The Vermilion Cliffs made the perfect setting for old westerns, and the movie town at Paria gives you the chance to walk through movie history. I’ve talked a lot about incredible colors, but these mountains are truly remarkable: rock strata doesn’t just change from one color to another, it blends back and forth between white, red, blue, and purple.
The turnoff to Paria is not well marked on US 89. Watch for the historic marker on the north side of the road — the road begins there. The Paria movie set is about 5 miles down (another!) dirt road, the old town site is a few miles further. From the movie set, the road becomes rougher, so make sure your car can handle it, and check with the locals for road conditions.
Local preservationists have carefully re-created several buildings, just as they were, when Hollywood used this area to make westerns, decades ago. You can walk through the old saloon and boarding house, but remember, just like movie sets, these are just hollow shells, that look much more impressive from the outside.
I’ve been told that, after my 2004 visit, the old movie set buildings were vandalized or burned. I’ve seen more recent posts on other websites that suggest they have been rebuilt. I’m not sure exactly what you’ll find at Paria, but I’m certain the scenery will be the same – and it’s well worth the effort.
Movies like Sergeants Three and The Outlaw Josie Wales were filmed in Paria.
The view out, from the inside.
Paria was my final scenic stop on day 5. After pretending to be a cowboy for a while on the old movie set, I drove back to US 89, and on into Kanab, Utah, where I spent the final night of my trip.
Paria goes by several names, including Pariah and Pahreah. As close as I can figure, Paria commonly refers to the movie set area, Pahreah refers to the remains of an old town a few miles further up the road.
Note: This trip was first published in 2004.