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20 Epic Things to Do in Kanab

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Tucked away in the heart of Utah’s red rock country, Kanab, Utah is a hidden gem that absolutely needs to be on your travel bucket list. If you like hiking, national parks, and exploring natural and historical sites, you will absolutely LOVE Kanab!

Tim and I have been lucky enough to visit Kanab several times over the years, and each trip has revealed new wonders and unforgettable experiences.

In this blog post, I share all the best things to do in Kanab, Utah. Trust me, you don’t want to miss these insider tips and must-see attractions!

Sarah hiking the Wave in Arizona near Kanab, Utah

Best Things to Do in Kanab At-A-Glance

  1. Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
  2. Belly of Dragon
  3. The Wave
  4. Sand Caves
  5. South Coyote Buttes
  6. Peekaboo
  7. Dinosaur Tracks
  8. Yellow Rock
  9. Buckskin Gulch to Wire Pass
  10. White Pocket
  11. Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary
  12. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
  13. Great Chamber (Cutler Point)
  14. Paria Townsite
  15. Little Hollywood Museum
  16. Pipe Spring National Monument
  17. Attend Balloons and Tunes
  18. Zion National Park
  19. Bryce Canyon National Park
  20. Page, Arizona

How to Get to Kanab

The closest major airports to Kanab are in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. These locations will have the best flight options.

  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS): About 3.5 hours west of Kanab, with numerous flight options and car rental services.
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC): About 4.5 hours north of Kanab, also with many flight options and car rental services.

You can search for a flight by clicking here or using the form below.

You should plan to get a rental car from the airport when you land, since there is no public transportation to get to Page. Having your own vehicle is pretty much a requirement for exploring the US southwest.

You can search for a rental car by clicking here or using the form below.

Map of the Best Things to Do in Kanab

Best Things to Do in Kanab – Hikes

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1. Toadstool Hoodoos

Tim and Sarah stand in front of the Toadstool Hoodoos formations on the trail.

The Toadstool Hoodoos Trail is a delightful 1.8-mile round trip hike located within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This easy trail leads you through a whimsical landscape filled with hoodoos, unique rock formations that resemble giant toadstools. The hoodoos are scattered throughout the area, making it a fun and family-friendly hike perfect for explorers of all ages.

What makes the Toadstool Hoodoos particularly captivating is the variety of shapes and sizes of the formations, which are perfect for photography and exploring the geological wonders of the region. The trail is well-marked and relatively flat, offering stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. This hike is one of the best easy hikes near Kanab, providing a great opportunity to experience the natural beauty and unique rock formations without the need for a strenuous trek.

>>> Click to read about how to hike to the Toadstool Hoodoos.

2. Belly of Dragon

Tim and Sarah at the Belly of the Dragon in Kanab Utah

The Belly of the Dragon is a short and exciting hike located near Kanab. This 0.5-mile round-trip adventure takes you through a man-made tunnel carved out by water drainage, creating a unique and enchanting experience. The tunnel is relatively wide, making it accessible for most hikers, including families with children. As you walk through the tunnel, the light filtering through the openings creates an almost magical ambiance.

The Belly of the Dragon is a quick but memorable stop on your Southwest road trip. It’s a great spot to stretch your legs and explore an unusual and beautiful formation. The hike is easy and short, but the visual rewards are impressive, making it a perfect addition to your itinerary.

3. The Wave

Hiking the wave in snow

The Wave, located in the North Coyote Buttes area of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, is a mesmerizing 6.7-mile round trip hike known for its undulating, colorful sandstone formations. The hike itself is challenging, taking you through remote desert terrain, but the reward at the end is an otherworldly landscape of swirling rock patterns that look almost too surreal to be natural.

Gaining access to The Wave requires a permit, which is notoriously difficult to obtain due to high demand and a daily lottery system. This exclusivity only adds to the allure of the hike, making it a coveted experience for adventurers and photographers alike. Visiting The Wave was at the top of our Southwest Bucket List for years, and after applying for a permit 25 times, we finally won! Our trek to The Wave, especially in a rare desert blizzard, was an unforgettable experience, showcasing the breathtaking beauty and unique geology of this iconic destination.

>>> Click to read our ultimate guide to hiking the Wave!

4. Sand Caves

The Kanab Sand Caves are a unique and intriguing destination just a short drive from Kanab, Utah. This hike is about 0.5 miles round trip and involves a bit of scrambling up a sandy slope to reach the caves. Once inside, you’ll be greeted by a series of man-made caverns carved into the soft sandstone, offering a cool retreat from the desert heat and an excellent spot for photography.

The history of the caves adds to their allure—they were originally created in the 1970s for harvesting sand for glass production. Today, the Kanab Sand Caves are a popular spot for visitors seeking adventure and a taste of the area’s geological wonders.

>>> Click to read more about how to visit the Kanab Sand Caves.

5. South Coyote Buttes

The South Coyote Buttes, located within the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, offer a 4-mile or more round trip hike through a stunning and less crowded area of swirling, colorful rock formations. Access to this remote location requires a permit and a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle. Unlike the more famous North Coyote Buttes, the South Coyote Buttes allow for more exploration among the dramatic and vibrant sandstone formations without a defined trail.

For the best experience, consider visiting South Coyote Buttes on a guided tour. The deep sand and unmarked routes can make navigation tricky, but with a guide, you’ll be able to find and appreciate all the hidden gems this area has to offer. The surreal landscapes and the sense of solitude make this a must-visit for those looking to experience the raw beauty of the desert.

6. Peekaboo Slot Canyon

  • Distance: 7.5 miles without 4WD
  • Elevation: 629 feet without 4WD
  • All Trails Link

Peekaboo Slot Canyon is a stunning, less crowded alternative to the more famous Antelope Canyon. Located near Kanab, Utah, this slot canyon offers a 1.5-mile round trip hike through narrow, winding sandstone walls. The intricate formations here are perfect for photography, making it a favorite among nature lovers and photographers.

Hiking through Peekaboo Slot Canyon is relatively easy and enjoyable. The canyon walls twist and turn, creating a sense of adventure and wonder. The play of light and shadow adds to its charm, providing fantastic photo opportunities.

7. Dinosaur Tracks

The Dinosaur Tracks near Kanab, Utah, offer a fascinating glimpse into the prehistoric past. Located off Highway 89, this site features well-preserved tracks left by dinosaurs millions of years ago. The hike to the tracks is relatively short, about 1 mile round trip, and takes you across a rugged desert landscape.

Visiting the Dinosaur Tracks is a unique experience where you can walk in the footsteps of ancient creatures. This adventure is perfect for families and anyone interested in paleontology or natural history.

8. Yellow Rock

Tim and Sarah Hiking on Yellow Rock Trail in Utah

Yellow Rock, nestled in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, offers a hike that’s as rewarding as it is breathtaking. The trail is about 2.6 miles round trip and includes a steep, challenging climb. But once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with a vast expanse of brightly colored sandstone in shades of yellow, orange, and red.

The vibrant colors and unique patterns make Yellow Rock a photographer’s dream. The hike itself also offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the Cockscomb and the Escalante River. If you’re looking to experience the vivid geology and expansive scenery of the Southwest, this hike is perfect for you.

>>> Click to read more about how to hike Yellow Trail.

9. Buckskin Gulch to Wire Pass Trail

Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass are iconic destinations for slot canyon enthusiasts, offering a challenging and rewarding hiking experience. Wire Pass serves as the primary entry point for exploring Buckskin Gulch, with the trailhead located near Kanab. The hike through Wire Pass is leads you through narrow slots and stunning rock formations before reaching the confluence with Buckskin Gulch.

Buckskin Gulch is one of the longest and deepest slot canyons in the world, stretching for over 20 miles. Hiking through this canyon can be demanding and requires preparation, including checking weather conditions to avoid flash floods. The canyon’s towering walls and narrow passages create an awe-inspiring atmosphere, making it a must-visit for adventurers seeking a true slot canyon experience.

Best Things to Do in Kanab – Sights

10. White Pocket

Sarah and Tim at White Pocket Arizona

White Pocket, located within Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, is a surreal landscape of swirling sandstone formations and otherworldly rock textures. The hike to White Pocket isn’t marked by a specific trail but is more of an exploratory experience, allowing visitors to roam freely and discover the area’s unique features. Reaching White Pocket typically involves a drive over sandy, rough terrain, best suited for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles.

11. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, located in Angel Canyon just north of Kanab, Utah, is the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the United States. Spread across 3,700 acres, the sanctuary provides a safe haven for thousands of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, and more. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about the sanctuary’s mission, volunteer, or even stay overnight in one of the sanctuary’s guest accommodations.

12. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Tim and Sarah at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, located near Kanab, Utah, features rolling dunes of strikingly pink-hued sand. These dunes, formed by the erosion of Navajo sandstone, cover an area of about 3,730 acres. Visitors can hike, sandboard, or take off-road vehicles to explore the dunes. There are several viewpoints and trails within the park, offering different perspectives of this unique landscape.

13. Great Chamber (Cutler Point)

Great Chamber Utah with sun flare

The Great Chamber, also known as Cutler Point, is a hidden gem featuring a massive alcove and sand dune combination. Located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, reaching the Great Chamber requires a high-clearance vehicle and a relatively short but steep hike. The trek involves navigating sandy terrain, but the reward is worth the effort.

Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a stunning natural amphitheater with a high ceiling and a steep, sandy slope leading up to the chamber. The contrast between the smooth sand and rugged rock formations creates a dramatic and awe-inspiring scene. This remote spot offers a sense of solitude and adventure, perfect for those looking to explore off-the-beaten-path locations.

>>> Click here to read more about how to visit the Great Chamber.

14. Paria Townsite

sunset at Paria Townsite

Paria Townsite, nestled in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, is renowned for its breathtaking rainbow-colored mountains. While the old ruins are no longer standing, the vivid, multicolored cliffs make this spot truly spectacular. The landscape here features striking layers of purple, red, orange, yellow, and white, creating a natural masterpiece that’s a dream for photographers and nature lovers alike.

>>> Click here to read more about how to visit Paria Townsite (aka, Utah’s Rainbow Mountains!).

15. Little Hollywood Museum

The Little Hollywood Museum celebrates Kanab’s rich history as a filming location for numerous Western movies and television shows. The museum features movie sets, memorabilia, and exhibits that showcase Kanab’s role in Hollywood’s golden age of Westerns. Visitors can take guided tours, watch film clips, and even see live reenactments.

16. Pipe Spring National Monument

Pipe Spring National Monument, located in the Arizona Strip region, preserves a historic site that tells the story of Native American, pioneer, and Mormon settler interactions. The monument features a well-preserved fort, known as Winsor Castle, and beautiful desert landscapes. Visitors can take guided tours of the fort, explore the visitor center, and walk the interpretive trails.

Pipe Spring National Monument offers a rich historical experience. The site provides insight into the lives of the people who lived and worked there, from the indigenous Kaibab Paiute to the Mormon pioneers. The spring itself, a vital water source in this arid region, is the centerpiece of the monument, highlighting the importance of water in the desert.

17. Attend Balloons and Tunes Roundup

The Balloons and Tunes Roundup is an annual event held every February in Kanab, featuring hot air balloons and live music. The festival takes place over a weekend, with early morning balloon launches and evening concerts. Visitors can watch the balloons soar over the scenic landscape, take tethered balloon rides, and enjoy a variety of food and craft vendors.

Best Day Trips from Kanab

18. Zion National Park

Tim and Sarah on the Watchman Trail

A day trip from Kanab to Zion National Park offers a chance to explore one of Utah’s most iconic natural wonders. Zion, known for its towering sandstone cliffs, lush valleys, and diverse ecosystems, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some recommended activities to make the most of your visit:

  • Hike Angel’s Landing: One of the most famous hikes in the park, Angel’s Landing provides breathtaking views from its summit. The trail is challenging and includes a narrow ridge with chains for support, but the vistas are worth the effort.
  • Explore The Narrows: Hike through the Virgin River in the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. This unique trail involves wading through water and navigating rocky terrain, offering a refreshing adventure.
  • Visit Emerald Pools: A series of trails lead to lower, middle, and upper pools, with waterfalls, lush vegetation, and scenic views along the way. This hike is great for all skill levels.
  • Drive the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway: Enjoy a scenic drive through the park, with tunnels, switchbacks, and stunning views of the canyon’s geology. Don’t miss the viewpoints along the way.
  • Rent an e-bike to tour Zion Canyon without relying on the shuttle system.

19. Bryce Canyon National Park

Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park, with its unique hoodoos and vibrant colors, is another fantastic day trip destination from Kanab. The park is renowned for its otherworldly rock formations and expansive vistas. Here are some activities to enjoy:

  • Hike the Queen’s Garden/Navajo Loop: This popular trail combo takes you down into the canyon among the hoodoos, offering close-up views of these fascinating formations. The switchbacks of Wall Street are a highlight.
  • Drive the Scenic Byway: The park’s scenic drive offers numerous overlooks and pullouts, allowing you to appreciate the varied landscapes and geological wonders of Bryce.

20. Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend

A day trip to Page, Arizona, from Kanab opens up a world of unique geological formations and outdoor adventures. Page is home to several must-see attractions, including:

  • Visit Antelope Canyon: This iconic slot canyon is known for its mesmerizing light beams and narrow, winding passageways. Both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon offer guided tours that showcase the stunning sandstone formations.
  • Hike to Horseshoe Bend: Just a short drive from Page, Horseshoe Bend provides an incredible viewpoint overlooking a dramatic bend in the Colorado River. The hike is easy and rewards you with breathtaking vistas.
  • Explore Lake Powell: Rent a boat or take a guided tour to explore the vast waters and hidden coves of Lake Powell. Activities include swimming, kayaking, and fishing, with opportunities to visit landmarks like Rainbow Bridge.

Best Places to Stay in Kanab

Our top recommendation for a hotel is Best Friends Roadhouse. The hotel caters to travelers with pets, but even if you don’t have a pet, it’s an awesome place to stay. We stayed there with our cat Mara and they treated her like a princess (rightfully so!).

You can use the map below to search more accomodation options in Kanab.

Best Time to Visit Kanab

Spring: Spring is a delightful time to visit Kanab. With mild temperatures and wildflowers in bloom, the landscape comes alive with vibrant colors. This season is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, exploring the sand caves, and visiting nearby national parks. Plus, you’ll encounter fewer crowds compared to the summer months.

Summer: Summer in Kanab brings hot and dry weather, making it the peak tourist season. Despite the heat, this time of year is bustling with visitors eager to explore the area’s natural wonders. While you’ll need to contend with larger crowds, summer offers the perfect opportunity for outdoor adventures like canyoneering, horseback riding, and attending local festivals and events.

Fall: Fall is arguably the best time to visit Kanab. As the temperatures begin to cool down, the landscape transforms into a stunning display of fall colors. The crowds thin out, providing a more peaceful experience at popular attractions such as Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. Fall is ideal for hiking, photography, and scenic drives through the colorful landscapes.

Winter: Winter in Kanab brings mild weather with occasional snowfall, offering a different perspective of the region’s beauty. While some outdoor activities may be limited due to the weather, it’s a great time to explore the area without the crowds. Off-season rates on accommodations and tours make winter an attractive option for budget-conscious travelers. Plus, you can still enjoy activities like visiting the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, exploring the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, and taking scenic drives to nearby attractions.

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