Lyman Hafen



(historian, author, lecturer, executive)


Lyman Hafen comes from the fifth generation of a Mormon family that settled along the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers in the early 1860s. Growing up on the edge of St. George, he witnessed firsthand the transformation of his boyhood village into a bustling city. In high school he carried on the family tradition as a cowboy, participating in rodeos as a bull and bronc rider as well as a roper. In 1973 he won the Utah State High School Rodeo All-Around Championship. A graduate of Dixie College in 1977, he graduated from Brigham Young University in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Hafen began his writing career in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Like many others of his generation, Hafen could not shake the red sand of Southern Utah from his shoes. He returned with his young family to St. George in 1983 where he became founding editor of St. George Magazine for 16 years, and began teaching writing classes at Dixie College. He was the Executive Director of the Zion Natural History Association for many years.

Over the past 10 years, Hafen's fiction and nonfiction have received seven awards from the Utah Arts Council. He's written for a number of regional and national magazines, among them Travel-Holiday, Nevada Magazine and Arizona Highways, and has published six books.

Mr. Hafen has announced he will be retiring as President and CEO of the Zion National Park Forever Project at the end of 2022. It is a position he held for 25 years. On August 24, 2022, he was presented with the James V. Murfin Lifetime Achievement Award for park partner associations from the National Park Service and the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C.


Parents and Siblings:
    L. Kelton Hafen
    Peggy Ruth Neilson Hafen
        Lyman K. Hafen
        Linda Hafen
        Kenneth N. Hafen
        Larry Edward "Edd" Hafen  

(5/16/1932-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married 11/2/1954)
(9/2/1955-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Debbie Frei)
(6/19/1957-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxx X. Xxxxx)
(6/30/1961-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxx X. Xxxxx)
(xx/xx/xxxx-xx/xx/xxxx)   (married Xxxxxx X. Xxxxx)

Lyman and his wife, Debbie, live in Santa Clara, just west of St. George, with their five children.


"A Dixie Christmas: Stories of Christmas Past"
This paperback book was published in 1988 and includes stories by Juanita Brooks, Lyman Hafen, Mary Phoenix, and others.
See the information page.

"Far From Cactus Flat: The 20th Century Story of a Harsh Land, a Proud Family, and a Lost Son"
This book is the story of the Bundy family and life on the Arizona Strip during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. It also tells the about two sons of the strip, Lincoln Bundy and George Iverson who went to war during World War II and didn't make it back.
See the information page.

"Flood Street to Fenway: The Bruce Hurst Story"
A biographical book about St. George native Bruce Hurst who pitched the Boston Red Sox to within one game of winning the 1986 World Series.

"In the Shade of the Cottonwoods: Notes on a Small-Town Boyhood"
A collection of essays about growing up in southern Utah.

"Mukuntuweap: Landscape and Story in Zion Canyon"

"On a Cold Christmas Night"
Paperback book published in October 2003.

"On the Edge of Memory: More Notes on a Small-Town Boyhood"
A collection of essays about growing up in southern Utah.

"Over the Joshua Slope"
Hardcover book published by Simon and Schuster in April 1994.
A novel for young readers.

"Roping the Wind: A Personal History of Cowboys and the Land"
Paperback book published in June of 1995; reprinted in 2015.
A personal history of cowboying in southern Utah.

"The Insiders' Guide to Southwestern Utah"
Paperback book published in July 1997.

"Where Two Streams Meet: The Personal History of a Town"
This book features early St. George, Utah history at the confluence of the Santa Clara River and Virgin River. The town was founded by Mormon pioneers in 1861 and celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2011. Much has changed since then but the red cliffs and Pine Valley Mountain still overlook the two rivers as they twist, wind, and carve their way through the desert. Hafen's thoughtful and entertaining book is a compilation of essays reflecting his boyhood days in the town settled by his own pioneer ancestors.
See the information page.


Lyman Hafen’s legendary leadership gains national attention
by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News, August 27, 2022