The first settlers were, of course, Native American Indians. Anasazi and Hopi tribes lived in what is now Capitol Reef National Park and Boulder Mountain. You can view petroglyphs inside Capitol Reef (especially along the board walk) and in lots of other places nearby. Drive into Fish Creek Cove and see more rock art up close. Then take the road up to the town of Boulder and visit the Anasazi Museum.
Right next to the petroglyphs you will likely see names of early explorers and pioneers. Utah has a rich pioneer heritage. Most of the early settlements succeeded, but many of them failed. Boomtowns came and went, and entire towns were abandoned for various reasons. You can visit these ghost towns and wander around the ruins. Check this post for more info.
Utah is also famous for its Old West outlaw lore. Butch Cassidy and his gangs frequented the area to lie low for a while. They liked to hide in the Waterpocket Fold (the southern district of Capitol Reef) and in places like Little Crazy Horse Canyon (near Goblin Valley State Park.) Check out the Robber’s Roost in Torrey, Utah, they offer detailed information about Butch Cassidy and other outlaws.
This area is wild and remote. It was one of the last explored and mapped regions in the United States. It was only opened up to visitors in the last fifty years. The legends and myths of the area are fascinating. And we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch can claim a little connection to the past. We are located on the site of an old stagecoach way station.