2011 Southwestern USA travel blog

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT - Site E15

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT - Site E15, another view

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT - Site E15, and another

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT - Site E15, and still another

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT - Site E15, prickly pear blossom...

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT - Sunset one evening - looks...

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 0 - our route - 86 miles

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 1

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 2

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 3

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 4 - we visited here years ago -...

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 5

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 6

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 7 - the Colorado River just north of...

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 8

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 9

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 10

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 11

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 12

Monticello to DHPSP, UT 13 - are we there yet?

Dead Horse Point 1 - the Colorado River meander at Dead Horse...

Dead Horse Point 2 - more views from the Dead Horse Point...

Dead Horse Point 3

Dead Horse Point 4

Dead Horse Point 5

Dead Horse Point 6 - the potash ponds near Moab

Dead Horse Point 7

Dead Horse Point 8

Dead Horse Point 9 - the different layers of the formations and...

Dead Horse Point 10 - a few facts on the Colorado River

Dead Horse Point 11 - the point narrows here to just wider...

Canyonlands, Island District 1 - the switchbacks on the upper Shaefer Trail,...

Canyonlands, Island District 2 - the middle part of the Shaefer trail...

Canyonlands, Island District 3 - repairing a section of Shaefer Trail

Canyonlands, Island District 4 - this wildflower apparently blooms from the bottom...

Canyonlands, Island District 5 - the White Rim Mesa below us and...

Canyonlands, Island District 6 - more of the White Rim Mesa

Canyonlands, Island District 7 - the Green River a little closer

Canyonlands, Island District 8 - another view

Canyonlands, Island District 9 - part of the trail to the Upheaval...

Canyonlands, Island District 10 - more of the trail

Canyonlands, Island District 11 - the right side of the Upheaval Dome

Canyonlands, Island District 12 - the left side

Canyonlands, Island District 13 - yeah, there's a trail in there somewhere!

Canyonlands, Island District 14 - a yucca in bloom

Canyonlands, Island District 15 - more of the White Rim Mesa from...

Canyonlands, Island District 16 - notice the road going around the rim...

Canyonlands, Island District 17

Canyonlands, Island District 18

Canyonlands, Island District 19

Canyonlands, Island District 20

Canyonlands, Island District 21 - a prickly pear along the Mesa Arch...

Canyonlands, Island District 22 - another one with a very unusual multicolor...

Canyonlands, Island District 23 - the Mesa Arch

Canyonlands, Island District 24

Canyonlands, Island District 25 - view of the canyon and monuments through...

Canyonlands, Island District 26

Canyonlands, Island District 27 - the smallest yucca we have seen -...

Canyonlands, Island District 28 - unusual wildflower

Canyonlands, Island District 29 - very pretty with the pink tinges

Big Horn Overlook Trail 1 - a nice Pinyon Pine full of...

Big Horn Overlook Trail 2

Big Horn Overlook Trail 3 - we are a long way from...

Big Horn Overlook Trail 4 - not sure what this is but...

Big Horn Overlook Trail 5 - scenes from the overlook

Big Horn Overlook Trail 6

Big Horn Overlook Trail 7 - these are called potholes and have...

Big Horn Overlook Trail 8 - my Sugar next to the rim

Big Horn Overlook Trail 9 - and they call this a trail!!!


It was a fairly quick 86 mile trip Monday through winding roads and up and down, mostly down, grades to reach Dead Horse Point State Park, about 30 miles North and East of Moab. We are staying in the park campground which only has 21 sites and almost always requires reservations. We have 50 amps of electricity but no water or sewer. Satellite was a quick set up (nothing but very small trees) and we have very weak Verizon service. The site itself is beautiful with a very nice ramada adjacent to the site with grill, picnic table and wind screen. The only thing wrong with the site was the extremely tight access to back in and it is also very unlevel front to back as you can tell from the photos of the front. We required blocks under the tires and the jacks to get level.

Shortly after getting set up we went to the park's visitor center and got a trail map so we could see where we will be hiking. There is only one trail we will be taking so that will leave us plenty of time to go to the adjacent Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands national Park for a trail or two there.

Dead Horse Point got its name from the early days of wild horses in the area. The point has a very narrow neck, only about 40 feet wide, and the cowboys would herd the wild horses onto the point and then barricade the point with Utah Juniper branches across the narrow neck so that they could go through the wild horse herd and pick out the best horses without them running away. One time they forgot to tear down the barricade and the horses left behind died of thirst since there is no water on the point.

Tuesday we headed for the Northern portion of Canyonlands called the Island in the Sky District. Much of the canyons you see from the viewpoints there are similar to the Dead Horse Point since they are adjacent to each other but there were still some very good views of the White Rim Mesa and a few monuments we couldn't see from Dead horse Point. We also walked the trail to the Upheaval Dome. The trail was the toughest we have walked since the Red Canyon near Bryce. There are several theories for the formation of the dome from a meteorite strike to much more exotic theories including the explosion of a salt layer underneath the original layers of rock. We also walked the Mesa Arch trail which took us over a mountain and to the arch which gives some nice views of the canyon through it. The prickly pears were really bountiful on that trail but I took mercy on you and only included a very few pictures. :)

Wednesday we headed for the Big Horn Overlook Trail. The trail head was about a quarter mile trip from the campground and the trail itself about 2.5 miles round-trip over some very rough terrain. It was all in the open and the temperature is in the 90s today so it turned into a very hot hike. It did have some very nice views of the canyon when we got to the end which was on top of some slick rock looking down into the canyon. We do think they erred on the mileage however. The picture showing where the campground was on the hill showed it to be at least 1.5 miles as the crow flies so the trail itself had to be much farther than that. That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Thursday was relax day as we just stayed around the Mothership and cooled it (literally). We did take care of a few small maintenance items. It seems there is always something you could be doing. I am still having quite a bit of trouble with my arm so it limits a lot of the cleaning I would like to be doing on the outside. Tomorrow we head back into Moab for two, maybe three, nights to take in Arches National Park.

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