Here in southern Utah, it’s easy to be wooed by the stunning desert landscapes. Our incredible terrain is marked by canyons, cliffs, dunes, arches, red rock formations, even snow-topped peaks.
But just as beautiful as the landscape itself are the cultures that grew and thrived here for thousands of years. Southern Utah is rich in Native American culture and history, from ancient dwelling sites to traditional and contemporary art. You can enjoy the beauties of nature with your family while also immersing yourself in culture and history.
Check out some of these places to see and appreciate our area’s native heritage.
- Anasazi State Park was home to a large community of Anasazi cliff-dwellers. The park has an ancient Anasazi village preserved and mostly unexcavated, as well as a life-size replica of an Anasazi dwelling for visitors to explore.
- Edge of the Cedars State Park in Blanding includes the ruins of a Puebloan village built at least 800 years ago. There’s also a museum on site that displays ancient artifacts from the area.
- Hovenweep National Monument is another site for ancient Puebloan ruins.
- Parowan Gap, located just northwest of Parowan, is a natural wind gap that also happens to align perfectly with the setting of the sun on the summer solstice. It’s also a site with many petroglyphs (art carved into the rock). Every summer solstice, locals come to hear experts talk about its history and significance and watch the sun set through the gap.
- In Nine-Mile Canyon you can take a 50-mile drive through a canyon covered in spectacular ancient rock art that’s been featured by National Geographic. It’s a trip back in time, away from modern civilization, and an absolute must-see.
Native Traditions Here and Now
Southern Utah’s Native culture isn’t just about the past. There are people from many Native American tribes living here today and carrying on the amazing artistic traditions of their ancestors. Supporting local, native artists not only helps ensure these cultures will continue into the future, but it gives you unique, local beauty to add to your own home.
Here are just a few of the best places to find the highest quality, authentic, traditional Native art.
- Twin Rocks Trading Post in Bluff, Utah, on the edge of the Navajo reservation here in Utah. Here you’ll find beautiful, traditional, and innovative art by native artists. They sell stunning Navajo-made rugs and baskets as well as pottery and jewelry from a number of tribes.
- BuyIndian.com is located in Gallup, New Mexico, on the Navajo reservation. You can order their beautiful, unique, Native-made pieces online.
- Tribal Arts in Springdale isn’t far from St. George—just outside the entrance to Zion National Park.
Don’t worry, there are more. Never be afraid to ask if the items you’re looking at are authentic and made by Native American artists.
So take some time to explore the beauties of the past, present, and future of southern Utah’s Native American peoples. You won’t be disappointed.