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Area History


The area that is now known as Bryce Canyon has a very rich history that dates back thousands of years. The first inhabitants were the Paleolithic Indians that arrived after following mammoth and other big game animals. The region is quite fertile, making it the perfect hunting ground and summer oasis for many tribes. Artifacts in the area date back at least 2,000 years and provide a glimpse into the lives of the earliest known settlers, the Anasazi Indians.

Although during their time, the land was not quite as hospitable as it is now. Many were forced to leave in search of new hunting grounds, and it wasn’t until the Mormon pioneers arrived in the late 1800’s that the area would become populated. The canyon was named for Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon settler who was one of the first to arrive in the area. The canyon itself is also quite remarkable as a feat of nature and is full of what locals call hoodoos.

The hoodoos resemble man-shaped red rocks that are found in small, bowel-like canyons. The early Natives held to the belief that a tribe of people angered the coyote spirit and he turned them into stone as a punishment. Although no one really knows what caused the hoodoos to form, they are still regarded with a mix of awe and fear.

The area is also home to Zion National Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in the United States. You’ll also find the nearby city of Parowan to be absolutely fascinating. This is one of the oldest Western cities and is called the Mother Town of Southern Utah.

In 1851, Mormon pioneers from Parowan settled Cedar City as a place to begin iron mining because the area was equidistant from vast iron deposits 10 miles west and coal resources 10 miles up from Cedar Canyon. However, in 1855, a new site was established at the suggestion of Brigham Young and present day Cedar City is located at this site. The new Cedar City was incorporated on February 18, 1868. Iron mining continued in the area until the 1980's.