History of Panguitch Lake

The community and area known as Panguitch Lake lies in southern Utah between Cedar Breaks National Monument, Brian Head Ski & Summer Resort and the town of Panguitch. The lake itself sits just off Scenic Highway 143 and is surrounded by the Dixie National Forest.

The Native Americans of the region were attracted to Panguitch Lake for the large native mountain trout. The nearby town of Panguitch was first settled with fifty-four pioneer families in 1864, sent by the Mormon leader Brigham Young.

When supplies for the community of Panguitch ran out during the first winter, men were dispatched to the town of Parowan over the west mountains. Their wagons and teams reached the base of the mountains and then the men walked in snow from there. The snow was deep and going was slow until one man accidentally dropped the quilt he was carrying. As he stepped on the quilt he found that it supported him and, with his encouragement, all of the men used their quilts to walk more easily across the snow.

The area around the lake was settled in 1873. Farming and ranching was the basis for the economy of the area. A dam was constructed on Panguitch Lake to increase the lake’s ability to hold water and to provide irrigation water. Dairy products (cheese & butter) and fish were traded or sold in neighboring communities. As southern Utah grew in the late 1800’s the Panguitch Lake area became a retreat for people from throughout the region. Horse races, fishing, dancing and other activities became commonplace at and around the lake.

These traditions have continued and today you’ll find restaurants, boat rentals, general stores, lodges and cabins for rent, ATV riding, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and much more. Summer is the most active time of year around the lake, but ice fisherman and outdoor enthusiasts (x-country skiing, snowmobiles) frequent the area through the winter months.

Panguitch Lake is surrounded by some of America’s most spectacular scenic attractions. Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Cedar Breaks National Monument. Cedar City, St. George, Kanab, Panguitch, Beaver, Richfield and other southern Utah towns and cities are in close proximity. From Panguitch Lake you’re just 3 hours from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon or from Lake Powell (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area).