Panguitch and I go way back. When I was a kid, my mom, grandma, and great-grandmother would throw my brothers and me in the car and we’d drive from Idaho Falls to Panguitch to visit my great-great aunt who lived in a restored house across from an abandoned LDS church house.
On our first night in town, a truck with what seemed like every kid in town piled in the bed, delivered a drive-by welcome as we watched the sun set from the front porch. During the day we walked to the library or paid a quarter to swim at what seemed like the only motel in town. At night we’d gather in the yard as family from far and wide shared stories, and my brothers and I craned our necks to spot (and avoid) the bats flying through the night sky overhead.
As a teenager, this trek to a tiny town on the edge of Bryce Canyon was not my dream vacation, but over the years I’ve grown increasingly nostalgic about the house, the town and the entire area. Panguitch is a lesser-traveled locale that offers a surprising and affordable little road trip. Best of all, it’s not too far from home. If you’re looking to escape the city, here are my picks for a perfect Panguitch getaway.
Rest Your Head
Enjoy Panguitch the way I did in one of the town’s historic red brick houses. There are plenty of rooms to rent in The Old Sheriff’s House on Main Street—and you may even get the room where Butch Cassidy is rumored to have slept one night. If outlaws and the Wild West are what you enjoy, try booking a night in Panguitch’s original jailhouse (an outbuilding of the Seven Gables home).
Jumpstart Your Day
It’s not always easy to find a cup of coffee in a small Utah town, especially one founded by Mormon settlers. But you don’t have to worry about that in Panguitch thanks to Wanderlust Cowgirl Coffee, 575 E Center St. This little roadside coffee stand looks like a log cabin and serves more than cowboy coffee, giving you a start whether you’re heading out to explore the canyons or hitting the road back to civilization.
Take In the Night Sky
What’s the point of escaping the city if you don’t revel in the lack of light pollution? A twilight walk through town delivers a pretty decent show, but you can take it up a notch with a Dark Ranger Telescope Tour. You will have to leave town and head out to Bryce Canyon, but this front row seat to the heavens is well worth the trip. Just make sure to bundle up—even in the middle of summer it gets chilly, and you don’t want shivers shaking up your view of the stars.