Reflection: Paria Ghost Town

A visit to Paria Ghost Town

Travel Journal – May 18, 2014

Once again we travel back to last May when we camped at Panguitch, Utah. The drive South on highway 89 that took about an hour or so was well worth it for exploring a little history and enjoying some four-wheel driving experiences, breathtaking at times.

Paria (Pahreah) Ghost Town

Once arriving at the historic marker along the highway we headed in on an old dirt road that was somewhat maintained.  A little precarious at times, not only from the rough road needing a high clearance vehicle, but a couple of very steep drop off’s if you miss a turn.  On the drive in, the cliffs on either side were multicolored layers of red, white, purple and greyish blue.  A beautiful site that a photograph cannot begin to capture. I wouldn’t recommend this road for a regular passenger car, maybe some SUV’s would be okay.

There were signs that the area is still used by people bringing in horses. The government built some nice corals along with a vault toilet or possibly this is left from the Josey Wales movie sets.  Again I don’t think bringing a trailer all the way back would be safe at this time.  Maybe the corals were built long ago.  Riding back from highway 89 would be enjoyable I am sure, but bring plenty of water.

The Outlaw Josey Wales Movie Set

A number of years ago this area was used to film  westerns.  You may recognize some the scenery from movies like “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. The original movie set including some buildings and false fronts from the making of this movie remained here for many years, but mother nature did her work and they had to be torn down in the late 1990’s due to safety issues.  Later several larger buildings were rebuilt, but in 2006 mysteriously they burned to the ground.

Town Cemetery

All thats left - a Cemetery

All that’s left – a Cemetery

A memorial has been erected at the old cemetery, along with an iron fence to protect it.  The grave stones have long since withered away and are not readable.  My understanding is there are a few original foundations left from the original buildings on the other side of the river.  All of the buildings and sign of habitation have long ago faded.

Dry Paria River

Dry Paria Riverbed

Due to the heat and the very dry riverbed, Jagger and I turned the Workhorse around, attempting not to get stuck in the sand in the middle of nowhere!  I was wondering after making a few turns, even in four wheel drive if we would make it.  The four ton weight of the Workhorse was a bit much, threatening to dig trenches in the deep sandy surface, leaving us stranded, but we made it out.

Until next time, Safe Travels, Gary

4 replies

  1. The middle of nowhere!!! Hello? Triple A?? You can be here next month you say? LOLOL……Ya, not a good place to play around……


    • 🙂 Pretty desolate, a place to travel cautiously, however there was an occasional visitor. I met a young man from Georgia in a jeep who went on beyond the river where I had turned around. He had a much lighter vehicle and wanted to explore further down the gorge. It really was a fascinating place not only for the town once there, but my understanding high up on the cliffs were caves that were once inhabited. This area was also traveled by John Wesley Powell who referred to the River as Ute River. Thanks John


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