15 Best Things to do in Kanab, Utah – all the hidden gems!

15 Awesome Things to do in Kanab, Utah

Kanab Attractions: Wondering what are the best things to do in Kanab, Utah? Kanab is a great city in southwest Utah that is close to Grand Staircase Escalante, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and also Zion National Park.

There is so much to do and see near Kanab, Utah it is well worth spending a few days there. Most people are here to visit the National Parks but there are also some great State Parks.

No matter what you feel like doing in Kanab, you will find something for everyone on this list of things to do in Kanab, Utah.

To visit any of the National Parks in the USA, I recommend buying a National Park Pass. The America the Beautiful Pass is valid for one year and costs $80. Plus 10% of sale proceeds go to the National Park Foundation.

15 Fun Things to do in Kanab, Utah

GRAND STAIRCASE-ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Experience an adventure in new heights and visit the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This monument spans nearly one million acres of America’s public lands and it is made of three distinct units: the Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and the Escalante Canyon. The Monument itself is diverse and full of different types of geological treasures unique to Kanab. Across this land are geological entities such as monoliths, natural bridges, and arches.

Grand Staircase Escalante near Kanab Utah

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument serves as a playground for adventure seekers that are hungry for off-road adventures that involve canyons and trails just waiting to trek. Tourists and locals frequent the site as the monument itself is breathtaking – it is surely one of nature’s best creations to date. When the sun hits the rocks, it’s the most picturesque view for visitors. 

HIKE BUCKSKIN GULCH

Judging from its name, Buckskin Gulch sounds out of this world. But what it actually is a world famous trail that hikers frequent and always end up on everybody’s bucket list. Known as one of Utah’s famous slot canyons, every inch and corner of the Buckskin Gulch is picturesque and just glorious in its washed red and orange glow.

Two hikers dwarfed by Buckskin Gulch, located in southern Utah, it is one of the longest slot canyons in the world.

The trail itself leads through a beautiful slot canyon and runs for nearly 15 miles, one of the longest in the world. One of the unique things about hiking through a slot canyon is that you’ll never know what kind of environment you’ll get so best be careful and always watch out for hazards. Aside from hiking, hikers are welcome to camp out overnight and enjoy the beautiful Utah night sky at the Buckskin Gulch. 

PARIA CANYON-VERMILION CLIFFS WILDERNESS

Kanab is known as one of Utah’s meccas for hiking enthusiasts. Scattered all over the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs are different canyons and valleys waiting to be trekked and discovered by hikers and tourists alike. There has been an initiative to preserve and protect the area. The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness combination has been a tourists’ and locals’ favorite for years. In this wilderness is the Buckskin Gulch that is also world renowned as a bucket list for hikers.

In the Paria Canyon, you’ll find scalloped-shaped rock walls that are a beautiful combination of red and orange swirls. Hiking through the Vermillion Cliffs gives the feeling of trekking through rugged terrain that makes it seem so otherworldly: chunks of rocks scattered everywhere, red landscapes, and amazing landmasses that make you appreciate the gorgeous nature.

COYOTE BUTTES NORTH

Cradled in the northern area of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is the Coyote Buttes: a visually striking geologic formation that has been worldly renowned as a beautiful natural masterpiece. The Coyote Buttes North, also famously known as “The Wave”, is located in the undeveloped wilderness area that does not contain any known or developed trails and facilities but it truly is one of the premier photographic destinations in the US Southwest.

Bryce Canyon National Park – Utah – USA

In the Coyote Buttes North, you’ll find other amazing rock formations that are unique to the area and are named as The Second Wave, The Alcove, Top Rock Arch, Melody Arch, and the Grotto. Photographers and hikers recommend coming to the Coyote Buttes North in the mid-morning to early afternoon so that you’ll perfectly capture the picturesque landscape while minimizing extensive shadows.

COYOTE BUTTES SOUTH

The Coyote Buttes South is a small part of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. It may be small in size, compared to its counterpart, but its views are equally, if not more, stunning and visually striking. With stone that has been eroded through time, wind, and water, the South part of the Coyote Buttes is a great hiking trail with views that will leave you breathless. For sure, this area would become one of your favorite go-to hiking spots. The Coyote Buttes South is often less known than its counterpart, but some say that its views are more amazing than the North part. Every inch and angle of the area is picturesque with its stunning red and orange streaked canyon walls and various unique rock formations.

WHITE POCKET

The White Pocket, located in the east of the Coyote Buttes South, is one of the beautiful natural rock formations that have become a crowd favorite. Aside from being located in the vicinity near the Coyote Buttes South, the White Pocket is also known for having peculiarly shaped rocks that look like beach waves.

The white rocks that have formed in smooth, round mounds make a stunning contrast against the natural red rock formations of Arizona’s landscape. Hikers have all given approximately the same review of the place: they all say that hiking into the White Pocket feels as if they have entered a fantasy landscape on Mars. remember to take lots of pictures while in Arizona because for sure, every inch of the hike is picturesque on its own. 

VERMILION CLIFFS

The Vermillion Cliff is a beautiful geologic landscape that is rugged, unspoiled, and downright stunning. Filled with canyons, slot canyons, curious and unique rock formations, and undiscovered trails. Vermillion Cliffs give you an otherworldly visual while still being on Earth. Its swirling red-white-orange rock formation made from layered Navajo sandstone is enough to put it on the same page as its famous neighbors such as the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument – North Coyote Buttes

The entire terrain is absolutely untouched and remote and you won’t see a visitor center or a camping ground for miles. But surely, the Vermillion Cliffs is one of the best hiking spots in Kanab and they have one of the most visited hiking attractions in their vicinity – including The Wave. 

CORAL PINK SAND DUNES STATE PARK

The deserts of Kanab are known to be one of the best around so it is no surprise that they have the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Located in the southwestern part of Kanab, the park itself features alluring pink-colored sand dunes located beside red sandstone cliffs.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

The pink-hued sand makes the park one of the perfect spots for photography as it truly is picturesque and beautiful. In the park, there are various facilities and activities for guests to enjoy. Across the grounds are camping grounds, a visitor center, and areas for sand activities. Some of the park’s famous heart-pumping outdoor activities are sand sledding, sandboarding, OHV Riding, ATVs, hiking, and camping. 

PEEK-A-BOO & SPOOKY GULCH

Peek-a-Boo & Spooky Gulch is not as scary as you might think — it’s actually quite the opposite: it is breathtaking and absolutely stunning especially on a good sunny day. Gulches are basically narrow and steep-sided ravines that mark the course of a fast stream. The Peek-A-Boo & Spooky Gulch are exactly that and they are two separate slots combined.

Hiker Jumping inside Peekaboo Slot Canyon Utah

Hand and foot holes are etched and carved into the rock wall to assist in your ascent and descent. The ground is a combination of sandy and rock solid ground that makes for a great hiking foundation. The trail itself is actually a loop and is highly recommended for hikers with expertise. 

EXPLORE THE MOQUI CAVERNS

The Moqui Caverns, one of the modern wonders of Kanab and a popular go-to hiking location, is part of the history that made Kanab itself. The Moqui Caverns are man-made caverns that were historically used for sand harvesting. It’s easy to be confused about the Moqui Caverns and the Moqui Cave, the former is the famous hiking ground and the latter is a popular gift shop but the Moqui Caverns is located in between the Moqui Cave and the Best Friend Animal Sanctuary.

caverns in Utah
Wind Caves outside of Kanab, Utah

The hike is very accessible no matter what the age or height and is pretty fun to do especially with friends and family. It is highly recommended that guests tour and see the insides of the caverns as it is very picturesque and very magical especially right before sunset when the sunlight is soft and just bright enough to highlight the entire cavern.

CHECK OUT THE BELLY OF THE DRAGON IN KANAB

Wouldn’t it be exciting to say that you conquered something amazing? Head on over to the Belly of the Dragon in Kanab and you could definitely say that you conquered the impossible. The Belly of the Dragon is a manmade drainage tunnel but time has carved the sandstone walls and eventually, a beautifully unique tunnel was formed. With such a scary name, you’d think that the Belly of the Dragon is such a great feat to hike but it is actually quite the opposite.

The Belly of the Dragon is one of Kanab’s unique and accessible hiking trails around and is close to town. There are 2 trails: one that leads through a long cave that looks exactly like the insides of a beast, and the other trail goes into the bed of a creek, dried up or not depending on the seasons. The hike is half a mile long and a bit out of the ordinary but all in all, it’s a good hike for anyone of any level and is definitely a must do when visiting Kanab.

DISCOVER CUTLER COVE SOMETIMES CALLED THE GREAT CHAMBER ONLINE

Despite having two names, Cutler Cove is no doubt a photographer’s paradise. Located just North-East of Kanab, this beautiful rock dome is a picture perfect attraction. Considered as a not-so-hidden gem in Kanab, Cutler Cove has one of the unspoiled natural wonders in this part of the state. The hike to the arch itself is full of beautiful rock formations that make the trip worthwhile.

Paired with the hike is a 4×4 trip as the entire place is located near sand dunes but it’s perfectly fine as long as you join guided tours. There are trail markers in the area and it is a short hike to the top to reach the Great Chamber in Cutler Point. No matter the angle, and where you are in the area, you’ll definitely get great photos. The views of the valley, with its blue skies, rolling clouds, and endless serene feeling, are sure hits to guests who come to Cutler Cove. 

HEAD TO ZION NATIONAL PARK

The Zion National Park is no small feat. The park itself is made up of 229 square miles of land, with dozens of hiking trails, cliffs, gorgeous rock formations, and thriving local plants with various species to name. The Zion National Park is home to the Zion Canyon, a deep and narrow gorge carved by the Virgin River, that is a favorite hiking trail for hikers of all expertise.

best hikes in Utah

There are mainly three sections in the park that are frequently visited and they are the Kolob canyons, the Kolob Terrace, and the main Canyon. Other than these main trails, there are many attractions to see in the Zion National Park like the Canyon Overlook, where you can view the park from a higher perspective coupled with amazing views down into the Pine Creek slot canyon. Another attraction is the Big Bend, a beautiful turn of the Virgin River through the Zion National Park. 

KODACHROME BASIN STATE PARK

Another gem in Kanab is the Kodachrome Basin State Park. pictures would never give the park justice with its magical views and stunning landscapes. The park is best known for the 67 towering sand pipes that make the entire landscape and is a photographer’s favorite spot for wonderful picture opportunities. The park is colorful in its swirling red hues that contrast against brilliant blue skies. The Kodachrome Basin State Park is just one giant photoshoot location. It was named as such because the National Geographic Society photographers nicknamed the area as Kodachrome Flat during a photography expedition and the name has stuck since then.

A spectacular view of rock formation in Kodachrome Basin State Park

Aside from its majestic views and towering canyons, the park offers a trail that is well loved by adventurists and hikers alike. No matter the level of expertise, guests would always flock to Kodachrome Basin State Park. Their unique landscape is filled with sand pipes, chimney rocks, and towering rock arches that resulted from ancient geysers that used to dominate the landscape. Nowadays, the multi-colored sand pipes range in varying heights with brilliant colors that are unique to Arizona. 

VISIT THE NORTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON

Known as the “Other Side” of the Grand Canyon is the North Rim. Standing over 8000 feet in elevation, and with a beautiful lodge to accommodate guests, the North Rim is equally a great attraction, with absolutely stunning views, to those who wish to visit the Grand Canyon.

10 miles separate the main South Rim of the Grand Canyon and the North Rim. the North Rim is higher in elevation and would actually give better views, minus the crowds, and has a much relaxed vibe. The North Rim is considered a hidden gem for guests as it is less visited than its counterpart. What’s great about the North Rim is that it provides a stunning view of the Grand Canyon at a higher perspective. 

American Southwest Obsessed

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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