June 18th marks 20 years of hosting Summer Solstice Sunset programs at Parowan Gap. Celebrate the Summer Solstice at Parowan Gap with activities throughout the day, including workshops by archaeologist Garth Norman, a BBQ dinner and the traditional sunset program at the Gap.
The summer solstice program began in 1996 with museum and visitor center volunteers gathering at Parowan Gap for the chance to learn more about a theorized ancient Native American calendar discovered by archeologists Garth Norman and Nal Morris. “After a potluck dinner, Nal and Garth presented their findings,” said Nancy Dalton, Parowan Heritage Foundation Secretary, “the volunteers had such a good time; we decided to host it as an annual event for the public.”
“A natural opening in the mountain range, the Parowan Gap holds a vast amount of petroglyphs that can be interpreted in different ways depending on which Native American culture or scientific interpretation you use,” said Dalton. “The petroglyphs along with various rock outcroppings and cairns (rock monument) provide a fascinating look back in history of how ancient cultures survived, traveled, and what they believed in. The Gap was discovered by ancient people who believed it was a natural calendar system to observe solar, lunar and other astrological events. These observations were etched into the walls of the Gap as petroglyphic symbols to guide current and future people.
The Parowan Gap is located about 13 miles northwest of Parowan or 19 miles north of Cedar City on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The annual event is hosted by the Parowan Heritage Foundation and Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau through an agreement and special event use permit from the BLM.
Summer Solstice at Parowan Gap | June 18th
Hands-on Workshop | 10-12pm | Parowan Gap*
Join archaeologist Garth Norman on a hiking tour of his work sites at Parowan Gap. Study the process and his findings. Workshop attendees are encouraged to dress for hot weather, including hats, sunscreen, and good hiking shoes. Cost is $25 per person. Registration includes bottled water and snacks. Meet at Parowan Gap parking lot.
Parowan Gap Research Presentation | 3-4pm | Parowan Library
Archaeologist Garth Norman will present a slide show of his Parowan Gap research. Cost is free.
BBQ Dinner | 6-7pm | Parowan Gap*
Cost is $15 per person.
Summer Solstice Program | 7:30pm | Parowan Gap
Program featuring guest speakers. After which, the group will walk two-tenths of a mile to the sunset observation cairns and watch the sunset through the middle of the Gap as interpreted on the “Zipper” petroglyph at the Gap. Cost is free. Please bring your own chairs and wear walking shoes.
*Attendees can pre-register for events by calling Nancy Dalton at (435) 463-3735 or by purchasing tickets at Parowan City Library or the Iron County Visitor Center, 581 North Main Street, Cedar City.
For more information on Parowan Gap events contact Nancy Dalton at (435) 463-3735 or the Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau at (435) 586-5124, or stop by the Iron County Visitor Center (581 North Main Street, Cedar City).