, then constructed a wood fence across the narrows. The horses could not escape as they were surrounded by 1,000 foot cliffs (except at the narrows, where they were blocked by the fence). Then ranchers would remove horses from the point as they needed them for working the cattle. But for some reason the ranchers left some of the horses out on the point too long without water … and they died.
Dead Horse Point is famous for the view of the basin below and the Colorado River. I have seen many photos in books where the Colorado River flows at the base of steep bluffs and forms real tight switchbacks, with turns of more than 180 degrees. As soon as I looked out from the cliffs I realized Dead Horse Point was where those photos were taken.
White Rim Trail Below
While looking down we saw some bike riders and autos on a trail near the river (White Rim Trail) that looked smaller than ants. I completely zoomed-in my camera and took pictures of them, but they were still too small to identify on the photos.
From the point we were also provided a clear view of the potash ponds to the east. Potash (used in fertilizers) is mined and dissolved in water, pumped into some shallow ponds (allowing the water to evaporate), and then harvested from the bottom of the ponds and shipped out. We ate our lunch on a rock overlooking these ponds.
Just below you will find some more of the photos I took while out on the point, photos I took before actually starting my ride.
Intrepid Trail System
After lunch we drove back to the visitor center, where I started my ride on the “Intrepid Trail System.” By connecting 8 (of the 9 possible) trails I was able to ride a 14.2 mile loop. The trails were in great shape, well signed, not technical, and almost completely flat. I believe most beginners could hack this ride!
I started on Intrepid, then did Great Pyramid, Big Chief, Crossroads, Whiptail, Twisted Tree, Prickly Pair, then just Prickly, and returned to Intrepid. All trails except Crossroads offered views from the canyon rim. Bike racks were provided at some places where a short hike was necessary to reach the canyon’s edge.
I would definitely recommend Dead Horse Point to anyone interested in some easy riding and taking in some incredible sights. Some of you hard core riders might find it a little boring … but I found the ride aesthetically rewarding.
Oh, and Cindy thinks I am crazy for writing this … the tile work in the Dead Horse Point bathroom was awesome … lots of Native American colors and patterns!
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured … 72 photos in all, please visit my Photo Gallery Site.