Lyman Hafen Headshot

Lyman Hafen is the author of a dozen books intent on connecting landscape and story in the American Southwest.

He is executive director of the Zion Natural History Association, and is past president of the national Public Lands Alliance. He’s been writing and publishing for more than 30 years, with several hundred magazine articles in publications ranging from Western Horseman to Northern Lights, and was the founding editor of St. George Magazine in 1983. His books include a memoir of growing up with cowboys entitled ROPING THE WIND, an epic story of the Arizona Strip and a lost World War II pilot entitled FAR FROM CACTUS FLAT, and the novel for young readers OVER THE JOSHUA SLOPE. He’s been recognized on several occasions with literary awards from the Utah Arts Council, and won the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for his documentary “Born to Ride,” about world champion bronc rider Cody Wright. A successful rodeo competitor in his own right, Hafen won the Utah High School Rodeo All- Around title in 1973. He lives in Santa Clara, Utah, with his wife Debbie. They’re the parents of six children and 14 grandchildren who live on both coasts of the United States, and in Europe.

New Book Available Now

I’m happy to report my new book, ON CLOUDY MOUNTAIN, is now available for purchase as an e-book only. That’s the only way you’ll be able to read it until the publisher, Cedar Fort, Inc., sets a date for publication of the print edition. The price is from $2.99 to $3.99, depending on where you get it.

You can get it for your Kindle at Amazon, for your Nook at Barnes & Noble, or for your iPad or iPhone on your iBooks app.

I hope you have a chance to read it and if you like it, please share it with others who might enjoy it.



As summer approaches, 12-year-old Damon McIntyre braces for the torture of another season playing baseball and another hopeless attempt at being the boy his mother’s boyfriend expects him be. All he really wants is to hole up in his bedroom in a Boston suburb and ride out the summer with his computer games. After a cryptic letter from Nevada arrives, he finds himself on an airplane following the ghostly image of a white horse into the west.

On his grandparent’s ranch at the foot of a mysterious mountain Damon is reluctantly enmeshed with a host of characters including his cowgirl aunt, his quirky eleven-year-old cousin Corky, his wise and compassionate grandmother, his ancient grandfather who has suffered a stroke and cannot speak, a native Paiute ranch-hand and his beguiling 12-year-old daughter, and an enigmatic older cousin named Lucas.

During the course of the summer he not only discovers the gifts that made his father legendary, he unwittingly becomes entangled in the family politics of what will become of the ranch. He learns to ride, rope and chase wild horses, and comes face-to-face with a real life that eclipses the virtual one he left back home. Under the spell of the haunting drone of bagpipes he searches summer-long for his father who, along with a majestic grey stallion, disappeared on Cloudy Mountain years earlier.  As the story of his father comes to light, Damon discovers who he truly is.

As much a story of the complicated world of adults as it is the coming of age for a boy, ON CLOUDY MOUNTAIN is a book for all ages.

20th Anniversary Edition of ROPING THE WIND Now Available

20th Anniversary Edition With a New Introduction and the Novella OVER THE JOSHUA SLOPE

Since it was first published by Utah State University Press in 1995, ROPING THE WIND has found a place in book collections across the country and around the world.  Now, in this 20th Anniversary Edition, the author has included a new introduction as well as the novella OVER THE JOSHUA SLOPE, first published by Macmillan in 1994.  A memoir of Southwestern ranch culture, ROPING THE WIND presents the personal reflections of Lyman Hafen, prominent Southern Utah writer and founding editor of St. George Magazine.  The added story, OVER THE JOSHUA SLOPE, is a fictional account set in the same landscape and featuring characters cut from the same mold.

In ROPING THE WIND, Hafen celebrates the land and cowboys he has known, but he does so by showing a gallery of real people – not romantic stereotypes.  These are straight from life sketches, family stories, and reminiscences of his own youth.  Between chapters, Hafen unfolds the humorous tale of Afton and William – an irascible cowman and greenhorn journalist – as they learn to appreciate each other.

In OVER THE JOSHUA SLOPE, Hafen tells the coming-of-age fictional story of Brian Winsor, a 12-year-old boy on a cattle drive, and his interactions with a cast of older cowboys and a landscape much like the men and place he grew up with.


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The Man Who Saved Christmas

One of my favorite St. George Christmas tales was told by Nellie McArthur Gubler, the daughter of the story’s hero.  It happened during the bitter cold winter of 1899, following the spring visit to St. George by LDS Church President Lorenzo Snow.  During his visit to this drought-stricken corner of Utah, President Snow had received… Read More