A bit of history. 

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Okay, so Grafton is not really a "hike," but it is a cool place to check out near Zion. Located past the west end of present-day Rockville, Grafton was first settled in 1859. Floods and Indian attacks forced the pioneers to abandon the town. It's now a fun ghost town experience. Grafton is a famous backdrop for movies, including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Between 1847 and 1900, emigrating Mormons settled about 500 villages in West and Southwest Utah to claim territory and seek self-sufficiency. Cedar City, Parowan, Santa Clara (near St George), Rockville and Springdale began as such farming settlements.

Grafton was settled in 1859 by five families from nearby Virgin. The main crop grown in Grafton was cotton, which was sold to benefit the Mormon state. Southwest Utah, including Santa Clara and Washington City were known as the "Cotton Mission". Settlement planning and these missions were an organized plan from the head of the church in Salt Lake City to make the Deseret a prosperous new territory.

Over the next seven years, the settlement grew to be the second largest in the Virgin Valley (with about 168 residents, only Virgin was larger), but then the settlement encountered a litany of floods, diseases, and accidents. When Indian relations grew sour in Southern Utah, the small, scattered settlements of the Virgin Valley grouped together in nearby Rockville in 1866, but later resettled back in Grafton. The schoolhouse building you can visit today was built in 1886, when the town was thriving and had enough families to support a schoolhouse. Two decades later, however, Grafton would become ghost town due to loss of farmland and the building of the Hurricane Canal, which caused most families to pack up and move "down the hill" to the Hurricane bench fin 1906 in hopes of easier farming.

(Historical information gleaned from the Grafton Heritage Partnership Project.)


HIke Profile



30 minutes to an hour of exploring


No official trails, just old dirt roads


About a 15 minutes drive from Springdale/Zion National Park

Grafton is in the full sun, though there are a few shade trees around.

Seasonal Adjustments: HOT on a summer afternoon


Getting There

A NOTE: Please respect private property! The roads to Grafton have easy-to-see signs, make sure you are following them and not turning into private property!

From Springdale, follow Hwy 9 west. After the Doggy Dude Ranch, you'll enter Rockville, possibly the cutest town in Utah. In Rockville, watch for Bridge Road, the second street on your left. You may also see signs to "Grafton" on the signpost. After the bridge, follow the paved road curving right, then curving left up a short hill. At the Y-intersection, turn right (again signed with "Grafton"). The pavement soon turns to gravel, and the gravel road dead-ends at Grafton.

This also makes a great bike ride from Rockville or Springdale. From the Majestic View Lodge, it's a 6.2-mile one-way trip, with about half on packed gravel road.

The Hike

Guide yourself around the town. There are two main buildings with educational signs explaining the town and their historic usage.

There's also a cemetery just before you reach Grafton. If you miss it on your way in, you can catch it on your way out.

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