Gateway to Bryce Canyon National Park, the quintessential town of Panguitch itself is one of the main reasons to visit south-central Utah.
The 6 Main Reasons to Visit Panguitch, Utah: Places to See and Things to Do
It’s too small to spend more than a day exploring only landmarks located within the city. In winter, the town gets too cold to linger outside for long. Yet its cultural and historic heritage and natural attractions nearby are too irresistible to skip the city while exploring south-central Utah.
Surrounded by remarkable lakes and Utah’s prominent mountains, Panguitch instantly ignites your wanderlust. Before you know it, a visit to quintessential Panguitch becomes your priority. Indeed, the small town with the history bigger than itself deserves all this attention and admiration. Recognized as a national historic district, it astounds with its rich historic heritage that traces its roots to early Mormon settlers.
Year-round fishing and exceptional summer boating draw hordes of nature enthusiasts to Panguitch. Hikers venture outside the city to get lost along ample trails in the Dixie National Forest and exclusive zigzagging paths in Bryce Canyon National Park. A rustic vibe and captivating charm of historic downtown Panguitch attract everybody who has a thing for history and fun summer events.
With such an extensive collection of the natural and historic landmarks, Panguitch is a destination that one not only should but can’t afford not to visit. Other reasons to visit Panguitch? Oh, there are plenty of them. So if you ready to get off the popular route, let’s dissect 6 other reasons why you should visit Panguitch.
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THE 6 MAIN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT PANGUITCH, UTAH
1. Attend Panguitch Quilt Walk Event in Summer
If you travel to south-central Utah in summer, be sure to pay a visit to Panguitch. During this time, the town tells its story in quite an unorthodox way. Thousand of quilts resurface in the city center. The bright covers adorn storefronts, residential houses, and even have their own shows.
The Panguitch Quilt Walk, as this unusual event is known, takes place usually in the middle of June. This time of the year was chosen for a reason. The place gets too cold in winter.
Years ago, winter isolation was a great obstacle to visit Panguitch. Yet this was the time when a group of brave men challenged the severity of Utah’s winter and crossed the mountains in deep snow in 1864. The mission went far beyond men’s pride or testing who was stronger. A starving community of Panguitch needed food, and so the strongest locals went to the nearby place to get flour.
The snow was impossible to walk on. The men’s feet were constantly trapped in the thick snowy layer. To move forward, the Panguitch’s residents were paving their way with the quilts. Using one of the covers to stand and walk on, they placed the other in front on the first one. This walk wasn’t easy, but the community was saved.
While the isolation never stands in the way to visit Panguitch during the colder months of the year now, the quilts still symbolize the determination and courage of the first residents of the town.
Today, the Quilt Walk Event goes hand in hand with other celebrations, such as chocolate festivals, quilts shows, parades, and heritage fairs. In other words, the reasons to visit Panguitch in summer are too many and they are too great.
2. Historic Heritage: Visit Downtown Panguitch
The town doesn’t puts on its charm only in June. Visit Panguitch any other time of the year, and you can still enjoy its rich cultural and historic heritage. Similar to many other small towns in the American West, the area keeps its historic buildings scattered around the main street. And here you can witness the passage of time, enjoy the presence of the bygone traditions, all combined with the modern lifestyle.
The historic structures, however, don’t serve only as a mere reminder of the past. They embark on a new role, turning into shops, hotels, and restaurants that pamper and invite the travels to visit Panguitch – just as they were doing centuries ago.
3. Take Part in Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally
The summer season is full of the reasons why you should visit Panguitch. The Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally that is held on the last full weekend of June festoons the sky above the tiny town in Utah with colorful hot air balloons. The spectacular show amuses the visitors of Panguitch on an early Sunday morning every year without exception.
The town gets ready for the dazzling event long before that, though. The highlight of this preparation is Saturday when the main streets get shut down to provide safe environment for the ballooners to inflate their balloons.
Even if you are not a ballooner yourself, your visit to Panguitch doesn’t loose its attractiveness and fun side. Simply ditch your car and explore the center of the city on foot. Live concerts, vendors on every corner, great food, and plenty of activities for families surely set the right pre-show mood.
4. Visit Panguitch Lake Resort
Set about 20 minutes south of the town, Panguitch Lake is one of the biggest reasons to visit the area during a relaxing weekend getaway. At 8,400 feet above sea level, the place astounds with classic mountain views, year-round fishing opportunities, and a myriad of gorgeous hikes.
You can visit Panguitch Lake on a day trip from the city, which most locals do. But it you long for an even more intimate experience, book your stay at the Panguitch Lake Resort. Nestled right on the shore of the lake, the place boasts comfortable cabins that make you feel at home away from home.
Escape the noise of big cities or even the popular national parks (if you visit Utah on weekends), and dive into the secluded realm of Panguitch Lake. Have a picnic by the lake, engage in seasonal horseback riding activities, or hit the slope on your mountain bike.
For a little road trip adventure, explore Cedar Breaks National Monument, Cascade Falls, or Mammoth Cave. All in all, your visit to this side of Panguitch promises to be exciting.
Good to Know: Due to high elevation, the Panguitch Lake Resort keeps the snow and freezing weather longer. Even in April, it can still look like a real winter wonderland.
5. Admire Famous Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park
The biggest reason people all over the world visit Panguitch, though, is its close proximity to Bryce Canyon National Park. Located roughly 30 minutes from one of Utah’s favorite national parks, the town is considered a gateway to the rocky wilderness. For many, it’s a place to base in and explore south-central Utah from here.
Indeed, you can’t ask for a better place to stay near Bryce Canyon National Park, famous for its pointed hoodoos set in and along a large canyon. The remarkable formations are a sight to behold. Looking very similar yet drastically different, like masterpieces of world-renowned artists, the hoodoos display themselves from different points of the natural “amphitheater”.
Several winding trails allow the visitors to get down into the canyon and see the natural wonders up close. For those who’d rather skip the steep hiking trails, leave Panguitch at dawn and visit Sunrise and Sunset Points to feast your eyes of the splendid rock formations at the glorious hours.
6. Leave Panguitch for a Day Visit to Zion National Park
Probably the most popular national park in Utah, Zion National Park pitches in and offers another reason to visit the Panguitch area. The city should be on your itinerary if your travel to Bryce Canyon National Park first and explore the different sites of the state afterwards.
The East Entrance to Zion National Park sits just 1 hour 10 minutes from Panguitch. Although one of the less popular areas in the park, this region has a lot to offer for the oblivious travelers. From towering Checkerboard Mesa to the popular Canyon Overlook Trail, you’re looking at a full day adventure. If you leave Panguitch for the hidden gems of Zion, be sure to visit and hike though Shelf Canyon.
TIP: For those who decide to stay in Panguitch and visit the popular attractions in the main canyon of Zion National Park on a day trip, start your adventures early in the morning. The South Entrance near Springdale sits 2 hours away from Panguitch.
READ MORE: How to Get around Zion National Park: Explore Zion’s Sections by Car, Shuttle, and Bicycle