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.
Canyonlands National Park
Elephant Hill Road, Canyonlands, Oct 2020
Hike the Joint Trail, Canyonlands, Oct 2020
Jeeping the White Rim Road, Canyolands Sept, 2020
Aztec Butte, Canyonlands, Sept 2020
Grand View Point and Grand View Hike, Sept 2020
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands, Utah, Sept 2020
Zion National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Hiking the Navajo and Peek-A-Boo trail in Bryce Canyon, Oct 2020
Sunrise and Sunset at Bryce Canyon, Utah, Oct 2020
Escalante National Monument
Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons, Oct 2020
Arches National Park
Sunset at Arches National Park, Utah, Sept 2020
29 thoughts on “Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah”
Thx for the history
Thanks for reading
Beautiful rugged scenery nonetheless. Too bad about the fire smoke. I love how some of these places get their names. We have a river in B.C. called the Kicking Horse River, because James Hector, a member of the Palliser Expedition was kicked by his packhorse. Stay well Lori and Happy Thanksgiving. Allan
Love the stories behind names of places!! Take care! Lori
I take from your post that it is better to go there at sunset time. Too bad your experience wasn’t the best. Thanks for the advice.
I think the sunset would be beautiful! I also think had we went in the morning we would have also been able to shoot good photos with the sun behind us! Thanks for reading!!
Despite the California fires, the photos still look stunning! Again, I hope to visit this beautiful part of the West Coast someday. Perhaps soon! Thanks for continuing to share. 🙂
Thanks for reading! It is such a beautiful place!!
I went at sunset last year, it was beautiful. I believe sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit this park.
I bet that was stunning!!!!
Your photos are not disappointing. You are just disappointed because of the smokey haze. But heck, Lori, you recorded history in an ancillary way involving historic wildfires in the western states. Having worked at a variety of publications over the last few decades I have come to the realization that yes, I sometimes wished images taken could have been better, but they in and of themselves told the story. Perfection is always a great thing to strive for, but you do what you can. Looking for great fall foliage? Last week was better. Just saying. One can never out guess Mother Nature. jerry
What a great way to think of this, Jerry! Very true! Instead off being disappointed because the photos didn’t look like I expected I will remember the story they tell!! Thanks! Lori
I learn new things, dear ! Wonderful ! Thank you, Lori. Pictures are great. I’m with Jerry on this !
Thank you for once again. Take care yall !
Thanks for reading and sharing! I also like Jerry’s view on this!!
And, of course, Liked & Shared !
And Flipped to the Travel Mag : https://flip.it/Tj2yi9
Excellent post with plenty of info.
Also the scenery, looks really stunning!
I actually thought these photos looked amazing and the smoky haze sort of added to the mystique, I would love to go there thank you for sharing 😊
Thank you! I should embrace the positive!!
Utah has some amazing national parks. Glad you’ve gotten to see some.
It is an amazing place!!
“… nice but we don’t have to go again.” That’s how I feel about Vegas!! Ha ha!
We had plans to visit this park in July on our road trip, but ended up skipping that area of Utah altogether due to the intense heat in the Moab area. We fled earlier than expected to cooler Colorado. We’ll definitely get out there again though, and DHPSP is on the list. Beautiful pictures. Too bad the Instagrammers are going to ruin their gorgeous pictures by putting themselves in the shots with their ridiculous dresses!
I guess that didn’t sound the best. Was trying to say we liked it but not like some places where we would return over and over! Instagrammers are why we didn’t stay for sunset. They were setting up way before sunset and basically “claiming their territory”. I guess I put photos on Instagram too but never go to elaborate measures or stay for a long time and block others. I know I am probably sounding judge but we have had issues in the past with some although they are not all bad. Last year in Colorado , after waiting over 10 minutes I asked an Instagrammer if she would mind moving so I could take just a couple of photos. She smiled and said “sure” then she struck a pose front and center. I said, “no, I don’t want a photo of you, I want a photo of the waterfall”. She moved although looked very disappointed but other people around, also trying to get a shot, thought the exchange was pretty funny!! Again, not all are like that but I do find some humor in it all!!
Thanks for the background and history — I often wonder how parks get named, and this one sounds interesting. Your photos are great, as always. And now I’d like a return trip to this state since we missed this one!
Utah is such a wonderful state! We need to make a return trip as well as we feel we missed a lot!
Wonderful geological landscape!
It is an interesting place!