Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

Two cowboys on horseback silhouetted against sunset.
Visit the “Old West” - Come to the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

Photo Courtesy of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

Quick Facts
Central and Southern Utah
The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA) preserves the natural, historical, and cultural heritage legacies and contributions of Mormon settlement in the West. The heritage area accomplishes this through community-led efforts to connect with the past by telling the Mormon pioneer story. By increasing tourism along Utah’s Highways 12, 24, and 89, The MPNHA revitalizes communities through economic development initiatives and drives tourism to small communities along these routes.
National Heritage Area

Designated by Congress in 2006, this National Heritage Area is managed by the Utah Heritage Highway Alliance. The landscape along Highways 12, 24, and 89, now known as the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, was originally occupied by the Paiute, Ute, and San Pitch Native American tribes. Today, the MPNHA spreads across six counties in Utah and stretches from Central Utah to the southern edge of the state. It preserves the story of the first Mormon pioneers in the area who settled there in 1849. The settlers were a “handpicked group of men, women, and children originally hailing from New England, England and Scandinavia,” and traces their settlement patterns across the United States into Utah.

This National Historic Area provides many opportunities to explore Mormon Pioneer heritage with five heritage districts:  

  • Little Denmark – Visit Little Denmark for its rich Scandinavian pioneer influence and stories of immigration. They even have an annual Scandinavian Heritage Festival in Ephraim.  

  • Sevier Valley – A rich landscape where farmers and ranchers followed the ancient Native American tradition of living off the land. Visit the Sevier Valley district for Big Rock Candy Mountain or Lemonade Springs.  

  • Headwaters – This district is known for its rich mining history and network of rivers and tributaries. Visit this area to find “abandoned mines and tales of lost gold.”  

  • Under the Rim – This district is frequented by Hollywood producers looking for a wild west feel. It is named after the red rock rims of the High Plateau of Utah. 

  • Boulder Loop – Visit the Boulder Loop district for an awe-inspiring heritage byway showcasing cowboy and pioneer trails, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

Each district boasts a unique history while remaining connected to the larger focus of Mormon Pioneer heritage. Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is beloved among many communities in Utah and is sure to make an impact on all who visit!  

Historic Sites and Points of Interest: 

Notable People:  

Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Zion National Park

Last updated: August 4, 2022