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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
?
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
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Utah is home to several very impressive native rock art panels, and many are not far from major roads. Located about an hour north of St. George and just a few minutes from Cedar City are the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. The "gap" is a missing section of the Red Hills, carved away by a river that has since dried up. The river exposed the Navajo sandstone that the Fremont, the Hopi and the ancestors of the southern Paiute have carved symbols into over several distinct periods. The most recent symbols date to about 700 years ago, but the oldest could be from several thousand years ago.

Some of the symbols carved into the sandstone are interpreted as a physical description of the area and of the people's day-to-day life, while other symbols are obviously more ceremonial or abstract. There is a small cave entrance here with a barrier in front of it, which is very intriguing considering that the Hopi say this area is sacred and that they first came into the world from a cave. There are potential astro-archaeological links due to the fact the gap has an east-west aspect. Studies have been conducting claiming some of the carvings are meant more as a seasonal calendar then a story. For whatever reason, many people found this place to be geologically or spiritually significant enough to repeatedly take the time to carve these symbols over millennia.

This place is not far from the freeway, and it is worth checking out at least once. There are a ton of different petroglyphs located at several spots all within walking distance of each other. The petroglyphs are found at both ends of the gap and on each side of the road. There are many informational signs marking the major carvings sections.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Great example of native artwork. Close to freeway. Cool geology. Bathrooms.

Cons

Not much else going on.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Features

Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

06/13/2018
Easy access for everyone. It's fun to debate what the petroglyphs mean with your buddies. Just don't add your own :-)
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