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East + West Rim Trails Loop

Dead Horse Point State Park

Canyonlands + Abajo Mountains, Utah

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East + West Rim Trails Loop

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  • The view from the visitor center is just the beginning!- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Beginning the trail behind the visitor center.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • East rim views.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Basin Overlook to the Colorado River.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Potash evaporation pools can be seen in the distance.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Dead Horse Point.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • View from the west side of the point.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Goosenecks of the Green River.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • West Rim.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Shafer Canyon Overlook.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Shafer Canyon.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Shafer Canyon.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Rim Overlook.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • Rim Overlook.- East + West Rim Trails Loop
  • - East + West Rim Trails Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Mostly flat. Outstanding views.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Canyonlands + Abajo Mountains, UT
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
362.00 ft (110.34 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,942.00 ft (1,811.12 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Many people make the drive to Dead Horse Point for the spectacular views at the end of the point. For most, this is all they do at the park, unless they stay at the campground. This is a shame because one of the most spectacularly scenic hikes in the entire Southwest leaves from here and takes only a few hours. Level and generally well-marked, this 4 or 6-mile hike is family-friendly and not crowded apart from the main overlook at the point.

The rim trail loop can be started at many places along the trail, such as the campground or the Point Overlook, but a fun way to hike the loop is to start at the visitor center and hike clockwise around the point, returning to the parking lot, and saving some of the best vistas for last. The trail can be hiked as a simple loop of 4 miles, but it is highly recommended to take all four of the spur trails going to overlooks, which adds about another 2 miles.

After fortifying yourself at the great little coffee and snack shop in the visitor center parking lot, take the East Rim Trail and start heading south. From this part of the trail, the red rocks of Arches National Park and the La Sal Mountains dominate the skyline. Parts of the Colorado River can be seen in the foreground, and the potash evaporation pools create a stark man-made contrast to the vast natural landscape, but they make beautiful reflection pools! A half mile from the visitor center is the short path to the Basin Overlook. Another mile and the trail reaches the end of Dead Horse Point, passing the Neck, a narrow strip of land about 40 yards wide that connects the extreme point to the larger mesa of the park along the way. The view at the extreme point is one of the most awe inspiring (and most-photographed) in the world. While the views are similar to those at the Grand Canyon, these canyons are not as deep or wide, and the smaller scale makes them more comprehensible and impressive in some ways.

The West Rim Trail heads north from the point and the views continue to unfold. On this side of the point, the trail gets very close to the edge in many places, and the views of the Green River goosenecks are gorgeous. The Shafer Canyon Overlook and Rim Overlook are both side trails that are worth the effort. Both lead to flat-topped points with no guardrails and lots of magnificent spots to stand and stare.

Overall, this 6-mile hike presents varied perspectives on some of the most rugged and beautiful canyons in the world for a quite moderate effort.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(64 within a 30 mile radius)

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