Panguitch, Utah, captures the enduring pioneer spirit of Utah with its welcoming rural charm and strong sense of heritage. Much of the town's main drag sits on the National Register of Historic Places and offers quaint, Western-themed local shopping and dining options. Panguitch is also an important base camp for many of Southern Utah's top natural attractions, potentially including three of The Mighty 5® national parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef), two vast expanses of distinct national forests (Fishlake and Dixie), two national monuments (Cedar Breaks and Grand Staircase-Escalante) and several state parks.
Gateway to Adventure
A town whose name means "big fish" surely will deliver on a promise of great angling. Indeed, four Blue Ribbon Fisheries, so called for their combination of exquisite settings and sustainable, healthy fish populations, are within about a half-hour of Panguitch: Paragonah Reservoir, Panguitch Lake, Panguitch Creek and Asay Creek.
Beyond the Blue Ribbon, Panguitch distinguishes itself with access to myriad trail systems, whether you seek trails for your footwear, your mountain bike tread, or your ATV.
Scenic Byway 143 also accesses some of The Greatest Snow on Earth® at Brian Head Resort, one of Utah's most unique resort experiences thanks to the high elevation of its base and proximity to Utah's iconic red rock.
"America's Toughest Stage Race," the Tour of Utah, has passed through Panguitch, highlighting Utah's passion for world-class sporting events and the incredible scenic beauty of Southern Utah and its byways.
Quilt Walk Festival
In 1864, so the story is told, a group of pioneers were sent eastward from Parowan, Utah, along a stretch of the Old Spanish Trail to establish a settlement.
At more than 6,600 feet, that early settlement, which became known as Panguitch (meaning "big fish" in the language of the Paiute tribe), was surprised with a particularly short growing season, cutting off the settlers' harvest. With the situation growing dire, a group set out over the snowy 8,000 foot pass, heavily wrapped in quilts, back to Parowan for supplies to save the settlement.
The challenges of walking through deep snow eventually led the team to discovering the surface area of their quilts would make the difficult journey easier. Every year, this historic town now hosts a festival commemorating the famous quilt walk that saved this early settlement.
The spirit of survival, pioneer determination and the rugged Old West endure not only in this lively three-day festival, but in the very soul of Panguitch, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The festival is held on the second week of June, and 2014 marked the 150th anniversary of the quilt walk that saved a settlement.
A great example of classic "small town USA," Panguitch is just 25 miles northwest of Bryce Canyon National Park. In addition to June's Quilt Festival, watch for The Sky's the Limit Bike Rally & Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally, held annually during the last FULL weekend in June and the Bryce ATV/UTV Rally, held annually in August.
Scenic Byway 143
Steeped in history and painted with some of Southern Utah's most stunning and unexpected scenic beauty, Utah's state Route 143, the Patchwork Parkway, is a designated National Scenic Byway. Travel 48 spectacular miles from Parowan to Panguitch with multiple interpretive sites, an essential side trip down S.R. 148 to Cedar Breaks National Monument, and access to resort skiing or boarding on The Greatest Snow on Earth®.
Dixie National Forest
The Dixie National Forest is Utah's largest national forest, stretching for 170-miles across Southern Utah. Red Canyon, one of the most spectacular colored cliff canyons in southern Utah is located in the heart of the Dixie Forest.
Brian Head Resort
Surrounded by contrasting evergreen spruce and aspen, Brian Head Resort boasts the highest base among Utah's resorts, and is the only resort to showcase snow-dusted red rock hoodoos from the nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument. In the summer, Brian Head Resort is a mountain biking mecca and also offers great hiking, spa amenities and a range of outdoor activities in the cooler mountain air.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument's majestic amphitheater is a three-mile long cirque made up of eroding limestone, shale, and sandstone. The raised area of earth located in Southern Utah between Interstate 15 and Highway 89 sits entirely above 10,000 feet. The Amphitheater is like a naturally formed coliseum that plunges 2,000 feet below taking your eyes for a colorful ride through arches, towers, hoodoos, and canyons.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park awes visitors with spectacular geological formations and brilliant colors. The towering hoodoos, narrow fins, and natural bridges seem to deny all reason or explanation, leaving hikers gazing around with jaws agape in wondrous incredulity. This surreal landscape is what brings people from around the world to visit Bryce Canyon National Park.
Southwest Road Trip
A two-hour dash from Las Vegas or intriguing escape from throughout the region, a southwest Utah road trip features some of the nation's finest national park experiences — but these parks are not islands. They are surrounded by an exciting array of outdoor recreation and scenic drives to capture your imagination and help you make the most of your next extended vacation.