In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2012 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Off-road travel, Panguich Lake
A beautiful alpine lake at 8,300 ft. elev. halfway between Cedar Breaks and the town of Panguich in the desert southwest. Look for Rt. 143 as it is the main road to these places. There are other ways to get there, and here are two of them. Both leave the town of Paragonah on the west side of the mountains and slowly climb from 5,700 ft. to elevations over 9,000 ft. We took this trip on a week day and never saw another vehicle till we got near Panquich lake.
One way up the mountains is to take Center St. out of Paragonah (going east) which turns into Red Creek Canyon Road and eventually will bring you to Red Creek Reservoir, pictured here. The other way would be to take Little Creek Canyon Rd. out of Paragonah. Both of these roads bring you to the main road to Panguich Lake, Horse Valley Road. Either way it will take you about 2.5 hours to travel the 24 miles.
The Garmin GPS track provided here shows both roads up the mountains to the lake and also shows the main highway back down the mountain to Parowan through Cedar Breaks and Brian Head. Beautiful scenery all the way.
Dixie National Forest, Wikimapia Map
An interactive map of the Dixie National Forest
This is the start of the road up Little Creek Canyon. The road up Red Creek Canyon is even nicer than this road, in the beginning. After Red Creek Reservoir it gets a little narrower and in bad weather could become quite a mess. The Little Creek Canyon Road has a warning sign just as you turn onto Horse Valley Road. So please take heed.
This is a very short video showing what the road conditions are like once you get onto Horse Valley Road. Horse Valley Road is where you start the really steep climb to the higher elevations and the scenery is just great. A lot of cattle are pastured here in the warmer months.
On the way up Little Creek Canyon Road you'll see quite a few nice rock formations. On the GPS track you'll also note that the Hurricane Fault crosses the road here. This is a major fault line that runs for 177 miles from the Colorado River up along the Hurricane Cliffs (where the fault got it's name) and then farther north.
Looking into Bear Valley at the same elevation as the valley you'll likely run into quite a few cattle, so drive carefully. Even though they are fenced, many have gotten out and are either on or next to the roads. This is the start of Horse Valley Road.
As soon as you get on Horse Valley Road you'll start to climb up into the mountains. This view is also of Bear Valley but from a much higher elevation. This is a pretty isolated area. There are other roads here also that will take you right into the Bear Valley and northeast through the mountains to Rt. 20
We saw quite a few camps like this one set up in the mountains. Usually you think of these as being sheep camps, although we only saw cattle on this trip.
Horse Valley Road has many, many intersecting roads, as shown here. Too many to explore in one day. Most of this area is heavily forested.
It will be obvious when you get into Horse Valley. You'll see some old cabins like this one with an outhouse. Built quite some time ago, these look to still be in use today. Here again there are many roads here to be explored. We did see one deer here, but couldn't get a photo of it.
Right off of Horse Valley Road there are many campsites and a few homes. Some like this one are under construction. All part of progress?
Coming out of the forest this is the first place where you can pull over and get a view of Panguich Lake. This is not visible from the road but is shown on the GPS Track as an Overlook. Lpson Creek and Lpson Falls are just below this overlook.
Red Creek Reservoir
Little Creek Canyon
Horse Valley Road
This is a really neat trip in some of the higher elevations in the desert. If you're near Panguich Lake or Parowan/Paragonah, Utah then this would be a nice way to spend the day. There are many side roads that also look interesting.