Panguitch Lake – North

Really nice forest service campground

The purpose of this two-night stop was primarily to find a place sort of near to Bryce and near enough to Cedar Breaks for a day trip. I’m working on a Royal Flush for Grand Staircase parks, and Cedar Breaks, though in a lesser tier, is definitely part of the official set. It’s also usually nice to stay at lakes because they are pretty. It wasn’t too high, like Navajo Lake at nine thousand. So Panguitch Lake won in all the categories and I would come back to this campground if I returned to the area.

So glad we did the Highway 12 thing

Richard completed this trip’s round of Highway 12 section riding, heading out after we dumped at the North Campground. We set a pin for Joe’s Main Street Market and met up just as it started to rain for real. This is a great store and we were able to get everything from our shopping list to stock up for dinners. There is even a butcher there so I could get reasonable amounts of meat. Most of the drive up Highway 143 to the lake was in rain. It was not torrential and I don’t mind rain on lesser traveled roads where there is no one behind me. It was a pretty route, following a stream mostly, with gentle climbs up to around eight thousand four hundred feet.

Sites 2-16 can catch views of the lake through the trees

We stayed at the North Forest Service Campground, which had some nice pull through sites for larger rigs. Our site said it was a “double,” which I think means we could have invited a friend. I likely paid double for it, but also probably didn’t care at the time I made the reservation. There was no dump at the campground and we drove through the South Campground, across the road, to see if that had one. It most definitely did not, and I would not recommend booking that one with a trailer. The roads over there are unpaved and narrow. I suppose there might have been a couple sites where a trailer could be maneuvered, but in my estimation, it would not be worth it. On our side of the road, many of the sites in the low numbers, like 2-16 had some glimpses of the lake. They were very well spaced from each other and our site got a little bit of solar around midday.

He never gets tired

Our day trip the next day involved sagging Richard up a climb of two thousand feet over thirteen miles. Cedar Breaks National Monument sits at an elevation of ten thousand. I take elevation pretty seriously because of one bad event; all it takes is one. I was pretty focused on making reservations that gradually stepped up and Panguitch was going to be one of the highest. It was only a few hundred higher than Bryce and I didn’t feel any ill effects. However, as I climbed up toward ten, I started to feel the familiar face tinglies and off balance feeling I’ve come to associate with high country traveling.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

I knew to take it easy and keep downing the water. Here’s the problem with downing water: you need frequent bathrooms. Guess what Cedar Breaks is really lacking. Yeah, the people in line waiting at the Visitor Center’s single bathroom were a bit… anxious. If only I had known that if we’d turned right instead of left at the rim road, we would have gotten to a lovely vista point, with rangers, information kiosks, and three porta potties. Once we were there, I had a more enjoyable time looking out over the views of “Mini Bryce.” Ranger Darcy was particularly helpful and informative and was deemed “better than Siri” by us both. For example, we were puzzled as to why the symbol on all the Highway 12 signs looked like a bee hive. Well, that is because it is. Apparently the Church of Latter Day Saints, very influential of course in Utah, has adopted the beehive as a representative image because they are known for being busy like bees and they work for their community. So the state used a beehive graphic for their most famous scenic highways and byways. The more you know.

Cedar Breaks and Bryce are both at the tippy top of the Grand Staircase

After taking in the views and documenting plentifully with photos, I wasn’t much interested in staying longer and I’d seen what I came to see. We headed back down the road and made quick time descending back to a comfortable eight thousand. I felt much more grounded then and we celebrated with soft serve ice cream and WiFi at The Burger Barn.

We headed back to Dory and I put in some time cleaning her beautiful windows. That is a project, but one that always produces a satisfying reward.

We head out in the morning for the Grand Canyon and will make a stop at Joe’s Market for sure.

Total miles: 45.5. 16.6 mpg. North Campground, site 14 (double). No cell service, but WiFi at the burger place. There was occasional cell service during the climb up Highway 143 to Cedar Breaks, but then it would disappear. Boat launch in two places I saw around the lake. Dump station closed, but you can go to White Bridge FS campground down the road where there is a good dump and potable water.

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