Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

Parowan Gap
Parowan Utah

Rock Art & Dinosaur Tracks

           The Parley Pratt Expedition discovered the petroglyphs at Parowan Gap in 1849. The pass is a classic example of a wind gap, an unusual geological landform marking where an ancient river cut a 600-foot-deep notch through the mountain. Native Americans used this ancient gap for thousands of years to provide easy passage through the Red Hills.

          The north wall of Parowan Gap contains a huge gallery of Native American rock art. Most petroglyph sites contain figures of humans and animals. This petroglyph site contains many deeply inscribed geometric forms, along with some humans and animals. The most interesting feature of this site is a very large and deeply inscribed petroglyph known as the "Zipper". Many archaeologists believe the "Zipper" is a composite map (space) and numerical calendar (time).

General Information:
Click Here for Google Earth KMZ file.Click Here for Map          This is an enjoyable adventure for all ages. This complete journey will require approximately one hour. Please take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.

          A GPS is a complete waste of time but I have included the waypoints for the electronic junkies. The USGS 7.5' Map titled "Parowan Gap" shows the area described. Navigation for this route is extremely easy as it's a roadside stop with short signed trails. All waypoints and maps use the WGS84 datum.

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

Directions from Parowan, Utah:
Travel down Parowan Main Street and turn west on 400 North (Gap Road).  Follow this road 8.4 miles to the Dinosaur Tracks (N37 53' 49", W112 57' 03"), which are signed and located on the north side of the road. To reach the petroglyph site drive west and additional 2.1 miles to the signed Parowan Gap Petroglyphs (N37 54' 35", W112 59' 08").

Directions from Cedar City, Utah:
Take I-15 Exit #62 (Enoch/Minersville), turn west and follow Highway 130 (Minersville Highway) as it swings north. Follow Highway 130 for 13.2 miles to mile marker 19.4. Turn east (right) on 12800 North (Gap Road) and follow the paved road for 2.4 miles to reach the signed Parowan Gap Petroglyphs (N37 54' 35", W112 59' 08"). To reach the dinosaur tracks drive east an additional 2.1 miles to the signed Dinosaur Tracks (N37 53' 49", W112 57' 03"), located on the north side of the road.

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs:
          Several centuries ago Native Americans traveling through the area stopped and chiseled designs onto the smooth faces of large boulders found in the gap. The petroglyphs are thought to be the work of several cultural groups and represent a long period of use by Native cultures. What these designs mean is still unknown. Archaeologists debate that they represent concepts, ideas or actual happenings.

          While we don't know the precise age of these petroglyphs, we do know that the agriculturally based Sevier-Fremont lived in the area over a thousand years ago. There is little doubt that some of the designs were made by this group, or perhaps even the earlier nomadic Archaic peoples. Researchers believe that the semi-nomadic ancestors of the present day Southern Paiute also created some of these figures.

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracks:
          The dinosaur tracks (natural casts) occur in the Iron Springs Formation and are usually in the fallen blocks of light yellow-brown sandstone. Some tracks do occur in place, but most are in the large fallen boulders, so check them first. Originally, these footprints were made in non-resistant mudstones which have since eroded away to expose the sandstone cast.

          Most of the tracks at Parowan Gap were made by Hadrosaurs, which was one of the most abundant dinosaurs in North America. The tracks contain three toes and resemble giant bird feet. Hadrosaurs, nicknamed "duck-billed" dinosaurs, spent their day grazing much like a modern day cow. They weighted a couple of tons and were 10 to 40 feet long.

Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracks Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracks

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