Thursday, May 21, 2015

Parowan showcases ancient tribal rock art in Utah

Parowan petroglyphs
Parowan Gap in southern Utah is famous for two things. One is the pass through the Red Hills that started forming 15 million years ago. The second is the ancient petroglyphs carved into the mountainsides.

Known as a wind gap, the pass is a unique geologic feature formed millions of years ago when a river ran through the hills. The river dried up due to climactic changes, and the area is now known as the Escalante Desert.

The petroglyphs are an excellent example of Native American rock art, some of which dates back 1,000 years. Over the centuries, the Indians carved circles, and pictures of snakes, bears and people into the rocks. It is believed that the primitive drawings represent the work of several Native American cultures. The petroglyphs are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Parking with a vault toilet is available just east of the pass. There are sidewalks on both sides of the road through the gap. The petroglyphs are fenced off, because it’s illegal to touch them. They are, however easily visible from the sidewalks.

Getting there

Take the Highway 130/North Main exit off of Interstate 15 just north of Cedar City, Utah.  Disregard the tourist information that says to drive 13.5 miles on Highway 130 from the freeway exit. It’s actually several miles farther; in any case, stay on 130 until you reach the sign that points right to Parowan. The petroglyphs are a couple of miles down Parowan Gap Road.ighwy 130 from the Hi

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