There are so many places to visit near Kanab, Utah. Kanab is a small town in Southern Utah with about 5,000 people. It is an unassuming town with an interesting history. Although Kanab, Utah has always been known as a cattle town, it became a movie makers’ haven back in the 1930s. The film industry actually became an economic boost for the town of Kanab. Its beautiful landscape and proximity to several national parks make Kanab a great place to visit today.
We made our way from Sedona to Kanab via 89A, where we stopped at Marble Canyon on our way to Kanab. Marble Canyon is about 90 minutes from Kanab and it is wonderfully remote so we didn’t have crowds to contend with.
Our first stop heading toward Marble Canyon was the Navajo Bridge, which offers a quick stop-off and restrooms! The bridge itself is a quick ½ walk across the Colorado River. After that take a short drive into the national park. Marble Canyon is on the Colorado River so the further you go into the park, you can walk along the river for some gorgeous views. We took 2 hours to explore Marble Canyon.
There are only a couple of places to stop and eat on 89A, so keep that in mind as you are traveling. Make sure to pack snacks or plan to stop at the Marble Canyon Lodge for sustenance. They are friendly and welcome dogs on their porch.
89A is a very scenic route heading all the way from Sedona, Arizona to Kanab. It is a beautiful drive with loads of places to pull over to take in the scenic views. Make sure you stop at Lefevre overlook for a view of the Grand Staircase. The Grand Staircase has 5 layers that look absolutely amazing.
- Grey Cliffs.
- White Cliffs.
- Vermilion Cliffs.
- Chocolate Cliffs.
- Pink Cliffs
When I first arrived in Kanab, Utah I was a little bewildered by how small this town is. There are 2 small grocery stores in town and a dollar general store. There is so much to see and do around Kanab, that it quickly grew on me. It has become one of my favorite places to visit in the United States.
What is Kanab UT known for?
Kanab is known as a small town in the middle of everywhere! That means it’s near all the amazing national parks and hiking trails that Utah has to offer. In the 1930s Kanab was a well-known location for Western movies. There are several places you can still see the sets that they used when filming here. Kanab is also called Little Hollywood, which makes it pretty unique for such a small town.
The proximity to national parks makes Kanab a great place to stay while you visit Southen Utah. If you have a love for outdoor activities and love a little peace and quiet, then Kanab is a great place for you to visit. St. George is a 90-minute drive and is a great place to visit when you stay in Kanab.
Distance from Kanab to the National Parks and sites
40 minutes to Zion National Park. Check out my post on how to spend the perfect day in Zion.
1 ½ hours to North Rim of Grand Canyon
1 ½ hours to Lake Powell. The Lake Powell Kayak tour is a great way to spend a day in Lake Powell. While you are there be sure to check out Horseshoe Canyon. It is a breath taking view. It is heavily trafficked ½ mile and it’s a very wide trail. I recommend getting there early in the morning or later in the evening.
Less than 90 minutes to Bryce Canyon
Less than 5 hours to Moab National Park
Is Kanab worth visiting?
Kanab is worth visiting for the many hiking trails that afford amazing views. The great thing about the trails near Kanab is that you will likely not have a crowd on the trails. A few of my favorite hikes near Kanab are:
Mansard Trail: This hike is considered strenuous. It is 5 miles up and back. You will climb 1200 feet during your hike. You can see the entire landscape when you reach the top and are rewarded with an entire rock floor of petroglyphs inside a natural cave. Take some time to sit and reflect on the climb and the beauty of the landscape. This is one of the best hikes in Utah.
Bunting Trail: This hike is tough! It’s about 5 miles up and back. Breathtaking is a good word, as it will take your breath away. It has lots of uphill, scrambling in a couple of spots but with amazing views of Kanab.
Moqui Cave: This is a unique roadside attraction near the Sand Caves. It was once a bar and theater back in the 1950s when Kanab hosted many Western movie stars. The bar and theater are still in the cave, but it is now a museum and shop. It is fun to walk around for a few minutes.
Sand Caves: These caves are located right beside the highway near Moqui Cave. It is a super easy hike that will take less than 30 minutes to hike. It is located right beside the highway with a moderate amount of traffic. The sand caves offer a unique view through the mouth of the cave. The view inside the cave made me think of the ancient people who might have used those caves as a home.
Jackson Reservoir Trail: The flat paved trail around a small reservoir. This is a great little trail to visit when you visit Kanab. The whole trail is about 4 miles with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. My pup, Tink loved going for walks around the reservoir. When I took a day off from hiking, I used this loop for exercise.
Belly of the Dragon: This is a super quick hike to a drainage tunnel under Highway 89. The trail through the belly is really cool to see. It can be under 2 miles unless you are feeling adventurous. If so, then keep going for another 4 miles until you reach some cool slot canyons. When you come to what appears to be a rock wall, most people turn around. You can go to your right, up the canyon wall, and around until you reach the slots.
East Rim Trail: This trail is on your right as you enter Zion National Park on the East side of the Park. I like the East entrance because there seems to be less traffic coming this way. This sandy 4.5-mile trail is much less crowded than a lot of Zion Park trails with a stunning view. It is also a very easy, wide trail where you won’t run into a ton of people and will find parking easily.
You will need to pay to enter the park so be prepared to pay to do this hike or preferably get a National Park Pass.
Toadstool Hoodoos Trail: This fun trail is only 45 minutes from downtown Kanab. The trail is about 2 miles and the views are otherworldly. A toadstool is a rock formation that is a spire-like formation with a boulder sitting on top. The colors of the rocks are white and red and probably the most unique landscape you will ever see. I love that the Toadstool hoodoos are so accessible with such a short hike. There are a lot of people on this trail, so keep that in mind.
Wirepass Trail: It is located near Buckskin Gulch. It is only about 30 miles from Kanab, but the last 8 miles are down a primitive dirt road so it takes over an hour to get there. There are bathrooms at the trailhead which are great after riding down the dirt road for so long. There is a fee for parking, which you can make online or do while you’re there.
This trail is super easy at 3.5 miles, with a great slot canyon to view from above or walk through. We took Tink and there is a ladder that is required to enter the long part of the canyon. We didn’t think we could get Tink down the ladder so we opted to go up and around, it was a lovely view.
Check out this great app for all the trails near Kanab. I love this app because it tells you about the trails as well as exactly where to park and how to access the trail. There are several locations near Kanab where you will need a 4-wheel drive to access a trail.
Kolob Canyons: They are located 40 miles north of the main entrance to Zion National Park. There is a fee to enter Canyons as they are part of Zion. I loved Kolob Canyons because there is much less traffic than at the main Zion entrance. The scenic 5-mile drive offers many pull-offs for photos and just gapping at the beauty.
There are 3 hiking trails in Kolob Canyons. The most popular is Taylor Creek, which is about 5 miles. The trailhead parking is small, so keep that in mind when planning your visit. I was just meandering through and did the Timber Creek trail which is only about a mile. Super easy with a gorgeous view at the top. The other trail starts at Lees Ferry and is 14 miles!
Grafton Ghost Town: Located near Zion National Park. Grafton Ghost Town is located about 2 miles from Springdale and only 5 miles from the entrance to Zion National Park. It was a fun little place to see after my hike in Kolob Canyons.
Kanab has its own app for trails that are close to Kanab. Download this app for a view of all the many trails near Kanab
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a must-see when you visit Kanab. I booked a grand tour online and absolutely fell in love with the campus and the mission. The sanctuary is 3700 hundred acres and is home to 1500 homeless animals, most of whom are special needs. Each animal area houses a hospital for that specific breed, where they are spayed and neutered.
There are facilities for the animals to have room to roam and volunteers are welcome to love on the animals. The animal areas have such cool names as Horse Haven, Dogtown, Catworld, Parrot Garden, Piggy Paradise and Wild Friends.
You can book an appointment to “work” with the animals. I think this would be great to do with kids. I met a family from Germany who came to Best Friends for the week, just to work with the horses on the campus.
This campus is home to Angels Rest Memorial where animal friends from around the world are laid to rest. Windchimes tinkle in the breeze, making you feel all the love! They also have a vegan cafe open to the public, where the view is like no other.
Does Kanab have a downtown?
Kanab has a small downtown full of charm. If you visit downtown Kanab, you can easily walk to local spots for shopping and dining. From the cute little restaurants to a couple of funky shops, this quaint downtown is fun to poke around. There are 2 small grocery stores but they do have most items you would need for a stay in Kanab.
Willow Canyon Outdoor is a coffee shop, book shop, and outdoor shop all in one. It’s pretty quirky. I did find local coffee to bring home as well as a hiking hat that served me well.
Natures Showcase is a great shop on the outskirts of town. It is full of sandstone rocks, jewelry and unique Southern Utah items.
Sunny Creek has everything you need. It is a coffee shop with a large seating area and strong wifi, so if you need to sit and get work done this is a great location. It is also the place in town to book your adventures from 4-wheelers to Grand Canyon excursions.
Denny’s Wigwam Curio has southwestern gifts and lots of knick-knacks. It is the place where tour buses tend to stop so keep that in mind when visiting.
Kanab Soda Fountain is a good place for an after rest. Old school soda fountain with great kitschy gift items.
Gluten Friendly Restaurants in Kanab
Wild Thyme Cafe has several gluten-free options on the menu but my favorites are the piggy bowl and the lava cake. I visited this cafe several times for the piggy bowl, it really is delicious.
Peekaboo Canyon has gluten-free crusts for its wood-fired pizzas. I had the Peekaboo Pear pizza which was outstanding. Their hell dive appetizer was excellent as well.
Sego has high-end features on its menu. They had a few gluten-free options. The food is very rich and the place itself is very cute. I had take-out.
Rocking V Cafe is a very eclectic place with an art studio upstairs from the cafe. I took myself to lunch and enjoyed a wonderful meal and very friendly staff. It was a true pleasure to eat at Rocking V.
Iron Horse has the typical steakhouse fare. The fries are fantastic!
Hotels in Kanab
Best Friends Roadhouse is a dog-friendly hotel in Kanab. It is a cute roadside motel that has had a makeover! They even have doggie beds in the hotel room. It is a unique hotel in Kanab.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I stay in Airbnbs. It gives me an opportunity to really get to know the community I am staying in. Since Kanab is super small, it was easy to learn the area. My hosts were amazing and my view of the sunrise every morning was breathtaking. If you are traveling to Kanab solo I highly recommend this Airbnb.
Places to Visit in Kanab with a dog
The hiking trails in Zion National Park are not dog-friendly. Yet all the trails near Kanab are dog friendly. Since most of them are not crowded, it a nice to be able to let your pup off-leash.
Airport near Kanab
There are 2 places to fly into when visiting Kanab. Page AZ Regional Airport and St George Regional Airport. Both are small and easy to navigate. St George is a bit bigger, so it is likely you will find more things to do in St George and items needed to pick up for your stay in Kanab.
Kanab Balloon Festival is the 3rd weekend in February. I was not in town for the festival but I noticed the billboard. Since Kanab is so gorgeous I can imagine how amazing the balloons would be against the red rocks.
There are plenty of places to visit near Kanab, Utah. It is the perfect location to visit all the National Parks nearby. I highly recommend staying in Kanab as a landing place for visiting Southern Utah. I loved my stay in Kanab, Utah.