The Parowan Gap is located about 20 minutes from Minersville. It is right off Minersville Highway, halfway between Minersville and Cedar City. The Parowan Gap features beautiful petroglyphs that have been around many years. Some people consider the petroglyphs to be just random drawings, but it seems there is something much more to these writings than that. The most notable of the geometric forms is the Zipper Glyph:
They say the Zipper Glyph illustrates a map of travels. This petroglyph is said to feature a map symbolizing the time taken and the journey path taken. People who have studied the petroglyphs have declared that the petroglyphs are solar and lunar calendars. There is nothing official about the marks, but they are still under the theories are still under review. The entire gap features many of these petroglyphs that can be seen up close.
How it was created:
Approximately 15 million years ago, a long slender section of sedimentary rock sheared from the earth’s crust along parallel fault lines. This up-thrown block, later name the Red Hills, began to inch its way above the surrounding valley floor. At the same time the block was rising, a stream was cutting a path perpendicularly across the ridge. For millions of years the uplifting of the ridge and the down-cutting of the stream remained in equilibrium.
Eventually, the relentless rise of the ridge and the drying of the region’s climate combined forces to defeat the stream. The stream disappeared and the valley became a waterless wind gap. Continued erosion by wind and rain have shaped the gap into the pass seen today.
In 1849 Parley P. Pratt led an expedition from the north into what is now known as Parowan Valley. The expedition was to scout out places for new settlements. They set up camp for winter and while exploring the canyons in the area, discovered the petroglyphs. The discovery was recorded by Robert Campbell in his journal. Chief Walker told these explorers that the place was “God’s Own House”.
Parowan gap was soon used by white settlers as an access route. Just west of the gap narrows and about five miles south was a marshy lake that was important to the Indians and white settlers. This lake became known as Rush Lake. A spring flowed out from the lava mountain providing fresh water for a host of water fowl and other small animals.
For some time the gap narrows was used as a rock quarry and a single lane road was built though it. Eventually, improvements needed to be made and in 1963 many of the large stones were cleared away and even one large boulder covered with petroglyphs and known as the “Hotel” was blasted into pieces. A number of others were also blasted destroying a number of choice drawings. It has been estimated that as little as one half of the cultural record was destroyed since the time of the Parley P. Pratt expedition.
The gap from Minersville Highway (if you can see it. It’s on the right hand side of the road on the mountain side).