Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway
View from Dead Horse Point State Park
The 35-mile drive on Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway leads to two of Utah's most often photographed vistas, both looking over the canyon of the Colorado River. One vista is at Dead Horse Point State Park, the other at Grand View Point Overlook in the Island in the Sky area at Canyonlands National Park. Entry to the scenic byway is on US Highway 191 about nine miles north of Moab. Technically, the section of road between US 191 and Dead Horse Point is Utah Highway 313. And depending on how you want to think about it, within the boundaries of Dead Horse Point State Park the scenic byway is a toll road... The connector to Canyonlands National Park and Island in the Sky has a separate highway designation (and is probably technically a National Park Service road).
Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway is characterized by huge views across eastern Utah's canyon country, hairpin turns and a couple steep (8% grade) hills. Other roads feed off the byway to other points in the area. One of the more notable roads is the Shafer Trail (pictured below), following a route originally surveyed by Utah DOT to build a paved connector between the Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway and Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway (lack of funding killed that project). Another road leads to the Green River Overlook (also pictured below).
You could drive the main scenic byway in a bit more than an hour but what you'd miss... Most of the connectors are reasonable dirt roads (some are paved), just be careful when you go down the hill...
One of the views at Grand View Point Overlook
The Shafer Trail, a 4WD route that connects Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway with the Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway
The view from Green River Overlook
Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway area map