I’m an expert traveler and frequent Utah visitor with insights into the absolute best things to do in Kanab!
This guide overviews the big-name national parks in the north, along with other popular destinations. But I also share several hidden gems, like mysterious slot canyons and lesser-known hiking trails. Read on to discover what makes Kanab one of the coolest places in Utah!
Table of Contents
- 17 Best Things to Do in Kanab
- Buckskin Gulch
- Paria Canyon
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Lake Powell
- Moqui Cave
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- North Rim of the Grand Canyon
- Kodachrome Basin State Park
- Hike the Wave
- Zion National Park
- Little Hollywood Land
- Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon
- Hike to the Toadstools
- Via Ferrata
- Belly of the Dragon
- White Pocket
- Great Chamber
- FAQs About Kanab Attractions
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17 Best Things to Do in Kanab
Utah’s deepest slot canyon is also one of the longest in the world.
Want the experience of a famous Utah slot canyon but without the crazy national park crowds? Buckskin Gulch is the place to go!
Wade in pools up to your waist as you strategically maneuver between the ever-narrowing walls in one of the longest slot canyons in the world. Buckskin Gulch is a whopping 32 miles round-trip and located in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Be sure to snag a backpacking permit from Recreation.gov to explore the whole canyon.
Slot canyons are one of the only enjoyable places to hike during a hot Utah summer thanks to their shade and water. But be sure to check the weather beforehand and be wary of rain clouds. You’ll also want to bring all the important hiking essentials with you into the belly of the canyon!
Get lost (in a good way) on Paria’s endless supply of canyon trails.
The hiking possibilities are endless in Paria Canyon. The thick Navajo sandstone of the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area defines its desert landscape. This beauty contributes to Paria Canyon’s popularity as a top backpacking spot.
Make your Buckskin Gulch experience a multi-day adventure by hiking into the nearby Paria Canyon slots. The famous Arizona Wave hike is also just around the corner. I recommend getting to the area a day early to hike in Paria Canyon before you hike The Wave.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Disappear deep into the Utah desert at this star-gazing oasis.
Get ready to have a blast ATV-ing, stargazing, and riding down the dunes at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.
Mountains of sand carved and shifted by wind left a beautiful artist’s palette of soft pinks, reds, and white all around the state park. Go check out this Southwest Utah natural art anomaly for yourself!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is one of the best places to go off-roading in southern Utah. Plus, its proximity to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks makes it a great place to set up basecamp for a week or two while exploring the nearby sites.
Pack your camping essentials and camp out for a while under the Coral Pink Sand Dunes’ starry sky.
Cool off from the Utah summer heat with a dip or boat ride around Lake Powell, home to one of the highest natural arch formations in the world.
Lake Powell is one of the most sought-after things to do in Kanab during a hot Utah summer. Hit up your friends with a boat or rent your own to find refuge in the cool Lake Powell waters.
Laying lakeside and simply doing nothing is my ideal vacation. Lake Powell allows vacationers to unleash their lazy side, sip on an adult beverage, get a suntan, and watch the wakeboarders pass by.
Lake goers who need a more stimulated vacation should check out Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the best things to do in Utah. Don’t miss your chance to visit one of the highest arches in the world, right on Lake Powell.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? Here are some of my favorite Lake Powell hotels.
A bar, art gallery, and gift shop inside a cave — the ideal attraction for families with kids.
Moqui Cave resides just outside Kanab right up Highway 89. It’s easy to miss so drive slow and be on the lookout! Moquia Cave was purchased in the 1950s and converted into a bar, art gallery, and performance hall. Today, it houses artwork, a bar, and iridescent gems and minerals.
Moqui Cave is one of the best things to do for families visiting southern Utah. This is especially true in the hot summer months, as the cave never surpasses 65 degrees. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on the way out to purchase some authentic Native American jewelry!
Bryce Canyon National Park
Utah’s top national park houses hundreds of vibrant sandstone spires, creating the ultimate Utah sunset spot.
Bryce Canyon is one of the top national parks in Utah, and can’t be missed the next time you’re in the Kanab area. The commute is just under an hour and a half between the two destinations, making it the perfect day trip.
Hike among the orange hoodoo spires during sunrise in Bryce Canyon. Or enjoy my favorite national park activity: packing a picnic and venturing to a sunset lookout. The soft evening hues reflect off the sandstone spires creating a storybook image, perfect for a social media post.
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Arizona’s prized natural possession is only a short day trip from Kanab.
Most national parkgoers enjoy a scenic walk around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. But more daring visitors can opt to take a horse or hike deep into the gorge.
Kodachrome Basin State Park
Camp away from the crowds at this state park, home to a plethora of trails and natural arches.
Camp amid towering spires in Kodachrome Basin State Park, only 1 hour, 45 minutes outside of Kanab. Bold red and orange tones set the most photogenic backdrop for a desert hiking photoshoot.
I recommend visiting Grosvenor Arch, a double arch anomaly that you have to see to believe. Photograph the double sandstone arch in the wintertime when snow is lightly flanked atop the landmark. It’s the most photogenic time to visit Kodachrome.
Hike the Wave
One of the most popular hikes in the Southwest emulates a marine desert experience.
The Wave is arguably the most popular hike in Utah in terms of numbers. It technically straddles two state lines. Start The Wave hike in Utah and arrive at your destination across the border in Arizona.
The multi-color sandstone layering of the Wave formation gives it an ocean-like resemblance. It’s one of the coolest natural features to experience in the middle of the desert.
The Wave hike now requires a permit and operates on a lottery system via Recreation.gov due to its increasing popularity.
Zion National Park
Utah’s most popular national park bustles with life during all four seasons.
Utah’s most popular national park is only 35 minutes from Kanab. There’s really no excuse not to visit since you’re already so close!
There’s magic in every season at Zion National Park. Enjoy refreshing slot canyon water hikes in the summer and abundant wildlife in the spring. Encounter fewer crowds in the winter and marvel at autumn foliage during the fall months.
I highly recommend the Zion Narrows hike for the ultimate Zion NP experience. Check out the Watchman Trail near the entrance for a fun hike without ample crowds. Or hike down to the Virgin River via the Pa’rus Trail.
Little Hollywood Land
Tired of hiking? Visit one of Kanab’s main tourist attractions all about the “Wild West.”
Hollywood in the middle of the Utah desert — who would-a thunk it? Little Hollywood Land is the perfect Kanab attraction to give your feet a rest from hiking. Visit the Little Hollywood Museum and Trading Post to learn more about the cinematography of the Wild West.
Walk among real movie sets and props, shop for Native American jewelry, and sit down at the in-house restaurant. Be sure to snap some Western-themed photos with the whole family to take some tangible memories back home.
Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon
One of Utah’s most photogenic slot canyons is easy enough for hikers of all fitness levels to enjoy.
Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon is the perfect hike to embark on if you didn’t snag a permit to the nearby Wave hike. The stratigraphic layers on the walls create the same type of wave illusion. This makes Peek-A-Boo a favorite alternative to the overcrowded nearby hike.
Reaching one of the most well-known slot canyons west of the Mississippi requires only an easy 0.7-mile hike — if you have a high clearance, 4WD vehicle. It’s best navigated with a small UTV or ATV when conditions allow.
Alternatively, you can reach Peek-A-Boo via a moderate 7.5-mile hike. Note that deep sand can make it difficult to step inside the canyon. Be prepared for somewhat of a strain heading into the slot. Also, check the weather for possible surprise monsoons before wiggling your way through the iconic slot canyon!
Hike to the Toadstools
Experience an out-of-this-world landscape just outside of Kanab with bold, whimsical features.
Experience Utah’s extraterrestrial landscape while hiking the famous toadstools. This Grand Staircase Escalante landmark is as whimsical as it gets in Utah. Mushroom-like rock formations set the stage here, creating a fun playground environment.
This is one of my favorite places to get lost in Utah due to the scant number of tourist crowds year-round and the allowance of furry friends (pet owners rejoice!). The hike around the toadstools is an easy 1.8-mile roundtrip trail, easy enough for kids and small pets.
Don’t forget to check out our ultimate Utah packing list guide to ensure you bring all the desert hiking essentials.
Hang on for dear life as you scale giant rock formations.
Scale giant granite walls by clipping into iron ladders on a via ferrata above Cave Lakes Canyon. The wilderness area is less than an hour outside Kanab. This is the perfect excursion for adrenaline junkies and those looking to spice up their Kanab hiking experience.
Book a professional guide and start climbing to new heights! Climbing up the via ferrata is ideal for beginner climbers and is the perfect segue into a life of rock climbing.
One of my favorite parts of the climb is the way down. Sit back, relax, and enjoy an effortless rappel down the steep cliff wall.
Belly of the Dragon
Get swallowed up by nature in this easy-access roadside cavernous attraction.
Venture into the belly of the beast at this unique tunnel hike. Belly of the Dragon is only 17 miles north of Kanab and requires only an easy 0.5-mile hike. It’s one of the best hikes in Utah for families.
The Belly of the Dragon hike is ideal during a hot summer Utah afternoon, as the tunnel shade provides a cool escape from the desert sun. This roadside attraction is also on the way to Zion National Park, so you might as well get out and stretch your legs if traveling between the two.
Layered pinks, reds, and white line the ever-narrowing canyon walls of White Pocket.
White Pocket is another great alternative to The Wave hike. Similar features await at this popular hiking spot right across the border in Arizona. The sandstone layers and waves give it as much character as The Wave but without the crowds.
Please do not attempt to get to the trailhead without 4WD. You will likely get stuck and it may take upwards of hours to get help with the spotty cell service out there.
You’ll be delighted to know there’s tons of BLM land around White Pocket if you do have an off-roading vehicle. This makes it easy to camp for free near the trailhead.
One of the best places to ride on an ATV ride outside Kanab.
Extensive hiking and ATV trails set the stage at the Great Chamber in Kanab, Utah. Be advised that this is another 4WD-required area (with deep sand), so only attempt to get to the trailhead in a high-clearance vehicle.
Be sure to also bring plenty of food and water to replenish, as many of the hiking trails are through strenuous sand.
FAQs About Kanab Attractions
What is there to see between Kanab and Bryce?
What is there to do between St George and Kanab?
What is Kanab, Utah known for?
Thanks for reading my guide on cool things to do in Kanab, Utah! For more Utah fun, be sure to also check out Travel Lemming’s Camping in Utah guide.
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