Dead Horse Point State Park Hiking Trails

Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah is a must-stop destination to visit, photograph and explore.

There are about seven miles of Dead Horse Point State Park hiking trails to enjoy the stunning scenery!

Hiking is the best way to explore the park.

Use this list of hiking trails at Dead Horse Point State Park to plan your itinerary!

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Check out our tips and packing list for hiking with kids!

DOWNLOAD our Day Hike Packing List

Hiking Shoes – Injuries from improper footwear is a common problem that casual visitors and hikers encounter. To make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible, avoid smooth-soled shoes and only wear sturdy shoes with ample tread. 

Check out the Merrell Moab hiking shoes we use.

Hydration and Food – Due to the high desert and altitude in Moab, you should drink at least one gallon of water per day, and always carry water with you during all hiking activities.

Eat plenty of healthy snacks and food.

→ We use Camelbak hydration packs or carry Hydroflask bottles in our packs.

Lip Balm and Lotion – Utah’s high elevation and dry air can be hard on your skin. You’ll want to carry lip balm with sunscreen and hydrating lotion to apply as needed when you’re out exploring the trails.

Clothing – Summers in the Moab area mean soaring temperatures, unrelenting sunlight, and low humidity. To keep cool, wear light colored wicking clothing with UV protection. Also avoid sun burn by wearing a wide brimmed hat and by generously applying sunscreen to any parts of your body that are exposed to the sun.

During the winter, wearing the right clothing is important to stay dry and warm. Take note that snow and ice can accumulate and make popular trails quite slippery. That’s why trekking poles and traction devices for your shoes are essential. It’s also just as easy to become dehydrated in the cold as it is in the heat. It’s important to carry plenty of water during the winter, and not just during the summer.

Other items we recommend:

List of Dead Horse Point State Park Hiking Trails

This Utah State Park is located near Moab, Utah near the entrance to Canyonlands Island in the Sky.

The hiking trails at Dead Horse Point run along the top of the mesa and connect to each other.

Because of uneven slick rock, sturdy footwear is highly recommended. 

Dogs are allowed on hiking trails, but must be kept on a leash at all times.

Dead Horse Point Overlook Trail

Hike Length: 200 feet one way

Hike Difficulty: Easy

The Dead Horse Point Overlook trail is the main attraction at the park.

From the parking lot, there’s a short paved pathway that takes you to the famous view of the bend in the Colorado River 2,000 feet below.

There is a large covered shelter at the overlook where you can sit, relax and get relief from bad weather or harsh sun.

The paved pathway leads in both directions from the shelter, providing additional viewpoints that link up with both the East and West Rim trail systems.

Keep in mind the primary overlook and shade shelter are accessible, but the eastern and western spur trails are not.

The trails have steep inclines and short sections of rough slick rock integrated with the pavement.

Visitor Center Nature Trail

Hike length: ⅛ mile round-trip 

Hike Difficulty: Easy

The visitor center at Dead Horse Point is the starting point for this trail

There are eight exhibits and other interpretive signs along the trail that overlook the eastern view.

You’ll find information about the common desert plants and trees that you’ll see in the park.

Be sure to read about the bright-colored evaporation ponds at the bottom of the canyon that are used in the mining of salt and potash.

The Colorado River Overlook

Hike length: 1 mile round trip

Hike Difficulty: Easy 

The Colorado River Overlook Trail winds north from the visitor center and leads hikers toward the east rim.

You will hike over uneven slickrock, and during wet weather you may see large seasonal pools of water.

When going back to the visitor center, all you have to do is retrace your steps. 

The East Rim Trail System

Hike length: 1.5 miles one way

Hike Difficulty: Easy

Dead Horse Point hiking east rim

The East Rim Trail starts at the visitor center and follows the eastern rim of the mesa to Dead Horse Point for 1.5 miles. It’s a fun alternative to driving the main road.

You’ll see a landscape of beautiful red rocks toward Arches National Park and the La Sal Mountains.

Extend the hike by adding another half-mile to the Basin Overlook spur. The side trail drops about 100 feet where you’ll see more secluded views of the canyon below.

Another way to extend the hike is to add the West Rim Trail for a total of 4-miles (or more). It’s a fun half-day adventure that begins and ends at the visitor center.

The West Rim Trail System

Hike length: 2.5 to 3.5 miles one way 

Hike Difficulty: Moderate

Dead Horse Point Marlboro Point

The West Rim is the longest hike at Dead Horse Point.

Start at the visitor center, cross the road, pass briefly through the campground then follow the cliffs along the western boundary of the park.

This trail is more primitive because it’s less traveled than the East Rim.

It’s important to follow the cairn-marked routes over exposed sections of sandstone and slick rock.

If you want to add more to the hike, there are spur trails to see different views of the canyon below: Meander, Shafer, and Rim overlook trails.

The Bighorn Overlook Trail

Hike length: 3 miles round trip

Hike Difficulty: Easy

The Bighorn Overlook Trail is the longest spur off the West Rim Trail. It branches off to the north near the campground.

It’s an isolated spur trail, so you may enjoy the trail all to yourself!

The views here rival those of Dead Horse Point itself, and really should be considered a destination of its own.

Look for the eroded fin in the distance resembling a pair of horns, this is the reason for the overlook’s name.

This route also follows cairns across slick rock, along with short sections of moderate cliff exposure. There are no guardrails at the overlook so be careful and watch children.


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