Again, Steve took a ton of pictures! The beauty of what we saw today was absolutely incredible. As usual, pictures just don't do justice...
Visitors looking for traces of the Old West spirit in southwestern Utah will enjoy a backcountry drive through scenic Johnson Canyon. The road through the canyon offers breathtaking, changing scenery as you drive past the Vermillion, White, and Pink Cliffs of the Grand Staircase region. Johnson Canyon Road is paved for eighteen miles and then becomes dirt and gravel as it continues through Skutumpah Terrace toward Bull Valley Gorge. Unparalleled views of the White Cliffs can be seen from the north end of the paved road. Adventurous mountain bikers will enjoy riding through this section of the canyon. Another highlight along the way is the old Gunsmoke film set, located about five miles from the US89 turnoff. The set is on private property but can be viewed from the road.
We had no idea that the old Gunsmoke film set was along this road until I did a little research...gee, I wonder if this is it?
We could even see some of the peaks of Bryce Canyon National Park in the distance..
Paria (rhymes with "Maria") or Pahreah, is a ghost town on the Paria River in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in central Kane County, Utah. The area was first settled in 1865 by a Mormon group led by Peter Shirts. This early settlement was named Rockhouse, for Shirts's strongly built sandstone house. After the end of the Black Hawk War in 1867 settlers began to arrive at a rapid pace.
Farming produced good crops for several years, but irrigation was very difficult; each spring the surface runoff water was absorbed into the desert soil too quickly to properly water the fields. In 1870 the residents agreed to move the settlement. They divided in two groups; half the people went about 5 miles (8.0 km) upstream and founded the town of Pahreah.
In later years the film industry became interested in using the picturesque ghost town, with its canyon vista background, as a location for making Westerns. Several scenes for Buffalo Bill were shot here in 1943, but crews were in a constant struggle against the flooding Paria River. Producers of other movies and television programs used Paria more or less throughout the 1950s. Then in 1961 the old ghost town was used as a major location for the Rat Pack film Sergeants 3, the largest western ever filmed in Kane County. Not satisfied with what remained of Paria, the film's creators constructed an imitation Old West town about a mile to the west. Visitors often confused this movie set with the real Paria, as it fell into disuse after the filming of The Outlaw Josey Wales in 1976.
The colours are absolutely stunning!
After more flash flooding severely damaged the set in 1998, a team of volunteers and employees of the Bureau of Land Management disassembled the wreckage and replaced the structures in 1999–2001. New interpretive signs explained the movie set's significance and distinguished it from Paria itself. Then in 2006 the rebuilt set was destroyed by a suspicious fire.
The outhouse is the approximate site of the above building...