Parowan Utah: Cinnamon Rolls, Sister Wives, and Petroglyphs

We were on a road trip through southern Utah, just about three hours south of Salt Lake City, when we spied an enticing billboard on the side of the road – “Best Cinnamon Rolls in the West – Next Exit turn right!” We couldn’t resist and so we turned right into Parowan to discover a little bit of Utah history and a town dedicated to fulfilling our desires for something ooey, gooey, and sweet. And, as I walked down a street lined with quaint homes and small businesses, I found the Parowan Utah B&B owned by Meri Brown of TV’s Sister Wives, the drama-filled backstory well-known to fans of the reality show.

Parowan Billboard

How can you resist? Photo courtesy Parowan.org

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals, and tours for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. Wander With Wonder contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. We thank you for your help — it is what keeps Wander With Wonder bringing you great content.

The Parowan Utah Cinnamon Roll Experience

It was easy to find Main Street in this small Iron County town. Our first stop was the Visitors Center housed in a historic brick building. On entering we found that this place was much more than a place to get information. It was a fully-stocked souvenir shop with goods from the local area and the starting point for the “Parowan Sweet Tour,” which takes visitors from business to business to find the best cinnamon rolls (even cinnamon churros) and sweets of all kinds.

Parowan, Utah

The Visitors Center shop is full of local products, books, and gifts in a historic setting. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

 

Also of interest in Parowan is the Old Rock Church Museum where you’ll get a good sense of local Mormon pioneer history. The original church, or meetinghouse, was founded in 1851. Inside you’ll find photographs, old farm implements, and household items from the 1850s. Outside, you'll notice that there are two entrances, originally one for women and one for men.

Parowan_Utah_Church

The Old Rock Church Museum houses a fascinating collection of Pioneer memorabilia. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Since we were ready to sit down and enjoy a cinnamon roll, we opted to go directly over to the Parowan Café across the street. Friendly and family-owned, the café was ideal for our first taste of a Parowan cinnamon roll. We were ushered to a large table at the back, ideal for families, and looked over the menu. Breakfast items galore were listed but we all wanted the hot, gooey, cinnamon rolls.

Parowan Cafe

Our destination for cinnamon rolls. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

And the rolls didn’t disappoint. They were hot out of the oven, slathered with icing and butter, and smelled heavenly. We left the café determined to write about our experience and let others know that yes, they should “turn right at the next exit.”

Parowan, Utah Cinnamon Roll

There's nothing better than a cinnamon roll hot out of the oven. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

Sister Wife’s B&B Discovery

For those who have watched the tales of the polygamist Brown family on TV, Meri Brown’s trials and tribulations in trying to get her polygamist husband, Kody, and multi-wife family on board with purchasing the B&B in Parowan covered several episodes. You see, the lovely yellow farmhouse was part of Meri’s family heritage and it came up for sale. She is the great-great-granddaughter of the original owner and the Inn is named after her great-grandmother, Lizzie.

Lizzie's Inn

Lizzie's, an inviting B&B, has been in Meri Brown's family for generations. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose.

Ultimately, Meri was able to purchase the B&B and her mother, Bonnie, moved in to provide a family presence. It was the B&B, named Lizzie’s Heritage Inn, that I encountered just a few blocks from Main Street. It looked like an ideal place to stay, especially for lovers of cinnamon rolls and small-town charm. This year, after the unexpected death of Meri’s mother, the Inn was closed for several weeks. Recently Meri Brown announced that the Inn would re-open and would feature a room named after Bonnie. Meanwhile, Kody and his Sister Wives moved from Las Vegas to Flagstaff, Arizona. The Inn remains under Meri’s ownership and it's clear the home represents treasured family history to her.

Lizzie's Heritage Inn

Each room has a unique character and a sense of history. Photo courtesy Lizzie's Heritage Inn Facebook

And for those who are interested in Utah’s polygamist history, you’ll be interested to know that some of these large families settled in Iron County. As you travel back roads, you’ll often see large homes with multiple entrances and large garages. Utah law has decriminalized polygamy, but only recently. This is one reason the Browns moved to Flagstaff. Will they now return to Utah?

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

Just outside of Parowan, you’ll see an impressive gap in the rocky landscape. In fact, it is said that you can see all the way to Arizona through the Parowan Gap. The narrow, 500-foot deep pass through the Navajo sandstone is only wide enough for a two-lane highway.

Parowan Gap

Parowan Gap was created by the movement of water and wind through the rocks. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

The BLM has constructed a handy pull-out and interpretive signs so that you can spend some time looking at the amazing petroglyphs. In addition to the petroglyphs, you can find dinosaur tracks one mile east of the Gap.

Parowan Gap

There are a great number of Petroglyphs at Parowan Gap and it's fun to try and figure out what they mean. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

So what do they mean? No one really knows, so the BLM has put together the traditions as told by both the Paiutes, who live in the western states, and the Hopi, who live in Arizona. The petroglyph site remains sacred to both tribes.

Hopi Parowan Gap

Hopi historical recollections relating to Parowan Gap. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

Centuries ago, native people traveled through this gap and left markings etched into the rock. You can easily walk the trail to see the petroglyphs.

Paiute Perspective on Parowan Gap

The Paiute's perspective on Parowan Gap. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

When You Take a Road Trip Through Southern Utah

Parowan Utah is about an hour’s drive from Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon and two hours from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is also not far from Brian Head, the ski area. The town makes for an ideal stopping point on your travels to these scenic places. See our Wander articles on The Mighty 5 Utah National Parks, Salt Lake City, and more Utah attractions. For more travel inspiration, send for a free Grand Circle Travel Planner (or download the pdf) which includes this area.

Parowan Utah is about an hour’s drive from Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon and two hours from the Grand Canyon North Rim. It is an ideal stopping point on your family road trip to these scenic places in the Southwest. You can find the best homemade cinnamon rolls, local history, a B&B inn made famous on reality television, and a short hike to petroglyphs.

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Written by Elizabeth Rose

Elizabeth Rose is back again in the Phoenix area after more than a decade living in New Mexico and Washington state. She travels throughout the West and beyond writing about destinations, accommodations, festivals, and restaurants, especially farm to table cuisine. As an expert in cultural tourism, her writing reflects that passion. She has won awards for her photography and accompanies her articles with her own images. She also provides photos for magazine covers, web sites and magazine articles (both print and online).

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