With a region that boasts two National Parks and countless other adventures, Dead Horse Point State Park often gets overlooked. Moab is an adventurer’s paradise, and one of my favorite little towns in the United States. Of course, Arches National Park and to a lesser degree, Canyonlands National Park get the most attention from travelers passing through. When people are short on time, some of the adventures have to be glossed over. Usually, Dead Horse Point State Park gets the short end of the stick.
I’ll be as honest as I can with this post, as I know other bloggers tend to write glowing reviews about everything. I enjoyed my time at Dead Horse Point State Park, although it was brief and undeniably less bang for your buck than the national parks. If you’re only in Moab for the weekend, it may not be at the top of your priorities.
Is Dead Horse Point State Park Worth Visiting? The Breakdown
Entrance Fee For Dead Horse Point State Park
$20. For a 3-day pass into Dead Horse Point State Park, it costs $20 to enter with a vehicle. This is a very reasonable cost for multi-day campers or trekkers, but for those taking a day trip, it can be a little off-putting. Even as a budget traveler, shelling out $80 for an annual national parks pass is a no-brainer. $20 for a few hours at a state park? I didn’t know too much about Dead Horse Point State Park, so I was a bit hesitant. I visited Arches three times and Canyonlands once before finally deciding to just go with it.
In short, $20 is absolutely worth it if you’re planning on spending a few days in the state park. If you’re just driving through for a couple of hours, you get less bang for your buck. If you’ve got a crew of three or four people, that $20 becomes a lot more affordable, since you are charged per vehicle and not per person. That goes for vehicles of up to eight people, so it could be literally only just $2.50 per person.
Difficulty of Getting to Dead Horse Point State Park
You can pull off into Arches National Park right from the highway. Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point on the other hand require a pretty remote drive on Island in the Sky road for about half an hour. You won’t find any restaurants, gas stations, or other services once you pull off the highway. Cell signal will also be much harder to come by. Dead Horse Point State Park itself is very developed. It has well-established campsites, visitor centers, picnic areas, and more facilities littered throughout the park.
If you’re already planning on visiting Canyonlands National Park, then Dead Horse Point is just a quick detour away. If the $20 entrance fee is not significant to you, I see no reason not to stop by, even for just a couple of hours.
There’s only one main paved road, so if you want to explore more of the park, you’ll want an AWD vehicle and be comfortable with off roading a bit. In fact, most of the best adventures at Dead Horse Point State Park can be found off the beaten path. The dirt roads were a bit too daunting for my front-wheel-drive Chevy Cruze, but it seemed like a playground for Jeeps and trucks. There are actually quite a few places in Moab where you can just straight up rent a Jeep. You might want to consider that if you want to maximize your time at Dead Horse Point State Park.
Activities at Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park is great for campers, hikers, mountain bikers, and other outdoorsy adventurers. Based on the map given to us at the entrance gate, it seemed like paradise for mountain bikers. There were many more mountain biking trails than paved roads or easily accessible hiking trails.
A popular hike for day-trippers would be the 5.5 mile East Rim – West Rim hike that starts and ends at the Visitor Center. We spent most of our time at Dead Horse Point just driving around in the car and doing portions of the hikes around the rim. It’s a beautiful hike, although you don’t really need to do all 5.5 miles of the trail. Some of the highlights of the hike around the rim are Dead Horse Point Overlook, Meander Overlook, and The Neck. These will give you some stunning views of the park from 2,000 feet above the Colorado River.
There are also a number of campgrounds at Dead Horse Point State Park if you want to stay in the park itself. The park is pretty developed, so you’ll have all of the facilities that you can expect from a national parks campground. Campgrounds vary from primitive to glamping, like the yurts just a mile from the park entrance. Here’s a list of campgrounds at Dead Horse Point State Park.
Final Verdict: Is Dead Horse Point State Park Worth Visiting?
It’s a yes from me. Sometimes, I write like I have 7 cents to my name, but honestly, $20 isn’t that much even if you just planned on driving through and hitting the breathtaking overlooks. On the other hand, that’s two carne asada burritos from Giliberto’s, so choose wisely.
Dead Horse Point State Park has a name that’s impossible to ignore and scenery that’s impossible to forget. For mountain bikers, multi-day trekkers, and overnight campers, the value is undeniable. Dead Horse Point State Park may not have the title of national park, but that doesn’t make it any less awe-inspiring.
Have you ever been to Dead Horse Point State Park? What did you think?