What could be better than a weekend filled with a gallery of over 1,500 native american petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks preserved in stone, stunning sunsets, and an adorable small town in the heart of southern Utah? Spending a full day taking in these sites may not be quite enough, but it’s a great start. Pack up the family, grab the snacks (save room for cinnamon rolls) and head on out to Parowan! After taking in the small-town charm and incredible historical sites, extend your adventure just 11 miles west to The Parowan Gap. Wind, water and sand carved out this natural passageway. The Gap is one of the most concentrated collections of petroglyphs in the West. With over 1,500 figures, the gallery of ancient American Indian rock carvings includes geometric designs, animal and human figures. Even better, just two miles east of the Gap are several relief dinosaur tracks preserved in stone.
Starting your Morning
Start your morning in Cedar City off right by grabbing a delicious tea or coffee and something to eat from Tae’s Tea. Locally owned, this shop offers loose-leaf teas, italian sodas, and fantastic food provided in partnership with Sweet Pea Farm & Orchard, Tae’s Tea is a hidden gem and a perfect place to start your day.
Spending the Afternoon in Southern Utah’s Mother Town
Take off down Parowan’s adorable Main Street and enjoy a small slice of Americana, feeling like you just stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. While exploring Parowan, you’ll observe that the residents hold tight to their pioneer roots. Every corner of Parowan has a story to tell from the fully restored pioneer homes, to the Heritage Park, Old Rock Church to the pastoral Meeks Pond; all perfectly preserved through the love and care of the community. The preserved historic homes, buildings and heritage sites (over 40 of them) are all within an easy walk of each other. Stop by the Parowan Visitor Center at 5 South Main Street to pick up the ultimate guide to adventure in Parowan, and flip through the pages until you find the page for Historical Walking Tours. Visit the Old Rock Church at 90 South Main Street. This is the oldest church building in southern Utah, though its current use is as a Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum. Filled with portraits, stories, furniture, clothing, and many more artifacts from the pioneers who founded southern Utah; browsing the collections within the Old Rock Church could easily fill an afternoon.
Ready for even more adventure? Head out to the Parowan Gap. From Cedar City: Go north on Main Street to Hwy 130 and continue north for 13.5 miles. Then turn east and 2.5 miles on the Gap Road. Here you’ll find the stunning Parowan Gap. Researchers have identified what they believe to be solar and lunar calendars, plus hunting and cultural glyphs which provided early civilizations with a calendaring system where various solar time events are marked by shadows cast by the natural rock formations. The sun, moon and planets rise and set in specific notches in the Gap as indicated by petroglyphs. Enjoy an afternoon among the jagged walls of the Parowan Gap, examine the glyphs, search for dinosaur tracks and walk the paved trails to your hearts’ content.
Must See Suggestions at the Parowan Gap
Wildlife Viewing Several species of wildlife make their home in the Parowan Gap’s cliffs, canyons, broad plains and forested areas. Several endangered animals make their home there including the Sage Grouse, Pygmy Rabbit and Utah Prairie Dog. The Gap area also has a high concentration of hawks, eagles, falcons and owls. Keep your eyes to the sky and the cliff outcroppings. Parowan Gap Dinosaur Footprints Continue east two miles from the Parowan Gap Petroglyph site to the Bureau of Land Management Dinosaur Track site. Wander a natural area where several relief tracks made by ornithopods, ceratopsians and theropods are preserved in stone.
Head Back to Parowan, UT.
Drive east for 10.5 miles, drive under the interstate, turn onto 400 North, then onto Parowan Main Street. Parowan is the “mother town” of southern Utah. This “mother town” nickname comes from being the original southern Utah settlement that spurred the colonization of the west. Finding a more picture-perfect small town main street could be difficult. Exploring Parowan, you’ll observe that the residents hold tight to their pioneer roots. Kids perform traditional pioneer dances at the town’s Birthday celebration and Labor Day they host the Iron County fair. Spend some time exploring Parowan Main Street, find and admire the preserved pioneer homes, and delve into the converted bank that is now the Parowan Visitor Center. *See if you can find the old bank vault inside!
Wrapping up your Evening
While you’re exploring Parowan’s Main Street take a moment for The Sweet Tour! These local businesses in Parowan have put their own twist on the delicious cinnamon roll and you don’t want to miss any of these stops. Visit www.thesweettour.com to find the 8 stops on the Parowan Sweet Tour.
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