A mountain biker enjoyed the trails at Dead Horse Point State Park. On Saturday, Nov. 4, the 17-mile mountain biking trail system will be part of a Trails Challenge in honor of the Utah State Park system’s 60th anniversary. [Photo by Scott Escott / Courtesy of Dead Horse Point State Park]

Is there more treasure to be found at Dead Horse State Park than the incredible views? Those who know it best think so, and in celebration of the Utah State Park system’s 60th anniversary, they’re turning the trails into a treasure map to help visitors discover it.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Dead Horse Point State Park Trails Challenge scavenger hunt will lead mountain bikers and hikers from clue to clue along the trails. As participants solve puzzles, they’ll earn raffle tickets and prizes while taking in the spectacular scenery of the entire park.

“A lot of people come to see the main view at the end of the road, and they don’t realize we’ve got so many great trails,” Dead Horse Point State Park Naturalist Scott Chandler said. “We thought: Let’s see how many people we can get out in a day and have some fun seeing all the other views, and challenge themselves in the process.”

Spring season this year saw a nearly 30 percent increase in visitor numbers over the same period last year, which Park Manager Megan Blackwelder attributes to the same factors driving an increase in visitors to parks in Utah generally. Now that the height of tourism season is tapering off, she and Chandler hope to see local people and those visiting in the cooler off-season period enjoy discovering lesser-known gems.

“It’s a good off-season way to get people out in the park,” Blackwelder said. “It’s so beautiful here this time of year.”

Prizes will include state parks passes and popular items from the gift shop, like mountain bike patching kits and first-aid kits.

As part of the challenge, adventurers will be able to win raffles by showing pictures of themselves solving puzzles – which will mean selfies with pretty spectacular views, Chandler assures.

“There are other major overlooks out here that few people see,” he said. “The views are amazing all along the way, on the hiking trails and the mountain biking trails.”

The trail system connects seven scenic overlooks besides Dead Horse Point itself. From the West Rim trail system, a somewhat primitive hiking route featuring a view of the Dark Horse Chimney, to the potholes and gorgeous view of Shafer Canyon at the end of the Bighorn Overlook trail, the 6-mile hiking trail network is full of breathtaking scenery, Chandler said.

Mountain bikers will find nearly 17 miles of easy, intermediate and challenging non-motorized singletrack trails on the park’s Intrepid Trail system. Winter is a perfect time of year for mountain bikes at Dead Horse Point, Blackwelder said – the sandy soil dries out quickly, and if there is snow, the trails will be groomed for fat tires.

Although cell phone service is limited at the park, Chandler said he hopes people will share their gorgeous photos with fellow scavengers with hashtags #deadhorsepoint and #trailschallenge.

Other parks throughout the state system have been celebrating all year, Chandler said. People can add their pictures and check out others’ adventures in state parks this year with #UtahSP60 and #ExploreUtah hashtags. Dead Horse Point has the only treasure hunt in the mix, he said.

The park staff plans to incorporate other events throughout the year that encourage people to venture away from the visitor center and enjoy the rest of what the park offers in every season, he said, and he hopes locals especially will take advantage of the quiet season.

“Now that it’s cool, it’s more fun to be out on the trails,” he said. “We’re starting to get a new spike in visitation this time of year.”

The event is free to the public, although regular park fees do apply. The raffle will be held at the park’s visitor center at 4 p.m., and participants must be present to win.

Scavenger hunt to commemorate Utah State Park system’s 60th anniversary

What: Dead Horse Point State Park Trails Challenge scavenger hunt

When: Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Where: Dead Horse Point State Park

Cost: Event is free; park entrance fees vary

Information: 435-259-2614

A lot of people come to see the main view at the end of the road, and they don’t realize we’ve got so many great trails … We thought: Let’s see how many people we can get out in a day and have some fun seeing all the other views, and challenge themselves in the process.