Are you traveling to the US to explore the great Southwest? Are you going to spend time in the state of Utah? If so, the town of Kanab could be a great home base!
Not only is Kanab nestled amidst a number of noteworthy national parks, but you will discover several off-the-beaten-path opportunities available to you. Still skeptical? Then check out this feature focused on 11 breathtaking things to do in Kanab, Utah.
11 Breathtaking Things To Do In Kanab, Utah
1. Go To The Great Chamber
Some travelers are drawn to this place simply from seeing a picture. Mind you, the drive there is not effortless. If you like off-roading though and have the proper vehicle, you should be fine on the sandy roads leading to this attraction.
If you don’t have the proper vehicle, don’t stress. You can sign on for a professional tour. A good guide will get you there in a timely manner, advise you on how not to overly disturb the sand there, and even take a picture of you if you ask nicely. Locals report that most tours begin at 9 a.m. so try to book one earlier and you will beat the others.
2. Experience The Wave
As this goes to press, it is relatively difficult to get a permit to hike here. Nevertheless, it is worth the effort. At press time, it involves a lottery, so if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again every day you’re there in Kanab. Worse comes to worst, even if you don’t score a permit, there are a number of different noteworthy excursions in this area. Be aware that if you do garner a hiking permit, the permit will be for the following day, so you need to plan your visit accordingly.
3. See The Belly Of The Dragon
Seeing this attraction is a quick, fun trip that veteran visitors confirm is “perfect” for one of those hot summer days. Not only can you actually see this popular tunnel from the actual parking lot, but the hike through the actual tunnel is easy and short too. On the other hand, if you’re up for a longer hike, you can extend your hike by roughly four miles by hiking through the wash as well.
You will, however, need headlamps if you decide to venture into the cave in the evening. It’s actually more challenging in the dark. One final tip: don’t plan on doing this hike if it is at all rainy because the tunnel serves as a water drain for the upper canyons here.
4. Conquer A Via Ferrata
For those not in the know, a Via Ferrata is essentially a metal course that allows you to scale a sheer rock wall. You are locked and harnessed in so it’s safe.There is also generally a guide to assist you as well.
The Via Ferrata in Kanab includes areas that are definitely challenging, especially the section where you need to cross using your hands on the rough rock. Still, this will make it even more memorable. You can rappel here too if you choose.
You will be stepping on metal rungs as you climb upward, so it is smart to wear footwear that provides you with good traction on those thing rungs. Hiking boots will work. Is it possible to complete the climb safely without them? Sure, but the right footwear will definitely give you more peace of mind.
5. Visit White Pocket
Some photographers like this place better than the more well-known Wave. Both are, of course, beautiful and worth seeing. Indeed, while the famous Wave is like nothing you’ve ever seen, the White Pocket area is more fun for photographers and offers travelers a unique experience.
Be careful driving there. The road is reported to be quite sandy and some visitors get stuck there. Consider going with a guide or driving a reliable high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle. Even if you off-road a lot, remember that this is soft sand. Once you arrive, you also need to remember that the landscape here is actually delicate so be careful where you step in order to help preserve the native vegetation and the brittle rocks.
6. Explore The Moqui Cave
Need a break from the summer heat? This is another perfect place to chill out. Believe it or not, Moqui Cave used to be a bar where such famous actors as John Wayne would visit while filming various Westerns.
Today, it’s a family-owned and managed museum and cave complete with fun fluorescent rocks, distinct dinosaur tracks, and assorted ancient artifacts, dinosaur tracks, and fluorescent rocks. While they do not serve adult beverages here anymore, you can still have a soft drink and sit right where Wayne often sat. Be sure not to miss the large wooden carving too.
Feeling peckish? You can grab a bite at the popular panini truck that’s parked outside the cave. By the time you get there, they may have already converted one of the unused spaces inside the cave so they can host various movie screenings, live music performances, and other events. The cave’s temperature is never higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit so bring a hoodie or a light jacket.
7. Delve Into The Kanab Sand Caves
Next, head south of Moqui Cave and you will find this interesting attraction that has five separate openings. Be careful if you research this online. Some traveler bloggers and even confused veteran visitors refer to the Kanab Sand Caves as the Moqui Caves.
Indeed, even Google Maps had it mislabeled as this article is being written. The locals say this place is called the Sand Caves. They are man-made caves once briefly used to mind sand many years ago.
If you’re into hiking, you can walk from Moqui Cave to these caves. The distance is a little shorter if you drive and park in the pullout located south of Moqui Cave. You can see these caves across the street from the pullout. While the hike is just half a mile, it is steep in places.
8. Enjoy The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
If you’re into petting, head for the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on Angel Canyon Road. It is America’s biggest no-kill shelter. The sanctuary includes 37,000 acres and another 33,000 acres leased from the Bureau of Land Management.
The general tour includes cats, dogs, pigs, and horses. You can also take tours focused on specific interests. Go online to see the tour schedule and even book the free tours. You can check out some places, like Angels Rest, on your own if you wish.
You might not be able to get any cell service, but do you really need it? If so, some of the actual buildings here might have WiFi available. If seeing some of the animals eat makes you hungry, there is a cheap vegan lunch buffet at the inexpensive Angel Village.
9. Hike To The Towering Toadstool Hoodoos
This enjoyable hike is considered an easy one. It is an out-and-back hike with a total distance of less than two miles. Shutterbugs should note that you will discover a number of noteworthy photo ops here as well.
It is one of those wonderful hikes that is short and easy yet it yields surprisingly high rewards. The Toadstool Hoodoos Trail is one of those hikes that frequent hikers almost endlessly praise. The rugged rock formations here are often massive and memorable. Veteran visitors also report that this place is also an exceptional spot for anyone interested in astrophotography.
10. Check Out The Little Hollywood Museum
Your next stop is this museum on West Center Street. As previously suggested, Kanab has been the setting for many well-known westerns, hence the name “Little Hollywood.” In fact, as you stroll around town, you will notice several plaques concerning key individuals in the motion picture industry.
It’s a popular place for photoshoots. It includes a gift shop and multiple movie sets on its backlot. Admission is free. Be sure to stay for one of their Chuckwagon Cookouts complete with Dutch-oven dinners and western entertainment.
11. Stop At Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
This state park on Sand Dune Road is a favorite of the locals. There’s a lot to do here including biking, hiking, and sledding or sandboarding down the hills. Rent an OHV (off-highway vehicle) and race over the dunes too. While the sand may not always look really pink, if you visit this place a little before sunset you’ll get a better understanding of why this place is named the “Coral Pink” Sand Dunes State Park.
Additional Available Activities In Kanab
*Visit the Kanab Heritage Museum to learn something about the ancestry and history of Kanab
*Explore the Maynard Dixon Home and learn about this historic home located in Mount Carmel
*See assorted artifacts from the ancient inhabitants at the Red Pueblo Museum
*Kanab’s restaurants fill quickly on weekends and holidays. Always make reservations.
*Temperatures can change significantly from daytime to nighttime. Dress and pack accordingly.