Brian Head History

"All indications are that Brian Head will be a major recreation area..."

—Iron County Record, August 6, 1964

Native Americans

Brian Head's history began centuries ago when the surrounding Markagunt Plateau was home to the Piute, Anasazi and Sevier Indians. These people hunted deer and elk, built grainaries and left an abundance of petroglyphs still visible today throughout the region.

Explorers and Pioneers

In 1776, The Dominguez-Escalante Expedition passed through the area seeking a route to Central California. Jedediah Smith, fur trapper and adventurer, was the first American to use the route on his incredible journey of 1826. Mormon settlers dispatched by Brigham Young in 1851 established Parowan, the area's first permanent town just minutes from Brian Head.

Little Ireland

During the late 1800's, the Brian Head area was known as “Little Ireland”, named by the Adams family of Irish descent. They used the area for dairying and livestock grazing, and enjoyed the peaceful meadows and grand red-rock scenery that surrounds Brian Head.

The Name

Brian Head was originally known as Monument Peak and was used by early surveyors and expedition leaders as a point of reference. One story claims that the famous explorer John Wesley Powell saw the peak above all the other mountains and named it after an official in the Geographical Survey Office by the name of Bryan. Another story claims that the residents of Parowan changed the name in 1890 to Bryan Head in honor of the American politician, William Jennings Bryan.

Brian Head Resort

In 1964, the ski resort was established by Burton Nichols, with the help of a team of outdoor enthusiasts including Georg Hartlmeier. During a first season news interview, Georg declared, “we're on our way. And we're going to be big!” These words turned out to be prophetic. A series of impressive condo developments, major terrain and lift expansion, and an influx of vacationers from Utah, Las Vegas and California have made Brian Head a world-class, year-round resort.

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