After spending several days in Escalante, we hitched up the Airstream and drove over Hell’s Backbone (stopping for breakfast at Hell’s Backbone Grill of course), continued down Scenic Byway 12 to Capitol Reef National Park for a short hike, and ended up at Dead Horse Point State Park for a one-night stay. Dead Horse was one of our favorite campground on Big Trip #1, and we were thrilled to return.
The park was very quiet while we were there in the middle of a chilly November week. Without realizing how open the campsites would be, we reserved a spot in the Kayenta campground, where we stayed before. The West Rim trail is easily accessed from campsites #1 (stayed there this time) and #3 (last time). Wingate campground is bigger and friendlier to large RVs. It’s a bit closer to Dead Horse Point, which is a plus, but a little farther from the hiking trails and seems a bit less private than Kayenta. We may try it next time to see how it compares. Both campgrounds offer only power hookups, and only Wingate is open year-round.
The main draw (and most crowded area) of Dead Horse Point State Park is Dead Horse Point, overlooking a gooseneck in the Colorado River 2,000 feet below and the striped red cliffs of Canyonlands National Park beyond. The trails along the west side are more dramatic than those on the east side, but you do get more river and distant mountain views on the east side. We recommend making a clockwise loop of the East Rim and West Rim trails, popping out to the overlooks as you pass them.
Check out poor Bugsy’s foot: the granular snow in Park City rubbed the sides of a couple paw pads raw. We gave her time off and soaked her feet in Epsom salt, but psychologically she (and therefore, we) can only handle a few days of not hiking. Our gauze+vet wrap+duct tape booties worked pretty well!