was successfully added to your cart.

A Sunrise Visit to Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah

Who’s in for a sunrise visit to Dead Horse Point State Park? Three sets of hands fly up.

That is until the night before.

Upon reflection my husband and friend Jo, don’t think it’s such a great idea after all. They don’t like the prospect of leaving a warm bed and driving 45 minutes from Moab at 6 AM. That’s okay. Ted, my other friend is game so the two of us meet with a coffee in hand and head off.

It’s almost pitch black as we drive north along Highway 191. We make one wrong turn looking for Highway 313 but in no time we’re back on track. By 6:30 there’s a little light in the sky, enough that we can pick out the shape of a deer. We’re both on high alert in case one bolts at the side of the road.

Ever changing light - Dead Horse State Park

The Colorado River before the sun comes up in Dead Horse Point State Park

By 7 AM we’re at the park filling out the form and paying the $10 entrance fee. The drive through the park is pure magic at this time of day – open range and then finally glimpses of the canyon, 2000 feet below.

We’re certainly not alone when we pull up in the parking lot at Dead Horse Point. About a dozen photographers have claimed spots along the edge of the canyon – not that there isn’t plenty of room for us.

Before the sun comes up, it’s chilly so we wander back and forth along the edge trying to stay warm. But with the first touch of the sun ray’s, we’re peeling off jackets and staring in wonder as the scene along a gooseneck in the Colorado River unfolds.

A perfect perch to watch the sun come up - Dead Horse State Park

A perfect perch to watch the sun come up – Dead Horse Point State Park

Interesting to see Dead Horse State Park come alive with the sun

Interesting to see Dead Horse Point State Park come alive with the sun

A golden glow over the Colorado River - Dead Horse State Park

A golden glow over the Colorado River

Below us we can see jeeps that look like toy cars. Of course I’m only guessing that these are jeeps but judging from the fact the Moab is hosting the 9 day Easter Jeep Safari, with jeepers coming from all over the world, I’m betting I’m right. (This may be a week you want to avoid visiting Moab as the place is literally overrun by jeeps, especially in the evening when they’re back from their outings.)

Dead Horse State Park

It’s quite the 4W road you can drive along the lower rim

Dead Horse State Park

Looks like the moon

The sun fills the canyon in no time so we meander along the canyon edge looking for other photographic opportunities.

Dead Horse State Park

The canyon is fully lit with sunshine within 15 minutes

There are beautiful hiking trails along the rim of the canyon - Dead Horse State Park

There are beautiful hiking trails along the rim of the canyon

Cacti galore in Dead Horse Canyon State Park

Watch where you sit

Dead trees add drama to the landscape

Dead trees add drama to the landscape

Checking out a different section of the canyon

Checking out a different section of the canyon

By 7:45 our stomachs are grumbling and we know we can make it back to the Sunflower Hill Inn in time for breakfast.

On another visit I would plan to spend part of the day hiking the rim trails; if you’re visiting in April show up early for the great birding opportunities as the migration is in full swing. And there is plenty of history to discover as well. Did you know that in the late 1800’s cowboys would chase wild mustangs onto Dead Horse Point?

Dead Horse State Park

My friend Ted – who is scared of heights playing at the edge

As my friend Ted says, the early morning visit to Dead Horse Point State Park was one of the highlights of our eight day trip through Utah. Don’t miss it!

Other posts from this trip you might enjoy:

A sunrise visit to Dead Horse Point State Park

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
HikeBikeTravel
Follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Google +

Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

More posts by Leigh

Join the discussion 8 Comments

Leave a Reply