When we left Zion National Park, we decided to spend a night boondocking near the Paria Ghost Town in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
We had added a few options to our planning map that looked pretty doable if the roads were passable, but with the snow on Utah’s clay roads, you never know ahead of time what you’re going to find this time of year.
Luck was on our side, and we tucked into an amazing little spot far enough off of 89 to have no noise, but not so far in that we risked getting too stuck if the weather went south.
The clay at the site got more and more gooey as the day warmed up, and we noted that we’d want to get an early start outbound tomorrow while everything was frozen hard.
There’s something pretty awesome about being able to set up camp and then head out the door for some amazing hiking.
The Paria Ghost Town was founded by early Mormons who thought that the soft fertile soil from the Paria River made great and easy farming.
They soon found out that the river flooded easily and wiped out their settlement time and time again, finally abandoning it.
In the 1940s a location scout picked the site for a Western movie, and it was used fairly regularly for the next couple decades as a film site, despite difficulties with the flooding river.
Speaking of the flooding river, we wandered up and down it but weren’t able to find a good place to cross it to see the few remaining structures. The water was flowing fast and icy, and with the amount of ice covering all of the surrounding stones it wasn’t a good idea to try rock hoppping. Maybe next time.

Orange Roads

Orange Roads at Paria Ghost Town
It’s a little unnerving driving down orange clay roads with snow and other unknown hazards ahead.


Color Folds

Color Folds at Paria Ghost Town
Color and texture.


Candy Mountains

Candy Mountains
The mountains look like layers of candy.


Walk Out The Door

Walk Out The Door to Paria Ghost Town
Amazing having this right out the back door of the camper!


Riverside

Riverside
We never did find a good spot to cross the Paria River to get to the few structures still standing.


The Butte

The Butte
So many impressive landforms surrounding us.


Stripes

Paria Ghost Town Stripes
Color-coordinated Stripes


Colorful Campsite

Colorful Campsite
This wins hands-down as the most colorful boondocking spot we’ve ever had.


Morning Freeze

Morning Freeze
We awoke to a bitter morning freeze, enough frost that you can’t see the black solar panels on the roof.