Dead Horse Point – Moab

Moab, UT

On Wednesday we set off early (for us) with Steve and MonaLiza (Lowe’s RV Adventures) to hike the rim trail in nearby Dead Horse Point State Park.  They don’t have a high clearance vehicle so we offered to drive and go up Long Canyon, a road we have done a number of times (see the Lathrop Canyon post from last week). To get to Long Canyon Road we drove north on Rte. 191 and turned left on to Rte. 279 (Potash Road), which runs right along the Colorado River on the left with a high cliff on the right.  About 13 miles up Potash Road we turned right at the Jug Handle Arch on to Long Canyon Road.

Jug Handle Arch

If you read the blog we did last week on the Lathrop Canyon when we also drove the Long Canyon, you may remember the road going under a huge boulder.  We found that, yes, it was still there (thanks MonaLiza for the photo).

You may also remember we said that in past drives up Long Canyon we found the road to be passable with most vehicles, but this year the area just above the boulder was in bad shape.  Apparently a Subaru Forester tried to drive the road but had some problems.

Abandon all Hope!

It looked to us as if the driver decided to back up with the intent of turning around, but drove a little close to the inside edge.  The car was abandoned, so apparently they didn’t have AAA towing.

Someone’s a bit “hung up”

We continued up into an area known as “Pucker Pass” where last week we needed to use four wheel drive to get past a rough area.

Looking up Pucker Pass (Steve goes ahead for photos)

Well, in the past week the road continued to deteriorate as more vehicles spun tires in the rough sections, creating deeper holes to drive through.  This trip we needed to use the low range feature of the Jeep, the first time we have ever needed it.  The Jeep walked right up through the two obstacles.  With the continuing deterioration, we will not be driving Long Canyon again during this visit (unless we hear they repaired this section).

The Jeep gives everything it has and does a great job!

Just a half mile past Pucker Pass we reached the top of the mesa and headed into Dead Horse Point State Park.

The park’s entrance attendants are a little laid back

Interesting bumper stickers at the visitor center

After stopping by the visitor center we headed out on the East Rim Trail, which goes out to the point with great views along the way.

Soon we came to the narrow neck of land that leads out to the “point” of Dead Horse Point State Park.  The “point” is a mesa 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 to keep rounded up wild horses from running away by simply fencing off the narrow neck.  One 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.

A viewpoint out on the point

The narrow ribbon below is our route home, the Shafer Canyon Road

The trail goes all the way around the rim of the point, providing great vistas in all directions.

Lunch with a view

After following the trail around the point and along the rim of the canyon we hiked back across to the other side of the mesa and returned to the visitor center.

Returning to the Jeep we drove into Canyonlands NP and turned on to the Shafer Canyon Road.

On the canyon rim along Shafer Canyon Road

As we meandered along the Shafer Canyon Road we could see our lunch spot at Dead Horse Point State Park far above us.

Dead Horse Point SP is at the top of the highest mesa

After a long day (over nine hours) of dirt roads and hiking, we returned to Moab tired and hungry.  The reward for all this effort was a great oatmeal stout and a burger at the Moab Brewery.  A great reward for a great adventure!

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41 Responses to Dead Horse Point – Moab

  1. Laurel says:

    What a fun day! Such an awesome hike, beautiful scenery and great friends. Although I must say, Eric and I both cringed at the photos of the Subaru high-centered on those rocks. I think you know why. :-))

  2. Maxxtrails says:

    It may have been a tough drive for the jeep but those pictures of the road are amazing, as are all the other pictures!

  3. Sue says:

    Once again, amazing pictures of an amazing place. Except, I wish you wouldn’t stand so close to the edge every time……

  4. It was a fantastic and gorgeous day with great friends. We can’t ask for more, with you guys as our personal tour guides.
    And I guess that laid back Park attendant says it all,” Life is good, lets enjoy the scenery!”

  5. Debbie L says:

    Wow, just an amazing day. Beautiful photos, except of the Suburu. Actually, it was a good photo, just sad! 😞

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Debbie! In past trip up Long Canyon that Subaru would have been fine. The road is especially bad this year in one area. But I guess the driver should have done some checking first.

      • Debbie L says:

        I feel their pain! We seem to charge out to do things without making sure the route is ok. But we’ve learned we don’t have the fortitude for Forest Service (FS) roads. Thus no jeep for us to tempt us! But we do enjoy your “off the road” travels!

  6. pmbweaver says:

    Love the header photo.
    My gosh…Why would someone with a Subaruthink they could drive that road. Good grief.

    We love that place! There is so much beauty! I couldn’t stop taking photos. The photo with you two is a keeper for sure.

    We had to stop in to that brewery also. Had a couple of cold ones to top off the day. Enjoy.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Marsha! The colors that evening as we returned made for spectacular photos.

      Some years that Subaru would have made it all the way up that road. But this year the last section just keeps deteriorating. They should have checked first.

  7. Gay says:

    Great friends, great rides and a great hike….so much to see!

  8. Jane says:

    Sounds like a great day but I don’t think our F250 would get under that rock. Are you able to get to the horseshoe bend picture without going on that drive?

    • placestheygo says:

      Jane, the horseshoe bend photos were taken from Dead Horse Point SP. So you can take a nice paved road to get there, also:) I’m not sure about the truck fitting under the rock.

  9. Bobbie and I used to boondock up near where the Pucker Pass road meets the pavement. They’ve closed the little off shoot road that went to our little private site and revegetated it, and now there is a large bulldozed road going back to an oil well. We would mountain bike the loop down Shafer and around to to Long Canyon, or vice versa. I’ll never forget pushing my bike up most of either of those SOB’s, in the hot sun, after a long ride. Oh the things we endured to make a “Loop.”:) Off season, that is a nice little campground on Dead Horse… small, but nice. Have your ever veered from the loop trail east on the other trail a mile or two from the campground? It leads along some dramatic cliffs!!! and ends up with one of the most fantastic photo ops I’ve ever witnessed.
    Box Canyon Mark

    • placestheygo says:

      I can’t even begin to imagine riding a bike on either of these roads, let alone doing a loop…crazy:) We haven’t done much more that the loop trail at Dead Horse. When you say east from the campground, are you following the hiking loop to the Colorado Overlook and then continuing northeast on one of the bike trails?

      • Instead of starting the loop hike out to the point/overlook from the Park Headquarters, hike up the road and cross over to the campground… about a half mile. There is a trail that takes off from the campground’s entry heading north and east, it will spit about a mile? left taking you around the loop, right, to the east, along more of the canyon rim and less traveled views. there are some cairns, as i recall, but just follow the rim as it wanders, staying close and hugging it’s curves as it sweeps eastward. There are some HUGE boulders to stand on and lots of rain potholes if you scramble around on top. Great photo ops!
        hope this makes more sense… if not I can be hired as a guide for a couple of beers 🙂
        mark

      • placestheygo says:

        We actually looked at going out that way after our rim loop and hiking up to the Colorado River Overlook. I think you are referring to the Bighorn Overlook Trail which isn’t part of the loop, but heads out from the campground entrance road. But we knew we wanted to take the Shafer Road home and that would take awhile. Thanks for the extra directions:)

  10. Jim and Barb says:

    Absolutely love the views of the Colorado from the rim, everywhere you look there is stunning scenery………….

  11. geogypsy2u says:

    Well, as I know, it’s good to know when to stop driving and turn around. Thank goodness for 4×4. Yet another glorious hike with amazing views. I have so many more places to go.

  12. girlonahike says:

    It’s always a great spot to head to for a nice overlook of the area! Been there several times. – Alicia @ http://www.girlonahike.com

  13. Sherry says:

    Lucky Mona Liza and Steve to have high clearance chauffeurs. Oopps for the subaru. Hung up is exactly it. Wonder how they will get out. I feel like I’ve seen that entrance attendant before some where. Glad you picked her up for that picture of that jaw dropping photo of the two of you. Those views are breathtaking. That’s your best shoe view yet I think. What a super hike!

  14. explorvistas says:

    That is a formidable boulder! Hold the earthquakes until we get through! 🙂

  15. gt350ed says:

    As I’m reading this, we have just completed Day 1 of our first 2-day yard sale. As much as I love yard sales, especially the preparation part, I guess I COULD have my arm twisted to be over in Moab this time of year. It probably wouldn’t be as much fun as a yard sale, but I’d be willing to at least give it a try. 🙂

  16. Larry says:

    If we get back to that area, I think rental of a jeep and getting into the back country is a must.

  17. Jodee Gravel says:

    I love the feeling when the Jeep is in granny-low and just seems to “walk” up or through the really touch spots! Looks like that wall around the trail at the top might be high enough for me to look over 🙂 The views a really beautiful. Poor horses 😦

    • placestheygo says:

      The Jeep did just that, Jodee, walked right up the two obstacles. Yes, you would be able to walk the rim at Dead Horse Point. The wall comes up several feet so you don’t have to see how far down it is. Everyone gets to enjoy the spectacular view:)

  18. LuAnn says:

    Absolutely gorgeous country! What fun to be able to share so many wonderful hikes with fellow bloggers.

  19. Kim Nowell says:

    Just beautiful and loved seeing the jeep under the rock. Sorry the subaru had trouble and hope they get out (they needed a high lift jack). Can not wait to bring our jeep there. Thanks for sharing such awesome scenery.

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