Is a trip to Kanab, Utah, worth your time? What are the best things to do in Kanab for a great tour? Well, this town might be small but what it offers is more than what most big towns can. Check out this comprehensive list of fun things to do in Kanab.
Kanab, Utah, is a small town located in the heart of the American Southwest. But, while it may be small and quite some miles away from the big cities, this town still has a lot to offer.
Whether you are looking for beautiful geographical features or exciting hiking trails, Kanab, Utah has the answer.
Even better, this small town is just a few miles from other great tourist attractions. From Kanab, you can easily access the Grand Canyon and various national parks from nearby areas.
For this reason, while you might not plan for an entire week in Kanab, a day or two will serve you well. You can include it in your itinerary when touring the west coast and make your trip even more exciting.
But what exactly can you do in this small town? What are the fun things to do in Kanab, Utah?
Let’s find out:
Table of Contents
- Where is Kanab, Utah?
- Fun & Best Things to do in Kanab, Utah
- 1. Hiking Buckskin Gulch
- 2. Hiking in Cottonwood Canyon
- 3. Visit the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
- 4. Coyote Buttes North
- 5. Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
- 6. White Pocket
- 7. Coyote Buttes South
- 8. Coral Pink Sand Dunes
- 9. Bryce Canyon National Park
- 10. Hike to the Toadstools
- 11. Belly of the Dragon
- 12. Moqui Caves and Caverns
- 13. Visit Zion National Park
- 14. Tour the Grand Canyon
- 15. Hike Wire Pass Trailhead
Where is Kanab, Utah?
Kanab is located in Kane County, Utah. It lies on the southern border of Utah, approximately midway between St. George and Page, Arizona.
The town has a population of about 5000 people, covering an area of about 14.6 square miles.
Kanab, Utah, was first settled in 1864 after the establishment of fort Kanab. This was a military outpost meant to protect early Mormon settlers from Native American attacks in the area.
However, in 1866, heavy attacks by the Indians led to its abandonment. It was not until 1870 that 10 Mormon families made the brave move to resettle there.
For quite a long time, the town was cut off from the rest of civilization. Accessibility was extremely difficult through the rough roads, where a 23 miles journey took almost four days. However, this is currently all in the past.
While Kanab is still a small town, it has developed significantly over time. It boasts of all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay.
As for the climate, Kanab experiences a semi-arid climate with very little annual rainfall. This is because the town is located in a high desert region.
And when it comes to tourist attractions, Kanab is within close proximity to some of the most iconic and popular attractions in the American Southwest.
- The Grand Canyon
- Zion National Park
- Lake Powell
- Lake Mead
- Monument Valley
In addition, it has some great features of its own that you’ll love to see and visit.
Fun & Best Things to do in Kanab, Utah
Now that we know a little more about this small town let’s look at some of the best things to do while you’re here.
1. Hiking Buckskin Gulch
This is an epic slot canyon, undoubtedly the world’s longest slot canyon. It stretches for over 13 miles and rarely gets more than 20 feet wide.
And that’s not all. It is also the deepest slot canyon on the planet. This makes it one of the best slot canyons to visit, whether or not you’re visiting Kanab.
Most people make overnight hiking trips into Buckskin Gulch. This is because the hike can be extremely strenuous, especially in the heat of summer. However, its temperatures are a bit cooler than in other parts of Kanab.
The best time to hike Buckskin Gulch is during the spring or fall when the temperatures are more moderate.
Generally, there are various trailheads leading to Buckskin Gulch. The most popular one is located at Wire Pass Trailhead, around 3.4 miles, round-trip.
You should, however, note that there are no water sources along the route. Subsequently, you will need to carry all the water you need for your entire trip.
This is a great hike for experienced hikers looking for an adventure.
2. Hiking in Cottonwood Canyon
For novice hikers, the Cottonwood Canyon is a great place to start. Here, the trails are relatively easy and short. But, despite being easy, they are quite interesting that many advent hikers still love hiking here.
The canyon is located in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, only a short drive from Kanab. It offers the best experiences as you admire the beautiful rock formations and sandstone walls.
The trail is around 10.1 miles long, and you can make a loop by adding the Cockscomb Trail. It will take you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the area.
The best trailhead is around 25 miles up the famous Cottonwood Canyon road just as you turn off US-89.
3. Visit the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
This is a non-profit animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, taking in abandoned and unwanted animals. It operates the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the US.
The sanctuary is home to more than 1000 animals from different species. And it also offers educational programs, adoption, and spaying/neutering services. Some of the main animals here include dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, etc.
Visiting the sanctuary allows you to interact with some of these special animals.
The sanctuary was started in 1984, and since then, it has been home to over 17,000 animals. It is open to the public, and you can visit any day of the week from morning to evening.
4. Coyote Buttes North
When we talk of nature’s masterpieces, Coyote Buttes is certainly one of them. Candled within the northern region of Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, this nature’s beauty will pique anyone’s eyes.
The area is characterized by unique sandstone formations created by water and wind erosion over time. It is popularly known as the “Wave,” referring to a series of undulating ridges of Navajo Sandstone. And while it might not have any developed hiking trails, Coyote buttes offers excellent photography sceneries.
However, to get to Coyote Buttes, you’ll need a permit from the Bureau of Land Management. You can apply for this online or in-person at one of their offices.
There are only 64 permits issued per day for individuals and 12 for groups. Each group should have a maximum of six people.
5. Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
Kanab is popular for hiking trails. And Paria Canyon offers some of the most famous hiking sceneries. If you’ve heard of Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, you certainly know that this is the epitope of hiking experiences.
The place is full of red cliffs, plateaus, and canyons that any hiker will love. It is also a photographer’s dream come true. The views it offers are not only incredible for your eyes, but also for making unforgettable memories.
However, the area is quite remote, so you’ll need to be very well prepared before embarking on your hike.
You should also note that the region experiences extreme weather conditions. Therefore, you need to check the forecast before starting your hiking expedition.
Nonetheless, if you love hiking and adventure, Paria Canyon should be on your list of fun things to do in Kanab.
6. White Pocket
Kanab is a great place for anyone who loves nature and the outdoors. With so many different things to do, you’ll never get bored. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice, there’s something for you.
White Pocket is excellent proof of this. It is a beautiful area of sandstone formations, perfect for hiking, photography, and picnicking.
The area is located within the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and is only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles.
However, it is well worth the effort to get there. The views are simply stunning, and you’ll never forget your experience.
Therefore, if you want to see the amazing work of decades of erosion, there’s no better place than the White Pocket. It gives an experience that’s out of this world.
See related: 15 Best Things to Do on the Mississippi River
7. Coyote Buttes South
Nature forces have made this place a hikers’ paradise. The visually stunning sites of sandstone formations like arches, fins, and rock piles, are simply breathtaking.
However, this place is less frequented than the Coyote Buttes South. Fewer hikers seek permits to visit this region despite its picturesque features. And for this reason, it might be easier for you to obtain a permit than it is in the Northern region.
As you admire the beautiful work of water, wind, and time, you’ll certainly create memories that will last for ages.
8. Coral Pink Sand Dunes
You cannot describe Utah without mentioning buttes, plateaus, and sandstone cliffs. However, when all these get eroded over time, the sediments accumulate to form sand dunes.
One of the magnificent dunes that have formed over time is the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The orange-hued dunes are the ultimate beauty feature in this region. Anyone visiting this place agrees that the experience is worth every inch of hassle.
The place is surrounded by ancient juniper, ponderosa pines, and pinyon, offering the best sites both for photography and hiking.
The best way to experience the dunes is by hiking or four-wheel driving. And, if you want to make your visit even more memorable, you can go for a sunset tour or a starlight tour.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is one of those places that you have to see to believe.
9. Bryce Canyon National Park
The major tourist attraction here is the Bryce Canyon National Park. And, this is not your typical canyon. It is actually a series of natural amphitheaters that were also formed through erosion.
The most amazing thing about this place is the colorful limestone walls that make it look like a painting. Its views are simply mesmerizing, and you’ll certainly have a great time here.
Even better, you can tackle any trail you want in terms of difficulty and length. Bryce Canyon National Park has just the right combination for any category of hikers.
If you want more than what we see on our screens, this natural beauty is what you need.
10. Hike to the Toadstools
This amazing trail is located just 27 miles west of Page, Arizona. It’s around 30 minutes drive on highway 89, and you will easily notice this amazing trail’s features on the right side of the highway. And if you are coming from Kanab, Utah, it’s approximately 44 miles east on the same road.
The Toadstools got their name from their unique mushroom-like formation, which will undoubtedly pique your eyes. The beautiful stone carvings from extended water erosion spread all over, and each second spent here is worth it.
The only thing that experienced hikers may not like is its length. This trail is quite short, only around 0.75 miles long. However, the views are excellent, and you can take all the pictures you want.
It’s also excellent for beginner hikers who don’t have much experience.
11. Belly of the Dragon
While it might not be a long hiking trail, this place is worth a visit. It is a stunning cave or tunnel located around 16 miles north of Kanab.
The trail is short, only 0.5 miles long, but the experience is excellent. It gives quite an adrenaline rush as you walk through the narrow opening of this rock formation.
But, be careful as the rocks can get slippery when wet. The place is usually not handicapped ideal, but it’s still an easy trail compared to others.
12. Moqui Caves and Caverns
These caves are just stunning. And, while you might not allocate a whole day to tour them, they are certainly worth a stop as you drive by. They are pretty close to the highway, making them an ideal add-on to your trip’s itinerary.
The Moqui Caves and Caverns are located just a few miles from Kanab, Utah. And unlike many other rock formations in the area, Moqui Caverns are man-made. They resulted from sand mining used for iron casting between 1930 and 1940.
The caverns were hideouts for Indians in the past. However, today, they offer an excellent experience for any tourist.
The caves and caverns are somewhat different. While the caves are neat and there’s usually an entrance fee, the caverns are simply beautiful sandstone cave systems.
The caves are located only 5.5 miles south of Kanab. And, they are quite easy to find as they are just off Highway 89.
13. Visit Zion National Park
While Kanab is known for the numerous hiking trails and rock formations, that’s not the only good thing here. The town is surrounded by several national parks that you’ll love to visit.
For instance, Zion National Park tops the list. This park is just an hour’s drive from Kanab. And, it offers some of the most stunning views you’ll ever see.
The park is huge, and there are plenty of things to do here. For example, you can go for a hike or enjoy a scenic drive. The huge red, cream, and pink sandstone cliffs soaring through the clear blue sky are a sight to behold.
Also, the wide variety of animals and plants will charm your tour. It’s an excellent place that blends the past and the present, offering the best experiences in southern Utah.
One more feature of this park you wouldn’t want to miss is the Zion Narrows (Canyon). It’s a 15-mile slot canyon located in the North Fork of the Virgin River. And its reddish canyon walls are just enough to brighten your day.
14. Tour the Grand Canyon
Even from Kanab, you can still access the Grand Canyon and its beauty. The North Rim of the canyon is just about a 2 hour’s drive from this town in Utah.
Generally, most of Grand Canyon’s North Rim parts sit around 800 feet higher than the South Rim. This gives it a cooler climate that’s perfect for hiking and enjoying the outdoors. It also offers the best views of the area.
Its climate also supports a diverse ecosystem, with evergreen tree varieties ranging from pinions, blue spruce, and ponderosa. You’ll also see a huge number of wild animals, including mule deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and bobcats.
In short, the North Rim is an excellent place to visit if you want to get away from the heat and explore the wilderness. It’s also less crowded than other areas in the park, making it a great place to enjoy some quietness.
15. Hike Wire Pass Trailhead
This trailhead is a doorway to breathtaking views and excellent adventures. It’s located just outside Kanab and provides access to several trails.
One of these trails is the Buckskin Gulch trail which is considered to be one of the best slot canyons in America. The Wire Pass Trailhead is also the starting point for Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.
This trail is a bit short and will take you about one and a half hours to complete. However, it’s definitely worth your time as it takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.
Sometimes, all you need is some time outdoors. And the Wire Pass Trailhead is the perfect place to do just that. It gives you a chance to enjoy nature and the magnificence of eroded landscape with unimaginable features.
In fact, we cannot talk of the best things to do in Kanab, Utah, without mentioning hiking and the work of erosion.
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