Wind, water and sand carved out this natural passageway that was once used as a major thoroughfare by ancient Native Americans. The different cultures are evident by the hundreds of petroglyphs carved into the Parowan Gap. Parowan Gap’s gallery of ancient American Indian rock carvings (petroglyphs) includes geometric designs, lizards, snakes, mountain sheep, bear claws and human figures. With over 90 panels and 1,500 figures, the Gap is believed to be one of the most concentrated collections of petroglyphs in the West-and one of the most accessible.
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.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently completed a project to provide long-term preservation of cultural and paleontological resources. Included was the development of a visitor trail, public parking, restroom and interpretive signs. The signs tell the different interpretations and meanings of the rock writings, specifically what they mean to the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.
Must See & Do at Parowan Gap
Throughout the year, several interpretive programs and solar observation events take place at Parowan Gap. These event happen in conjunction with the solstices, spring and fall equinoxes and can be found on Visit Cedar City’s calendar of events.
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. Please do not touch or feed the wildlife, only take photos and stay on designated roads.
Parowan Gap Dinosaur Footprints
Continue east two miles from the Parowan Gap Petroglyph site (see directions above) 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.