SR 313 to Dead Horse Point + ADD NEW ROUTE
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Start where Utah State Route 313 heads west off US Hwy 191 (which is just nine miles north of Moab, Utah). Take 313 west for about 23 miles till you end up in and go through Dead Horse Point State Park. Beautiful scenery starts from even before the first turn.
Legend has it that 150 years ago cowboys rounded up a number of wild mustangs and after herding them to the point, fenced off any escape for them on a narrow 30 yard wide approach to the point. Later they retrieved some of the mustangs, but left the rest. Without water, they soon perished.
It is definitely high plateau (6,000') desert country with less than 10" of rain per year. You can see it in the plants which are all small leaved with a waxy surface to retard evaporation. The animals restrict their movement to times of cool or at night.
So while you may want to walk along some of the 8 miles of hiking trail, or utilize some of the bicycle trails, you can just walk along the main view point and see a spectacular view. I mean spectacular! You will be amazed of seeing the meandering Colorado River 2,000' below. You can see a panorama of layers of sedimentary rock displaying their vivid colors as they lay one on top of another.
Sedimentary rock erodes in a vertical manner, so the multitude of distant cliffs are all laid out with their sheer drops. Occasionally the rock is punctuated by rare pockets of vegetation eking out a precarious life on narrow level ledges. Occasionally a raven or hawk may be flying by.
The visitor center has some displays of plants, animals, and descriptions of the geology. They even have info for geocaching within the park.
This area has been the location of a lot of films. Adventures of Joe Dirt (1999), Touched By an Angel (2001), Austin Powers 3 (2003), John Carter (2010), are just some of them. In 1975 I watched some of Against a Crooked Sky (w/ Richard Boone) being filmed and in 2009 watched some of The Canyon (w/ Will Patton) being filmed nearby.
The entrance fee is $5., as this is not a federal park so the Golden Eagle pass doesn't work.
All state highway, it's maintained all year and in superb shape. It has some hairpins, but you'll be going slow to see the rock formations anyway. Traffic is there as this is a vacation area. Some tar filled cracks.
At the visitor center, lunch sandwiches and drinks are available, but nothing else on this road. Gas available at the campground by the start. Moab has full services.
If one does not want to walk much, it's just a few steps to several of the overlooks and visitor center. The whole ride is beautiful which makes the whole route a favorite ride. I like that the destination is small enough that it's like a large backyard more than an impressive park.
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