A lot of people who visit Wayne County want to know a little bit more about the history of the area. So we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch gathered some information and compiled a short list of ways you can experience the history first-hand.
The first settlers were, as you can imagine, Native American Indians. Anasazi and Hopi tribes lived in what is now Capitol Reef National Park and throughout the Boulder Mountain area. You can view petroglyphs inside Capitol Reef – which are easily accessible via 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 (which is celebrated statewide on the 24th of July.) Most of the early settlements succeeded, but quite a few of them failed. Boomtowns came and went, and entire settlements 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 hide from the law. There is a ruined cabin located near the Grand Wash of Capitol Reef said to belong to Butch himself. He and his gang liked to stay 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 who frequented the area.
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 sixty 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 waystation.