Long Canyon Road and Dead Horse Point State Park

Moab, UT

There are two popular Jeep roads that lead west from the Colorado River across a flat desert, then sharply up the side of a canyon to a large mesa.  Our last post described one of those roads,  the Shafer Canyon Road.  Yesterday we took the other route, Long Canyon Road.  A short distance up the road, a Jeep coming at us stopped to tell us that about twenty three wheeled motorcycles were coming behind them.  Since it is a one lane road, we quickly found a spot to pull off the road and wait for the bikes to pass.

The bikes turned out to be Urals,  Russian-made bikes with permanently attached side cars and two-wheel drive (the rear wheel and the side car wheel).

After the motorcycle parade, we continued up the canyon where we came upon a huge boulder with the road running under it.

Soon after going under the rock the road narrowed as we went up a narrow canyon.

Then,we went sharply up through a couple of switchbacks.

Once on the top of the mesa, we were treated to great views of the canyons below.

We drove a few miles south into Dead Horse Point State Park.  Looking down from the mesa rim near the park visitor’s center, we were able to see another mesa below us that was the location of the final scene from the movie “Thelma and Louise.”

We left the Jeep parked near the visitor’s center and hiked two miles along the mesa rim to Dead Horse Point.  The “point” is a plateau surrounded by sheer cliffs 2,000 feet high with only a narrow neck of land 30 yards wide connecting the mesa to the main plateau. This made it easy for cowboys in the late 1800s to use the point as a natural corral by simply fencing off the narrow neck and keep rounded up wild horses from running away.  Legend has it that one group of horses was inadvertently left fenced in and eventually died of thirst.  A variation in the legend says that the fence was taken down, but the wild horses would not leave the point and eventually died of thirst.

Dead Horse Point

One section of the point has an outstanding view of a horseshoe bend in the Colorado River far below.  We found a spot on the rocky rim and enjoyed a snack while taking in the view.

The return hike was on the other side of the mesa, so we were treated to all new vistas.

Like Canyonlands NP just to the south, Dead Horse Point State Park has great views of the canyons and mesas below it.  There is a campground in the park, but hiking is limited to the loop trail we did around the point.  Like Amanda commented in our last blog, this is one of  those adventures where the journey was more exciting than the destination.

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11 Responses to Long Canyon Road and Dead Horse Point State Park

  1. Lisa says:

    More neat sights! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the ride for we know we cant make it with our car.

  3. rjrvtravels says:

    Beautiful drive. Do you know about the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands? We did that in a jeep years ago and then I did a 3 day Mountain Bike ride of the trail.

    • placestheygo says:

      We did see the White Rim Trail. Looks like a great road. But it would have been a very long day trip and we are out of time. Next time we visit this area I’d like to drive it. Thanks!

  4. Amanda says:

    We took Long Canyon Rd. on our way back from Canyonlands. Unlike you, we didn’t see any other vehicles on the road. We also stopped to take that same shot of our truck under the rock. Glad you mentioned Thelma & Louise. We have been wondering where the scene was shot.

  5. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    Awesome view of horseshoe bend!
    Can’t wait to take Pearl (our Jeep) on some of those trails!

  6. LuAnn says:

    Thanks for taking us places that few can go.

  7. New header….lovely!

    Oh what a cool picture of you driving under the boulder. Reminds me of us driving through the tree.

    I’ll say the road narrowed. Doesn’t look big enough even for your jeep.

    Dead Horse Point has some lovely vistas. Another day of living the good life.

  8. Erin says:

    Simply amazing scenery … no other words are necessary! May have to rent a jeep for a day to do this one.

  9. Pingback: Campsite Lottery, Red Rock Hiking & Friends – Moab, UT | Wheeling It

  10. Pingback: Campsite Lottery, Red Rock Hiking & Friends – Moab, UT | Wheeling It

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