December 19, 2012

Extending from the Sevier Plateau in the north to the Pink Cliffs in the south, and bordered by the Sunset Cliffs to the west and Bryce Canyon to the east, the Paunsaugunt Plateau offers some of the most breathtaking views in southern Utah.  The plateau features an elevation range of 7,000 to 9,300 feet.  It lies almost completely within the Dixie National Forest, landscaped by ancient bristlecone pine forests, alpine meadows, lakes and streams. The 25-mile by 10-mile area is wildly popular with outdoor enthusiasts seeking top-notch hiking, mountain biking and TV trails, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing and, with 200 inches of snow per year, snowmobiling, skiing and other winter activities.  The Paunsaugunt is named for the Paiute word for “home of the beavers.”

Paungsagunt Plateau in Utah’s Bryce Canyon region.

The Paunsaugunt Plateau was created by a geologic uplift on the Colorado Plateau roughly 10 to 20 million years ago. The dissected plateau is drained by the East Fork Sevier River, which flows northward, and the Escalante and Paria Rivers on its eastern rim. Erosive forces have compounded the uplift activity, resulting in the spectacular red rock hoodoos that highlight Bryce Canyon National Park. Two hundred days per year, on average, of freeze-thaw cycles ensure that erosion will continue to alter the Paunsaugunt Plateau’s distinct topography. This high-elevation area features dramatic scenery, much of which can be viewed from Scenic Byway 12, Utah’s first All-American Road. Scenic ATV trails in Red Canyon, horseback riding through Dixie National Forest and Red Canyon, and hiking trails in and around Bryce Canyon National Park such as Fairyland Loop, Navajo Loop, Queen’s Garden and the Under the Rim Trail are popular ways to explore this incredible landscape.

Categories: Forest Plateaus Utah