Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway takes you along SR-313 to one of the most photographed ... and recognizable ... panoramas on the planet.
With the serpentine Colorado River Canyon below. And the Green River Canyon too. Views of the Needles and Maze sections of Canyonlands National Park.
This is a great drive if you’re visiting the Moab area. Head north from Moab on US-191 for about 9 miles. Turn left on SR-313. Journey through 14 miles of red rock canyon country.
There are numerous pull-outs along the way. Stop and check out the geology … and some of the history … of the area.
Catch views of Seven Mile Canyon. The Monitor and Merrimac buttes. The San Rafael Swell . And the Henry Mountains.
After about 14 miles on this road, you’ll come to a fork. Turn left to get to Dead Horse Point State Park . Dead Horse Point overlooks the Colorado River 2,000 heart-stopping feet below. When you stand at the edge of the overlook, you are doing so at 6,000 feet above sea level.
It is one of the most breathtaking vistas anywhere. When you actually stand at the edge looking down, you may get the urge to grab onto something for balance. Just in case.
The southern end of the byway is also known as Island in the Sky Road. After another 16 miles, you’ll reach Grand View Point.
The view from here is dominated by Monument Basin. And a tall spire called the Totem Pole.
A July 1971 issue of National Geographic chronicled the author’s raising of a helium-filled balloon to try to measure the Totem Pole’s height. He came up with 305 feet.
On top of these cliffs lies the Island in the Sky mesa. You can survey the park from the top of a 6,000 foot high mesa.
And you can gain access to Canyonlands National Park from Grand View Point.
Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway is typically an in and out drive for most people. It’s 14 miles to the Dead Horse Point turn-off. And another 16 miles to Grand View Point.
Plan on a couple hours if you want to drive the entire length and back. Even more if you plan on stopping much.