Category Archives: Boulder Loop

MPNHA Photo Contest – $25 Prize

We know that you have some amazing photos, and now it’s time to share them! The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is hosting a photo contest. It’s time to dust off the camera, phone, whichever you use to capture special moments and share some great pictures. You probably have some on your hard drive somewhere too!

To enter, users must upload their images to the MPNHA Facebook Page and submit a form (below) for each image that they enter into the contest.


  • All photos must be be property of the entrant and an original work. If you are submitting for someone else, permission must be obtained before uploading the image.
  • All photos must be taken inside the boundaries of the MPNHA.
  • Photo enhancements are allowed.
  • The entry can be used on the MPNHA’s social media channels, website, etc. and will be credited to the entrant.
  • If people are included in the image, a release is required for entry.
  • All entrants must submit a short entry form in addition to uploading the image onto the MPNHA Facebook page.
  • The final date to enter is July 21, 2017 at midnight, mountain time.
  • The winner of the contest and $25 gift card to a retailer of their choice will be selected by the number of likes on their image. Ask your friends to vote for your image! In the event of a tie, the images with the same number of likes (loves, etc.) will be assigned a random number and then picked at random. The winner will be chosen and contacted on July 31, 2017.
  • There is no age limit to participants (under 13 years of age must have parental permission) or limit to the number of images that are allowed, as long as every image has been submitted into the form below.
  • Voting starts when you upload your image, so enter earlier for your best chance.
  • Those who work for the MPNHA are not eligible to enter/win.
  • Have fun.


every kid in a park

The Federal Land Management agencies, National Parks, National Park Service, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the White House have joined together in a partnership to initiate the EVERY KID IN A PARK incentive.  This program is designed to give every fourth grader and their families to visit all our country’s natural treasures.  The history of our great country can engage each student to enjoy the beauty, culture, and enjoy the federal lands and waters free of charge.

This initiative began 01 September 2015 and ends on August 31, 2016.  The free pass allows free access to the national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges, and so much more.

nps_arrowhead_300The National Park Foundation which is the nation’s official charity for the National Parks has been raising funds to work with connecting the fourth graders of our nation to have free access to all of  public land and waters in America.  A division of the Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids program, is designed to remove stumbling blocks for our fourth graders admission into the wonderlands of our natural parks and water ways.   The Every Kid in a Park initiative has been designed for students in under served and urban communities.  Due to the schools wide cutbacks in funding for grants for fields trips, the strategic funding will hopefully provide a learning experience for all fourth graders and their families.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is the only Federally recognized Heritage Area with three National Parks.

These are: Bryce Canyon National Park: Boulder Loop District

Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef Ray Mathis/NPS
Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef
Ray Mathis/NPS

Capitol Reef National Park in the Boulder Loop District

double rainbow

Zion National Park: Under the Rim District.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Events and Festivals – Boulder Loop


Bryce Canyon Winterfest Boulder Loop District


Cowboy Poetry Boulder Loop District


Entrada Institute Boulder Loop District
Capitol Reef National Springtime Social at the Gilford House Boulder Loop District


Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo Boulder Loop District
Entrada Institute Boulder Loop District


Entrada Institute Boulder Loop District
Bicknell International Film Festival Boulder Loop District
Bryce Canyon Half Marathon and 5K Boulder Loop District
Big Apple Days Boulder Loop District
Boulder Heritage Festival Boulder Loop District
Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo Boulder Loop District
Capitol Reef Classic Bicycle Race Boulder Loop District

Old Time Fiddlers and Bear Festival Boulder Loop District


Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo Boulder Loop District
Entrada Institute Boulder Loop District
Bryce Canyon Run and Walk Boulder Loop District


Entrada Institute Boulder Loop District
Escalante Canyons Art Festival/Everett Reuss Days Boulder Loop District


Entrada Institute Boulder Loop District


New Years Eve Celebration, Bryce Boulder Loop District

Memorial Day Honoring Family and Traditions

mt. Pleasant Cemetery graves

Memorial Day has always been a family tradition.  No matter where we moved,  we always went to the family cemetery to honor our family.  Decorating the graves was a responsibility my father would say “someday you will take on this responsibility and teach it to your children.”

Well, here we are as grandparents taking our wonderful grandchildren to the graves of family members to honor them.  What I saw this year was a wonderful example of the past and the present.  Grandchildren reverently placing flowers on the graves of family members that are six and seven generations past.

This year there was more joy as we spent the day together talking to the children, telling them stories.  We focused on the living and the funny family stories of the past.  We still missed those who have preceded us, but it was a sweet remembering this year.  What does bring tears to my eyes is the respect, reverence, and the United States flags flying high to honor our fallen military men and women.

Cadets, alumni and volunteers from St. Thomas Academy worked with Fort Snelling National Cemetery staff to put up hundreds of American flags ahead of the Memorial Day weekend,  on Wednesday,  May 21,  2014 . (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)
Cadets, alumni and volunteers from St. Thomas Academy worked with Fort Snelling National Cemetery staff to put up hundreds of American flags ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 . (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

There is truly something amazing beyond description that seeing lanes lined with the United States flying.  I am proud to be an American, I am proud that my father was a WWII Veteran.  I am proud that my husband was a Viet Nam Veteran.  I am proud of all those who have offered their lives for the freedom our country represents.  I am proud of those who continue to fight for our freedom, and pray that someday they will all come home.  I pray that we will be able to continue to represent a land of opportunity, one where we all live in peace and in times of peril, there will continue to be brave men and women who feel as deeply as those of past days and take their ranks in the military.

I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America; and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

Mt Pleasant flags

I am so grateful that the cemeteries in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, no matter how small that they might be, flew the United States of American Flag proudly for those who gave their lives for all that this great nation!


Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country (American Legends) By Monte Bona


legends lore and true tales in mormon country














Monte Bona, along with the collaborative efforts of talented professionals have given us an authentic view of those brave men, women and children who left their homes, family, wealth, and country to establish the communities in South Central Utah.

The powerful stories of the early settlers in the region that is now identified by the Congressional designation as the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, are touching, informative, and compelling

These pioneers certainly left a legacy that illustrates a structure that was steeped in  codes of conduct, traditions, and  principles that everyone embraced for the sole purpose of succeeding in a somewhat hostile environment.  Their stories come to life as you read of their inventiveness, cooperation,  conscientiousness, and pure resilience.     You will also be moved stories of with miracles that occurred..

Many may be interested to learn that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons were not the only secular group that assisted with the settling  of Utah.   Jewish settlements, and contributions of a Presbyterian Minister, were instrumental.   There were great sacrifices, large doses of humility, and traditional morals that were all combined to make their efforts a true success.

I have a great appreciation for the time intensive work completed by Monte Bona that has gone into producing Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country (American Legends).  It is commendable that such an undertaking has been made to tell their stories. What a great job he has done!

The pictures are an added bonus, they help to recreate the trials, tribulations and the triumphs of  the early pioneers.  Mr. Bona has done a tremendous job in compiling this must have book for those who seek to find their family history, and a great resource for future generations.  Without a doubt this is a book that you will read, reread, share, and  retell the stories, legends, lore and true tales to everyone.  I highly recommend this book to all who seek the true tales in Mormon Country.


Bryce Canyon National Park, The Wonder of the “Hoodoos”

Bryce Canyon is another great National Park that has beauty beyond description, come experience the wonder during National Park Week.

Bryce Canyon Natural Bridge Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and
Bryce Canyon Natural Bridge Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and

Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer assisted in the settlement of southwestern Utah and northern Arizona.  He came to the area in 1875 to harvest timber and live.  He settled behind what is now Bryce Canyon National Park, located in the southwestern part of the state of Utah.  His neighbors would call the canyon behind his home “Bryce’s Canyon.”  In 1928 it was given the designation of a state park. Bryce Canyon National Park is a small park, 56 square miles, by the standards of the National Parks.Bryce Canyon in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

What is famous about Bryce Canyon?

Bryce Canyon, with its acclaimed geology, countless colors of varying hues, and amphitheaters shaped as horseshoes, cut out the eastern edge of  the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah.    With the power of nature the rainwater and the frost moisture dissolved to shape and affect the color of the limestone to create various shapes of “hoodoos,” slot canyons, windows, spires, and fins.  The miraculous natural tinting of the stones and a power that is unexplanable, has colored and arranged capriciously the rocks to have created a wonderland landscape of mazes.  Those that have taken a walk along this wonderland have experienced a memorable and exciting memory.

Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of Kreig Rasmussen Photograpy
Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of Kreig Rasmussen Photograpy

With the meadows located in the high elevations of the plateau, the foliage is abundant  and the wildlife flourishes.  The plateau has also been deemed as one of the world’s best air quality.  The rim affords a panoramic view of approximately 200 miles in a three state radius.  It is also known as one of the best stargazing locations due to a very small light sources.

Bryce Canyon Forest Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and
Bryce Canyon Forest Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and

The marvel of the “hoodoos” were described by the Paiutes as the “Legend People” that were turned to stone by Coyote.  The geological term for “hoodoo” is a pillar of rock, usually fantastic shape, left by erosion.  It is also known that “hoodoo” means to cast a spell.

Fairyland Point Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and
Fairyland Point Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and

Within the Bryce Canyon National Park, erosion has been created with the fun, whimsical  “hoodoos.”  Geologists have an answer, they state that millions of years ago whatever forces were present on Mother Earth, moved these cute enormous objects that were named Aquarius and Paunsaugunt Plateaus.  Today, the rock layers of the Aquarius now reach 2,000 feet above the Paunsaugunt’s same layers.

Aquarius Plateau in Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
Aquarius Plateau in Bryce Canyon National Park Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

The ancient rivers’ flow took to carving out the tops and formed the edges of the large rocks.  Layers were removed and this brought about the chiseling and sculpted forms.  This brought about the creation of the Paria Valley and then later caused the widening of the plateaus.

Thor's Hammer Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and
Thor’s Hammer Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and

No matter what the cause, these wondrous shapes have certainly cast their spell for all that have ever visited, and those that wish to visit.

Hiking trail to Mossy Cave Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and
Hiking trail to Mossy Cave Photo Courtesy of Pam Burt and

Come experience the beauty and wonder of this magnificent landscape that only exists in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Share your favorite story and photos, upload your photos on your social media #findyourpark #findyourstory.

Boulder Loop

The Boulder Loop begins and ends on Utah Heritage Highway 89 but changes its route through amazing and breathtaking By-Ways 12 and 24.

Boulder Loop Byway 12 mapScenic By-Way 12 is considered by many as one of the most beautiful highways in the world.  Here you will discover the areas of Bryce Canyon National Park.   An awe-inspiring and memorable experience awaits you on the journey through the Grand Staircase and the Canyons of the Escalante, Anasazi State Park Museum and Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.

HWY 12 Bryce NTL Park
Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service and Pam Burt

As you venture through the Scenic By-Way discovering the most isolated towns in not only Utah but in America will add to your experience of Utah’s charm.  Excitement and delight will abound you as you visit the local artists, potters, and woodworkers will astound and amaze.

Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Tour Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos, horses, stargazing, and geology lessons are just the beginning of your adventure in Bryce Canyon National Park.   Here you might want to spend a week or get an introduction for a future visit.  View the archetypal “hoodoo-iferious” terrain.  These odd-shaped rock pillars that have been formed due to nature and time erosion are next to impossible to truly describe.

bryce canyon national park
Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Not only will you be amazed by the hoodoos, you can also experience a forest of stone and a cave without a roof.  Thor’s Hammer is a favorite site in the park.

Bryce ntl park Thor's Hammer
Photo  Courtesy of the National Park Service

Inside the Boulder Loop, there is something exciting and amazing for all ages.  Horseback trails, hiking guides, telescope stargazing, moonlit guided tours, ranger programs, junior ranger program and the shuttle system are all within the Bryce Canyon National Park Service.

Virtual Auto Tours are a welcome tool to plan your trip to the National Park.

Grand Staircase National Monument / Canyons of Escalante

Grand Staircase signageThe Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument encompasses almost 9 million acres of America’s public land.  This is the only National Monument under the direction of the BLM.  These picturesque cliffs and terraces spans the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau, to the majestic wonders of the Escalante River Canyons.

The uniqueness of the Monument thrills and delights the first time visitors, awe-inspires historians, fascinates the biologists involved in scientific research, excites the paleontologists, provides incredible opportunities for the archeologists, geologists marvel in the formations of Neon Canyon, and are astounded with the unlimited exploration and educational opportunities.  This is truly a place of interest for everyone.


Anasazi State Park

You will be tempted to succumb to a guided horse pack trip or want to schedule a 4-wheel vehicle trip along the western cowboy trails.

Boulder Loop Anasazi state park museum signageA fascinating and educational experience awaits you at the Anasazi State Park.  Here you will discover one of the largest Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) communities that can be found west of the Colorado River.  This ancient Native American village is believed to have been inhabited around 1160 to 1235 AD and had approximately 200 persons housed here.

Photo Courtesy of Anasazi State Park Museum, Jenna Dickson, and the Utah Valley University
Photo Courtesy of Anasazi State Park Museum, Jenna Dickson, and the Utah Valley University

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

The Escalante Petrified Forest State Park hosts large petrified logs, exhibits an array of dinosaur bones and marine fossils.

Boulder Loop Escalante Petrififed forest signageLocated at the Wide Hollow Reservoir, the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is an outdoorsmen’s dream.  This reservoir is perfect of water sports, boating, fishing, and canoeing.  The park has many RV sites, a developed campground, a group gathering area, and an appealing picnic area.  The marked hiking trail will take you on an wondrous adventure through the petrified forest.

The Visitors’ Center contains remnants dating over 100 million years of dinosaur bones and fossilized petrified wood.

Copy of Kodachrome-basin Boulder Loop

The Boulder Mountain Loop tour encompasses these exciting heritage communities in Wayne County:

Capitol reef hamburger rocks
Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Scenic By-Way 24

Capitol Reef Country Scenic By-Way 24 extends nearly one hundred miles from Loa to Hanksville, through Capitol Reef National Park, Capitol Reef Natural Bridge, and Fruita Rural Historic District.

Capitol Reef National Park

A spectacular must-see geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) is situated in south-central Utah in the heart of the red rock country of Capitol Reef National Park.

capitol reef moonrise henry mtns
Photo Courtesy of the National Park Servic

This mystifying setting will mesmerize one’s senses with hidden bridges, winding canyons, cliffs, and enormous domes in the Waterpocket Fold.  Intrigued visitors have been awed with the monoliths and sandstone spires.  The 10,000 feet of sedimentary strata is found here.  The rocks have an age range from Permian, 270 million years, to Cretaceous, 80 million years.

Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center

Offers a wealth of information for all; campers of all ages and passions find the perfect campsite that the park provides.

capitol reef campgrounds
Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

Fruita Rural Historic District

Fruita_Rural_Historic_DistrictThis area was not explored until 1872 when Mormon settlers took up residence in the high plateau lands west of Capitol Reef.  There they established communities for short season animal grazing and farming.  The origin of Fruita was located at the junction of the Sulphur Creek and the Fremont River.  The first landholder was Nels Johnson.  There were not more than 10 families that resided in this community.  It was known for its orchards, but the Mormon settlers grew sorghum, vegetables and alfalfa.  Price and Richfield greatly benefited in the fruit crops as the fruit growers would harvest the fruit before maturation and hauled their crops via wagons heavy laden with the bounty of  their labors.

Fruita was one of the most isolated communities in America before the middle of the 20th Century.

Follow Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area’s board Boulder Loop on Pinterest.









Pioneer Day ‘Birthday Bash’ Celebrates Mt. Pleasant’s Founding Fathers and U.S. Highway 89 Designation

DATE 03/13/2007 12:41 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Pioneer Day ‘Birthday Bash’ Celebrates Mt. Pleasant’s Founding Fathers
and U.S. Highway 89 Designation

Mt. Pleasant City is throwing a party March 24 for its founding fathers and to celebrate the designation of U.S. Highway 89 as a national historical designation.

“Every year, we honor the people who made this city what it is today with a special Pioneer Day luncheon,” says Joann Winward, a member of the Mt. Pleasant Historical Association, which sponsors the annual event.

“This year, we have another thing to celebrate: the passage of the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage area, which recognizes the historical significance and heritage of U.S. Highway 89. So we decided to make the highway the theme of this year’s party.”

The theme of the luncheon is “Keep on Truckin’ Down U.S. Highway 89.” The event starts at 11 a.m. with a box lunch at at noon at the South Ward “Yellow Church,” 295 S. State Street in Mt. Pleasant.

U.S. Highway 89 has a rich history in Sanpete County, Winward says. It was the route the region’s early settlers used in 1860 to take cattle for the winter to Sevier Valley. In 1862, oats were delivered to Ruby Valley by wagons and oxen teams via this route, and it soon became the main road for mail delivery.

In July of 1861, Brigham Young authorized spending $4,000 from tithing funds to complete U.S. Highway 89 so that it ran from Sanpete County to Spanish Fork, and it officially opened to the public in 1882.

Today, the cities and towns in the six-county area are the best remaining example of how Mormon pioneers colonized the west. A bill establishing the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area was signed into law by President George W. Bush last fall. Many local residents spent years working on the measure and even helped draft the original bill.

The national designation recognizes the history, architecture and culture along “the heritage highway,” and includes U.S. Highway 89 from Fairview to Kanab, the Boulder Loop (state highways 12 and 24), the All-American Road (highway 12) and the six counties through which the route passes: Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.

“In my time, boys could hitch hike along U.S. Highway 89 to visit girls in the surrounding towns of Fairview and Spring City,” Winward says. “By the time we graduated form high school, we would ‘drag’ the highway in our cars.”

People are invited to swap stories about the highway, and the region’s history in general, during the Pioneer Day luncheon. The event will also include a reception, silent auction, bake sale, and musical performances by the Snow College L.D. Singers. Cost for the box lunch is $7. There will also be copies of Mt. Pleasant history books for purchase.

“There is a little bit of something for everyone,” Winward says. “It’s a way for us to honor the pioneers who settled the area. We invite anyone who has ever lived in Mt. Pleasant to attend, and anyone who is interested in Mt. Pleasant to attend.”

The annual celebratory lunch is one of the two main programs supported by the Mt. Pleasant Historical Association. The group also looks after Relic House, a museum that displays relics ranging from pioneer quilts and clothing to blacksmith shop tools and equipment. Relic House was one of the first homes in Mt. Pleasant to be built outside of the fort that housed the area’s first settlers. It was built by William S. Seely, who was the first LDS bishop and also the town’s first mayor.

Mt. Pleasant City was officially founded in 1859. Nearly two-thirds of the city’s earliest settlers were Scandinavian pioneers who immigrated to Utah from Canada, the United States and England.

# # #

For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Everett Ruess Celebrations Honor Lost Adventurer


This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Everett Ruess Celebrations Honor Lost Adventurer

The towns of Boulder and Escalante are holding their second “Everett Ruess Days” celebrations Oct. 6 to 8. The now annual event is in honor of the 20-year-old adventurer who disappeared in the rugged canyons near Escalante in 1934. His fate has remained a mystery. Ruess set out alone several times to experience the beauty and fury of nature in the American West, particularly Utah’s “Red Rock” country. During the 1930s, he met and discussed art with painter Maynard Dixon, and with well-known photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Dorothea Lange.

The festival that carries his name includes events that represent things he loved: fine art, crafts, music and folk dancing.

Events begin Thursday, Oct. 6, in Boulder featuring Western arts and crafts on display at the Anasazi State Park and a series of speakers and lectures who will discuss Ruess’ life and projects. A plaque will be dedicated to Everett Ruess at the Burr Trail Grill at 5 p.m. and there will be music and dancing that night at the Mountain Lodge.

Events in Escalante will be on Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8, at the City Hall and Community Hall. They include an arts and crafts exhibit and sale, films, ethnic dance groups, walking tours of nearby historical buildings, art workshops, public lectures, a Dutch oven cook off, performances by cowboy poets and musicians. The band “Blue Sage” will perform at Escalante High School at 8 p.m., sponsored by the Utah Arts Council.

Saturday, there will be an art exhibit, cowboy poetry starting at 11 a.m., painting classes, dance and music performances, a silent action and art awards. Local residents will reenact the trials of their ancestors in the play “Last Wagon” and the Hole in the Rock Expedition, which tells the story of the wagon train that came though Escalante 125 years ago. The play will be performed at the Escalante High School Auditorium at 8 p.m. All events are free to the public.

For a complete schedule, visit the website .
For information, call (435) 826-4810.

# # #

For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

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