Just off Highway 9 on the way into Zion National Park from the west, the historic settlement of Grafton makes a worthy short stop. Founded in 1859 by some Mormon settlers from nearby Virgin, Grafton was inhabited until 1944. There were over 30 structures here, but only five intact structures remain. The setting is on the flood plain of the Virgin River, giving it rich soil but also creating hazards from flooding. Life in this town was harsh and difficult.
There are three residences, a church and schoolhouse, and a barn set in a very pretty spot that gives a very good feel for the place. The structures are not open to explore, but there are informative displays about the history of the settlement. The highlight of the site is the old cemetery just a short drive away, with many grave markers back to the 1860s. Much can be learned about life in those historic times by reading what people wrote on the stones. The access road to Grafton passes over the historic Rockville bridge.