Parowan Gap Petroglyphs – Parowan, Utah - Atlas Obscura
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Parowan, Utah

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

Hundreds of drawings left by the land's previous inhabitants remain mysterious. 

Just a few miles west of the small town of Parowan, and just at the edge of the dry “Little Salt Lake,” lies a natural gap in the mountains, covered with hundreds of petroglyphs. They have been there for over a thousand years.

Archaeologists have argued that the petroglyphs are in fact a complex calendar system. Hopi and Paiute peoples have a variety of interpretations for the rock art as well, which includes representations of humans as well as depictions of animals and geometric shapes.

While there has been a certain amount of damage and vandalism since the arrival of Anglos, the majority of the petroglyphs are intact. Among them is a much more ancient reminder of the past in the form of a few preserved dinosaur footprints. 

A well-maintained trail goes along the gap walls, and you can even peer into a small cave that is believed to have been occupied by a ritual specialist or shaman, with evidence of up to five thousand years of occupation in the area. From dinosaur tracks to ancient human ingenuity, the past is present in the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. 

 

Know Before You Go

Exit Highway 15 at Parowan, then take Gap Road west.

  • Norman, V. Garth and Lance Harding. 2007. The Parowan Gap: Nature's Perfect Observatory. Springville (UT): Cedar Fort Inc.
  • https://utah.com/parowan-gap