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Dead Horse Point Mesa Scenic Byway

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Basics
Length:
35 miles (56 km)
Time:
30 minutes minimum, but 2-3 hours recommended to enjoy the state and national parks.
Fees:
Dead Horse State Park and Canyonlands National Park may charge entrance fees.

Description

An intriguing name for an intriguing place: Dead Horse Point is so named because in the mid-1800s, cowboys installed wild mustangs here, on the natural corral, a small plateau 2,000 feet above the Colorado River. Unwanted culls or "broomtails" were left behind on the plateau to find their way off the point. For some reason, although able to see water and brush below, the horses remained on the desolate plateau and died. At the end of the Dead Horse Point Scenic Byway, this sight remains one of interest yet instills something of awe and misgiving in the visitor. The view is incredible, even daunting. Morsel by morsel the Colorado River has, in its meandering, eroded huge chasms, leaving only a layered desert behind, and, in the distance, rest subdued blue mountains, a contrast to the hot, dry desert. The exposed layers are built-up layers of sediments, formed over millions of years by oceans, freshwater lakes, streams, and wind blown sand dunes. There is space here, and air; time and the grand Colorado and Green Rivers have left their imprint in the depths of the canyons. Come here to encounter nature at its rawest, to shake hands with nature, if you will.

The view from Dead Horse Point is one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world -- the panorama of the Colorado River Canyon. Grandview looks down on the Needles and Maze sections of Canyonlands National Park, as well as the Green and Colorado River Canyons. To get a closer look and feel of the landscape, stay and camp a few days or float down the Colorado River with an experienced tour guide. For the younger at heart, there is also a chance for biking and four-wheel riding.

At the start of the spectacular byway, you will pass through 14 miles of BLM's incredible red rock canyon country. Stop along the way to appreciate the geology, archaeology, and scenery viewable from the highway. Look for Seven Mile Canyon, the massive Monitor and Merrimac Buttes, views of the San Rafael Reef and the Henry Mountains. After about 14 miles, the byway forks and ends at Dead Horse Point State Park and the Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands National Park.

Tourism Resources

Length:
35 miles (56 km)
Time:
30 minutes minimum, but 2-3 hours recommended to enjoy the state and national parks.
Main Roads:
US-191 N and UT-313 W
Fees:
Dead Horse State Park and Canyonlands National Park may charge entrance fees.
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