The old city of Paria was a small western outpost inhabited until the end of the 20s. After being abandoned it became one ghost town and, thanks to the incredible views that can be admired in the area, it has been used as a film set for many successful westerns, including Clint Eastwood's The Texan with the Ice Eyes. Mountain ranges of variegated colors in fact, they will make you believe for a moment that you are on another planet, and will be the background to your journey that will lead you to this hidden place from the multitudes of tourists who flock to southern Utah every year.
I was able to discover this place purely at random when, intrigued by a rest area on my way to Kanab, I embarked on an adventurous detour on my itinerary. This is one of the many advantages of renting a car and tackling an on the road: being able to stop and change your itinerary according to the unexpected discoveries that arise.
Where is it and how to get there
As mentioned, this destination can be reached along a dirt road that starts from a large parking area on the side of the panoramic view Highway 89 which connects the city of Page with that of Kanab.
The place in question on the maps is called in different ways but you will mostly find it as a wording Pariah o Old Paria (not to be confused with Paria Canyon). It is located inside the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and, on the site of the Bureau of Land Management that manages the park, the road ahead is called Old Paria Town Road.
If you decide to venture along this road, some recommendations are necessary: it is recommended to follow it with one suitable machine (SUV or 4 × 4) or that has at least a height above the ground above the norm. In this way you will avoid being in tension for the whole trip (like myself), with the fear that a hole that is too deep will ruin your rental car.
The last part of the route is also a bit more difficult as the ups and downs increase and the carriageway narrows. Self it rains or there has recently been some rainfall definitely avoided this excursion because the road becomes much more dangerous (the area rises on the banks of the Paria River and flash floods are frequent in case of heavy rains) and the mud it may prevent you from continuing.
Although the information sign placed in the lay-by along Highway 89 promised to find the buildings of the perfectly preserved film set, once I arrived at my destination, however, I did not find what was described because the existing buildings, after being rebuilt in 2000, are completely gone. destroyed in a fire.
Even if I had taken this detour just to see the set, I was not in the least disappointed by the discovery because the only view that accompanied me along the way amply deserved the change of program of my itinerary. Rock formations with multicolored layers which, even the photos I took, cannot fully do justice, will accompany you throughout your journey.
A panorama that is certainly unique and also original compared to those that you can observe in the most famous parks in the area such as Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon. Another factor that can be very positive for some type of traveler is that, as mentioned, this area is particularly isolated and therefore you can enjoy the spectacle of nature that surrounds you in perfect tranquility and solitude.
Continuing just beyond the parking area you will arrive atOld Paria Cemetery, a small cemetery with now almost all illegible tombstones, now the only testimony of the people who first lived in this beautiful but also so lonely place. When I arrived at this cemetery, I started to find warning signs advising to proceed only with a 4 × 4 car and then I went back, still very satisfied with the views I was able to admire.
Where to sleep in the area
As mentioned Old Paria it is basically halfway between the cities of Kanab in Utah and Page in Arizona. Depending on your itinerary, one of the two accommodations will certainly be right for you. To get a general idea of the hotel offer of the two cities, you can read our advice on where to sleep in Page e where to sleep in Kanab.