Category Archives: Districts


The Headwaters District of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area begins at the southern tip of Sevier County and travels down Utah Heritage Highway 89 to Long Valley Junction, where it meets Highway 14 and the Cedar Breaks Byway.

fish lake
National Forest Service

Here you will discover along the western border of the District the Tushar Range, it is the highest range in Southeastern Utah.  This Heritage District includes parts of the Sevier Plateau and the Parker Range, along with the Sevier River Valley and the Grass Valley.


National Forest Service

It was named as such for the commonality of the Sevier River, and its tributaries that flow through the many communities.  For each drop of rain or a single snowflake that falls into the Headwaters or the Sevier River and its tributaries, will become a tiny drip, a small trickle, a moving stream, a flowing torrent, a river giving life to Southern Utah.  The communities in Headwaters share this common bond.  Each has its own distinctive traditions and are as unique as the banks from which the water flows through them.


For those looking for numerous great outdoor recreational opportunities, there are year round activities that await you in the Tushar Mountain Range.  These 12,000 foot-high mountains which rise above timberline are the remains of an ancient volcano.  Wildlife is plentiful, including mountain goats who feel right at home on these mountains.

Those looking for a scenic drive to/from Sevier to Kanab are invited to embark on a for a 127 mile trip, as featured by the US Route 89 Appreciation Survey, America’s Most Scenic Road Trip.

The Paiute ATV Trail spans 278 miles. Nearly 80 percent of the trail is dirt roads with the remaining 20 percent being trail sections.  This well-known trail passes through four counties, three mountain ranges, four communities, and adds an additional 550 miles that have access to side trails into 12 communities.

tushar mountains west of Marysvale headwatersIn the winter, enjoy the thrill of the snow packed mountains that are perfect for downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as snowmobiling.  Ice fishing is aplenty in the Otter Creek and Piute Lake State Parks.  Summer fun awaits the outdoor enthusiast with unlimited boating, fishing, hiking, biking, rafting, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and rock hounding, in the paradise of the Tushar Mountains, Fishlake National Forest, and Dixie National Forests.

Photo Courtsey of Kreig Rasmussen Photography
Photo Courtesy of  Kreig Rasmussen Photography

Fall transforms the forest into a blazing color display by Mother Nature with displays of the vibrant colors of the golden Aspens, accompanied by the rich forest greens of Red Pine, White Pine, and Spruce trees.

For the adventurous of a different sort, there are many tales of lost gold, outlaws and their hiding places, posses chasing bandits, and noteworthy tales of  Butch Cassidy.

Butch CassidyCircleville is the location of the Maximillian and Ann Campbell Gillies Parker cabin. These English immigrants and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came to the Utah Territory in the late 1850’s. The first of their 13 children was Robert Leroy Parker, named after his grandfather and later became known as  Butch Cassidy.

butch cassidy home

gold miners headwatersThis District has a rich history of hard-working and enduring miners.  Family histories are full of stories about the early settlers who traveled to bring provisions to their starving families. There were times when the snow was so deep and heavily pack that to navigate through the mountains they had to walk on handmade quilts to get through to their families.

Long Valley was once a community that lived faithfully by the United Order which was an early economical system in which the community shared their resources with each other.

No matter the lifestyle in the communities today, they are all bonded together everywhere by the water that flows from the mountain tops, to the mountain streams, then finally runs to the rivers, and on to the valleys.

Big Rock Candy MountainOn the edge of Sevier Valley and the beginning of Headwaters District, you will discover the magic of the Big Rock Candy Mountain located a few miles north of Marysvale.  The colorful volcanic rock in rich shades of red, orange, yellow, and white is the result of clustered strato-volcanoes which erupted.   This eruption resulted in deposits of enormous amounts of lava and ash flow.  These volcanoes are considered to be much the same as Mount St. Helens in Washington.  These 3,000 feet thick volcanic rocks are known as the Bullion Canyon Volcanics.

The geological wonders of the region are a definite sight to behold.  Located within the Fishlake National Forest, mineral deposits of Uranium, Alunite, Gold, Silver, Lead, Zinc, Tale, Mercury, Perlite, and Manganese are spectacular and plentiful.

Among the many sites to see in the Headwaters District include:

National Monument:

 National Forest:

US forest service




State Parks:ut_sa_logo_290_thumb[2]



Preserve America and Main Street Community:

 National Historic Sites and District:

 Historic Buildings and Pioneer Sites:

  • Alton Shakespear Coal Mine
  • John & Ella Morrill House, 1895, Junction
  • Kimberly Ghost Town
  • Natural History Museum/Pioneer Museum
  • Pines Hotel, 1882, Marysvale
  • Piute County Courthouse, 1903, Junction
  • Widstoe Schoolhouse, c. 1908

Cities in the Headwaters District

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

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.









Districts of the MPNHA – Southern Utah Tourism

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area consists of five Districts, each of which offers a wealth of natural wonders, rich history and friendly towns which can transport their visitors to the past.  Recreational activities are plentiful which include snow-kiting, ATV trails, hiking, horseback riding, fishing and camping.  Included in the districts of the area are some of the best offerings of southern Utah tourism available!

Enjoy scenic vistas as you travel through the wonders which are found in the Boulder Loop, including Bryce Canyon, The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Anasazi State Park.

Photo Courtsey of Kreig Rasmussen Photography
Photo Courtsey of Kreig Rasmussen Photography

As the name of this district suggests, water is plentiful and the rivers run clear.  Fishing is a popular activity and enjoyed by many.  For those with a historical bent, the childhood home of outlaw Butch Cassidy is located within the Headwaters District.

Visitors to Little Denmark are charmed by the small town life of communities such as Mt. Pleasant.  Ephraim is home to Snow College, which is regularly rated in the top 10 colleges in the US and is currently ranked as the best two-year college in the United States.  The Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti is held annually and draws large family crowds.

Glenwood Co-op Sevier Valley District of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

Sevier County is rugged country in which real cowboys work the land which often has been in their families for generations.  Communities in Sevier County are rich in charm and history with a touch of the old west.

Southern Utah Tourism options
Photo Courtesy of

Movie buffs can recognize sites from their favorite movies in the Under the Rim District.  This area has long been used by Hollywood to depict the Old West.  Zion National Park is visited by thousands of people each year and offers returning visitors as much as those who’ve never set eyes upon this spectacular landscape, which was considered to be sacred land to the Native Americans.


Skip to content

On this website we use first or third-party tools that store small files (cookie) on your device. Cookies are normally used to allow the site to run properly (technical cookies), to generate navigation usage reports (statistics cookies) and to suitable advertise our services/products (profiling cookies). We can directly use technical cookies, but you have the right to choose whether or not to enable statistical and profiling cookies. Enabling these cookies, you help us to offer you a better experience.