The Virgin River, after exiting its deep canyons in Zion National Park, bends southwest and twists along the floor of a wide valley flanked by towering cliffs. Early Mormon pioneers settled the fertile bottomlands along the river, building small villages, planting orchards, and digging water ditches. Five families homesteaded Grafton in Utah on the river’s south bank in 1859 and grew cotton and crops in irrigated fields. A few years later the hamlet’s population swelled to 168 people in 28 families and offered log cabins, a Mormon Church, post office, and adobe school and community center. A series of devastating floods damaged Grafton over the years, forcing residents to move away. The last couple left in 1944.

Travel Your Backyard