Sunday, October 29, 2017 (Lone Rock Campground, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah)

Steve and I were very excited about our outing today. We're going sightseeing with Ray and Deb in their places we wouldn't see otherwise because we can't take our truck. So at 9:30 we all piled into the car and headed Johnson Canyon Road which is on the "back-side" of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

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..

That peak looks like it has a chimney...

Looks like a tepee...
The bush in front makes it look like an entrance...

At the end of the line...or at least as far as we were going to go on the gravel road, we could see Bryce Canyon mountains even better...

Returning to hwy 89, we retraced our route and decided to check out Paria River Valley Road. At the entrance to the road, there is a parking area with some interpretive displays.

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 scenic beauty of Paria Canyon is known nationwide. Hikers are drawn to colorful, winding corridors of stone, narrow gorges, and its stunning display of seven major geologic formations exposed like pages of a book.  
The colours are absolutely stunning!

This picture courtesy of Ray...he really brought out the colours using the Lightroom program!

Close up of the formations behind Ray...
We came to the area of the old movie set where there is now a large parking area with picnic area (including an outhouse). Too bad the set was gone but the stunning views certainly make up for it!

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...

After lunch, we continued along the rough road for another mile or so and came across an old cemetery...

The Paria River...and the end of the line..

The rock looks like "popcorn"...

After about 5 hours, we were back home. WOW....what a fabulous day! Now it was time to relax and take in the beauty of Lake Powell...
Now look how small that boat looks against Lone Rock...

Deb cooked dinner tonight...ribs in her Instant Pot (followed by a few minutes on the grill), homemade baked beans...
...and Steve took care of the potatoes in the campfire...

Cheers! A delicious dinner on the beach...can't get much better than that!


  1. Johnson Canyon Road is on my list for our March visit to Lake Powell! I love all the arches and saw lots of potential short hike exploring. Thanks for the idea! Isn't the road to the Paria River just amazing!! We were blown away with our first view of those amazing colors. We've never seen such vibrant colors. We ate lunch in the same spot!!

    1. Love love love our adventures together! :)

    2. John and Pam...yes, we were absolutely stunned by the colours along Paria River Road!

      Ray and too!!

  2. Hi Dianne and Steve, just found you blog on the Rogue less travelled, and checked it out. We have been full-time Canadians from Ontario and now in our 12th year spending most of our winters in the southwest, love the boon docking too. Your if looks familiar, probably have seen in somewhere in our travels.
    Looks like you had a fun day with friends and a wonderful meal as well.

    1. Thanks for tagging along! Deb loves to cook so she keeps us well fed.

  3. Hi Dianne and Steve, We are The Rogue Less Travelled that George (Our awesome travels) spoke about in his comment. We just started this year and read Ray & Deb, saw these pics this morning but didn't know you had a page until someone commented to check you out. Here I am and your blog has been added to my Canadian Blog List on my page. --Katie

    1. Welcome to the lifestyle! Ray and Deb have spoken of you. Take care and safe travels.

  4. Great pictures, looks like a fun adventure.
    Curious, I know you didn't want to take your truck on these roads, would a full size DRW truck be okay or would we need to rent a jeep or something?

    1. Thanks guys! Your truck would be fine. It's just that we're wider, longer and ride like a buck board :-)

    2. Thanks, on our list as we go north next spring☺