Old Town Paria Ghost Town & Movie Set

Paria River Valley Road
This short track descends from the junction with US 89 (milepost 31) into a valley with the remains of the Pahreah ghost town plus the site of a 1930’s movie set, both surrounded by amazingly colorful rocks. The road is 6 miles long, and becomes rather steep and twisting near the end, as it crosses the undulating banded hills that cover this area. The cliffs at either side are equally layered and multi-colored, with alternating red, white, purple and grayish-blue strata, part of the Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation. There is a large parking area to accommodate the occasional tour buses that used to visit the area; the track continues another mile but deteriorates as it crosses a dry wash a couple of times, passes the old Paria Cemetery which has about 20 graves, their inscriptions faded and illegible, and enters the wide valley of the Paria River. The original Pahreah townsite is located just across the river but very little remains today – just a few stone foundations and remains of wooden fences. The settlement was established in 1869 but abandoned 40 years later because of frequent floods of the river, which flows along a wide valley that is often completely dry in summer but covered in places by an extensive plain of white salt crystals, left from evaporation of the last of the spring flash floods. There are many possible hikes starting from this area, including the route to Starlight Canyon.
The few scattered wooden buildings of the movie set were situated just beyond the parking area, and featured in many films including some scenes of The Outlaw Josey Wales. They had quite an authentic appearance due to many years of ageing in the desert sun, until in 1999 they were deemed too unstable and all were dismantled, the timbers being saved for future restoration projects elsewhere. In 2000 two replicas of the largest buildings were erected in their place but these were burned down in August 2006.
Paria River Valley Road -

Paria River Valley Road - Movie Set

This short track descends from the junction with US 89 (milepost 31) into a valley with the remains of the Pahreah ghost town plus the site of a 1930’s movie set, both surrounded by amazingly colorful rocks. The road is 6 miles long, and becomes rather steep and twisting near the end, as it crosses the undulating banded hills that cover this area. The cliffs at either side are equally layered and multi-colored, with alternating red, white, purple and grayish-blue strata, part of the Petrified Forest Member of the Chinle Formation.

Old Town Paria Marker

Old Town Paria Marker

There is a large parking area to accommodate the occasional tour buses that used to visit the area; the track continues another mile but deteriorates as it crosses a dry wash a couple of times, passes the old Paria Cemetery which has about 20 graves, their inscriptions faded and illegible, and enters the wide valley of the Paria River. The original Pahreah townsite is located just across the river but very little remains today – just a few stone foundations and remains of wooden fences.

The settlement was established in 1869 but abandoned 40 years later because of frequent floods of the river, which flows along a wide valley that is often completely dry in summer but covered in places by an extensive plain of white salt crystals, left from evaporation of the last of the spring flash floods. There are many possible hikes starting from this area, including the route to Starlight Canyon.

The few scattered wooden buildings of the movie set were situated just beyond the parking area, and featured in many films including some scenes of The Outlaw Josey Wales. They had quite an authentic appearance due to many years of ageing in the desert sun, until in 1999 they were deemed too unstable and all were dismantled, the timbers being saved for future restoration projects elsewhere. In 2000 two replicas of the largest buildings were erected in their place but these were burned down in August 2006.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: