Pioneers arrived here in 1864, but angry Utes forced evacuation just two years later. A second attempt by settlers in 1871 succeeded, and Panguitch (the Paiute word for “big fish”) is now the largest town in the area.
Panguitch is one of the more pleasant towns in this part of Utah, and there’s an abundance of reasonably priced motels, plus a couple of good places to eat. The town is a good stopover on the road between Zion  and Bryce Canyon National Parks .
Travelers in the area during the second weekend in June should try to swing by for the annual Quilt Walk, an all-out festival with historic home tours, quilting classes, and lots of food. The Quilt Walk commemorates a group of seven pioneers who trudged through snow to bring food back to starving townspeople. They spread quilts on the deep, soft snow and walked on them in order not to sink.
The early 20th-century commercial buildings downtown have some of their original facades. On side streets you can see sturdy brick houses built by the early settlers. Stop by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum (125 E. Center St., 4–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat. Memorial Day–Labor Day) in the old bishop’s storehouse to see historic exhibits of Panguitch. During the off-season, the museum is open by appointment; phone numbers of volunteers are on the door.
The city park on the north edge of town has picnic tables, a playground, tennis courts, and a tourist information cabin. A swimming pool (250 E. Center St., 435/676-2259) is by the high school.
Panguitch is the best place in greater Bryce Canyon to find an affordable motel room—there are more than a dozen older motor-court lodgings here, most very nicely maintained. Of these, the Color Country Motel (526 N. Main St., 435/676-2386 or 800/225-6518, www.colorcountrymotel.com , $69) is one of the most attractive, with an outdoor pool and clean, well-furnished rooms.
The Adobe Sands (390 N. Main St., 435/676-8874 or 800/497-9261, www.adobesandsmotel.com , May-Oct., $55) is pet-friendly, and it offers clean, basic rooms at budget prices.
Another good midrange pick is the Canyon Lodge (210 N. Main St., 435/676-8292 or 800/440-8292, www.color-country.net/~cache , $59 and up), offering clean basic rooms, plus a three-bed suite.
Along U.S. 89, the New Western Motel (180 E. Center St., 435/676-8876 or 800/528-1234, www.newwesternmotel.com , $79 and up) has a swimming pool and hot tub, plus laundry facilities. Some rooms are in an older building—you may want to assess room quality and noise level before handing over your credit card.
Stay in one of the town's landmark red-brick homes: The tidy Red Brick Inn of Panguitch B&B (161 North 100 West, 435/690-1048, www.redbrickinnutah.com , $119 and up) has distinctive barnlike architecture and includes cozy bedrooms and two adjoining bedrooms that share a bath—perfect for families. If you like B&Bs, this is definitely the best place in town to stay.
Open year-round, Hitch-N-Post Campground (420 N. Main St., 435/676-2436) offers spaces for tents ($15) and RVs ($25) and has showers and a laundry room.
The Big Fish KOA Campground (555 S. Main St., 435/676-2225, mid-Apr.-mid-Oct.) on the road to Panguitch Lake includes a pool, recreation room, laundry, and showers; rates start at $25 for tents, $36 for RVs, and $49 for cabins. The closest public campground is on Highway 12 in Red Canyon.
The culinary high point of a visit to Panguitch will likely be the mesquite-grilled meats at Cowboy's Smokehouse Bar-B-Q (95 N. Main St., 435/676-8030, 6:30-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. mid-Mar.-mid-Oct., $10-18), where live country music and Western atmosphere are regulars on the menu.
The Flying M Restaurant (580 N. Main St., 435/676-8008, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, $8-18) is a favorite for its hearty breakfasts and standard American comfort-food dinners, including homemade turkey potpies.
Panguitch is 7 miles north on U.S. 89 from Bryce Junction, at Highway 12. From this junction, it's 11 miles east on Highway 12 to Bryce Canyon National Park .