Parowan Gap

Written by on September 12, 2014 in UT History & Heritage - Comments Off on Parowan Gap

Parowan Gap is a three mile long pass near Parowan, Utah, that connects the Parowan and Cedar Valleys. The gap began life more than 200 million years ago when most of Utah was covered by blowing sand, much like the Sahara Desert. As the sand compacted it created the Navajo Sandstone layer that is so prominent in Utah today. The ridge into which Parowan Gap was cut has been tilted and is a very distinct landmark in the area. The gap was created by an ancient river that cut a 600-foot deep notch through the Red Hills.

Early Native American people (most probably the Fremont , Hopi and later the Paiute) found the area remarkable and left their marks all over the rocks. This gallery of exquisite petroglyphs is one of the finest of its kind in the U.S. There are nearly 90 panels and more than 1,500 figures, some created as far back as 5,000 years ago. Archeologists and geologist believe the area has been more or less continually occupied for at least 12,000 years.

The most prominent of petroglyphs is called the Zipper Glyph. Some researchers believe the glyph is a record of travel. Others believe it is a solar calendar – the harsh marks denote the days from summer to harvest, through winter and back through spring. Accordingly, there are two rock cairns where one can stand and watch the summer solstice.

Paiute oral history tells a story when the tribes remember a lovely stream running through the gap. The Indian people used the gap to travel between the valleys and many stayed in the gap for a time resting and visiting. It became a sacred site because of the visiting that took place and for the marks left behind.

Directions: From Cedar City, take Main St. to UT-130. Go 13.5 miles, turn east (2.5 miles) on a paved road to the Parowan Gap.

Other attractions in the area include:
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Cedar Breaks National Monument

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