We stopped at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah during our September/October 2020 road trip. We left Canyonlands and swung by on our way back to Moab. It is about 15 minutes from Canyonlands and 45 minutes from Moab. Although admission surprised us at $20 per car for a state park, we had seen so many photos of this park that we wanted to check it out. All in all I would say this is one of those places that it was nice to go to but we don’t have to go again.
Our photos are very disappointing due to forrest fire smoke from California during this time.
Dead Horse Point State Park is above the Colorado River and you can see beautiful views of the gooseneck in the River below. It gets its name from Cowboys who in the late 1800’s chased wild mustangs onto Dead Horse Point through the narrow neck for the purpose of corralling the mustangs. Once corralled, the horses could be tamed by breaking them and then sold. As the story goes, one time the horses were left on the point without water and died of thirst. Thus the name, Dead Horse Point.
Solar Evaporation Ponds
We parked the car and decided to look around and catch the views. One of the first things we noticed were ponds of baby blue at the bottom of the canyon. Obviously, these were not natural ponds. Eventually, as we walked along we came across a sign that explained these odd blue ponds.
These ponds are called Solar Evaporation bonds and are used for a mine owned by Intrepid Potash, Inc. Potash is actually potassium chloride which is mined for fertilizer from what is called the Paradox Formation. In this area salt was deposited from ancient seas and made up this formation. As the water evaporated, the salt was deposited and subsequently buried by other particles. Water is pumped into this formation to dissolve the salt and then pumped out into these vinyl lined ponds. In addition, blue dye is added to the slurry to speed up the evaporation as it absorbs the sunshine. The ponds become shallow as evaporation occurs. This salt is harvested and made into fertilizer.
Dead Horse Point
We decided to walk around the rim of the canyon to the Dead Horse Point area which is commonly photographed. The trail is well kept and easy to follow. Unfortunately, we picked the wrong time of the day to go as far as photography was considered. Being late afternoon, the sun was too low in the horizon for good shots. Sunset was still an hour or so away and we did not want to wait for it. we were tired after a big day in Canyonlands. Few people were here which was nice, but as we were leaving and it was getting closer to sunset, more people were showing up. We noticed a lot of Instagramers and photographers with fancy dresses and props for photoshoots.
Dead Horse Point State Park is all in all a nice park. We enjoyed an hour or so here. I think going once was great but probably not a place I would return to again and again. Although I would definitely stop if you are in Canyonlands and have the time.