Wondering what to do in Kanab? Discover hidden slot canyons and thrilling hiking adventures with this practical guide.
Kanab is a small city in Kane County, often hailed as the gateway to southern Utah‘s best indoor and outdoor adventures.
Surrounded by towering red rock formations and contrasting azure skies, Kanab is the perfect home base to explore the best of Utah’s national parks.
From the striped buttes in Old Paria canyon to the exhilarating adventures at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, you’ll find plenty of Kanab things to do.
So let’s dive into the best things to do around Kanab, Utah.
Top Tip: Looking for a great place to call home while visiting Kanab, consider staying at the Hampton Inn Kanab. It is an excellent reprieve after exploring the stunning slot canyons near Kanab.
Top 5 Things to Do in Kanab, Utah
Take a Scenic Drive on Cottonwood Canyon Road
The overland desert landscape dotted along Cottonwood Canyon Road offers some of Kanab’s most fascinating scenery.
This 47-mile dirt road has plenty of beautiful sights, from interestingly shaped white-capped peaks, arches, and short trailheads with stunning viewpoints.
Top Tip: Experience the best of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with this Cottonwood Canyon Road scenic drive and hike tour.
Hike the Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
Buckskin Gulch is the world’s longest and deepest continuous slot canyon and a main tributary of the Paria River.
Located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this popular Kanab attraction features mesmerizing Mars-like red rock formations.
Take the Wire Pass trailhead to the 13-mile-long Buckskin Gulch slot canyon and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience traversing through the narrow and winding paths.
Visit The Wave and Coyote Buttes South
The Wave (Coyote Buttes North) and Coyote Buttes South are a compact part of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. These areas feature striking sandstone formations with swirling white lines across the buttes.
The Coyote Buttes are pretty remote, with no paved roads. You’ll need a 4×4 to get through this terrain.
Hiking these deep sand and rocky areas requires you to be physically fit. But once you set your eyes on these alien-like formations—it will all be worth it.
Top Tip: The Wave and Coyote Butte South are some of the most sought-after sights in Utah; only a limited number of tickets (20 for The Wave) are available through a daily lottery. You’ll need a mobile device to apply online between 6 am and 6 pm, and applications must be in two days before your hike.
Explore The Great Chamber (Cutler Point Cave)
The Great Chamber at Cutler Point is one of the most photogenic spots in Kanab. But it’s not easy to get to. You’ll need a 4×4 to traverse through the sandy roads.
If you don’t have the right vehicle, there are private tours you can book, allowing you to see all the scenic spots along the way.
The hollow sand chamber features a towering arch and is an excellent spot for epic Instagram snaps.
Marvel at the Toadstool Hoodoos
Kanab is nothing short of strangely-formed rocks and alien landscapes. And the Toadstool Hoodoos offer just that.
Take the 1.8-mile out-and-back hike via the Toadstool Hoodoos trail and experience soaring red and white rock formations. You may notice that these formations resemble creatures with wide bodies, long necks, and tipped heads—an usual formation of hoodoos.
Brilliant Things to See & Do in Kanab
Stop by the Kanab Visitor Center
Save yourself some time by taking advantage of the knowledgeable and friendly staff at Kanab Visitor Center.
They often give great road and weather reports, hiking recommendations, and must-haves to explore the city. The visitor center also features “traces in time” interpretive displays—a great way to learn about the history of Kanab.
Visit the Little Hollywood Museum
Kanab is home to some of the most iconic Western films like One Little Indian, earning it the name “Little Hollywood.” Located in the heart of Kanab, this quaint museum features actors’ plaques, bios, and filmographies.
You’ll also find a gift shop to collect souvenirs, and old movie sets decked out with memorabilia, original posters, props, and costumes. And the best part is you get to see all this for free.
Volunteer at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Are you an animal lover? You’ll love spending time with the rescue dogs, cats, pigs, birds, horses, and rabbits here. Housing over 1,000 animals, the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is one of the largest no-kill shelters in the United States.
Visitors can tour the property or lend a hand by volunteering, taking the animals out on hikes, and fostering and adopting any of the cuties.
Explore the Moqui Caverns & Sand Caves
As remnants of an old sand mine, exploring the Moqui caves is one of the quintessential Kanab things to do. The man-made caves are accessible via a short ascent up a steep slick rock, and you can easily spot the caves from the U.S. 89 highway.
This is quite a popular Kanab attraction, especially at sunset, when the caverns illuminate golden yellow hues just before sunset.
Step Back Into History at Moqui Cave Museum
While at the Moqui caverns, don’t forget to stop by the museum to see what southern Utah looked like centuries ago.
Visiting this quirky museum built within a red rock cave allows you to see fascinating displays of fossils, Native American artifacts, and an extensive collection of fluorescent minerals.
If you’d like a souvenir to remind you of this one-of-a-kind museum, visit the gift shop where you can get Native American handicrafts, jewelry, rugs, and art.
Grab a Bite at The Cave Cafe
You’ll find a charming food truck and shady spots to sit and enjoy a tasty local lunch at the Moqui Cave Museum entrance. The Cave Cafe food truck makes irresistible paninis, acai bowls, and refreshing smoothies.
Hike or Drive through the Red / Peek-a-Boo Canyon
The Red Canyon, or Peek-a-boo Canyon, is one of the most photogenic Kanab slot canyons. Often dubbed as the “Antelope Canyon without the crowds,” you’ll enjoy the red rock fins and swirls in this mesmerizing canyon (and take a few snaps) at your own pace.
Want something more exhilarating? Try sandboarding or going on a guided off-road UTV tour.
Venture Into the Belly of the Dragon
One of the most mind-blowing things to see in Kanab, Utah, is this water drainage tunnel underneath the U.S. 89 highway.
Thanks to continuous water erosion, the Belly of the Dragon houses irregularly shaped rocks that resemble the inside of intestines (hence the name).
This short, easy half-mile hike is an excellent spot for taking fantastic pictures. When the light floods the tunnel interior, it creates shady patches on the surface, making for an epic snap.
Climb the Via Ferrata Kanab
Kanab has plenty of activities, and yes, rock climbing is one of the most sought-after. Aside from getting sweeping views of the red landscape from above, you’ll also get to do something that gets the adrenaline pumping.
The Kanab Via Ferrata will see adrenaline seekers securely harnessed and climbing metal ladders before rappelling down 180 feet back to the base. You’ll climb up the Cave Lakes Cavern, which takes about one-and-a-half to two tours.
Note: Via Ferrata tours in Kanab are courtesy of Roam Outdoor Adventure and will cost about $99 for adults and $79 for children between six and fifteen.
Unique Things to See & Do in Kanab: Hidden Gems That are Off the Beaten Track
Visit Old Paria
Another Hollywood setting on this list is the enchanting Old Paria. Formerly occupied and abandoned in the 1920s, this rugged landscape features incredible multi-colored striped peaks.
Old Paria is pretty much unknown to the crowds who flock to southern Utah annually, making it a true Kanab hidden gem where you can find solitude.
Admire Views of the White Pocket
If you don’t win a lottery ticket for The Wave, don’t despair. The White Pocket is a perfect alternative to the Coyote Buttes North.
Spend time glaring at the strange red and white rock formations in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Each rock is oddly-shaped and features varying stripes, swirls, and fins.
Top Tip: Explore the best sights in the area with this White Pocket hiking tour.
Visit the Kanab Heritage House Museum
This beautiful, restored historic house will take you back to Kanab in the late 19th century. Filled with original furniture and other relics, you can enjoy guided tours through the town jewel.
These entertaining and informative tours take you through the history of the house and town and last about 30 to 45 minutes.
Take a Trip to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
While this is a local favorite, many Kanab visitors miss out on this epic experience.
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are a thrill seeker’s heaven. You can enjoy everything adrenaline-fueling, from sandboarding and sledding to riding ATVs and somersaulting.
These orange-red dunes are also great for stargazing, taking epic photos, and enjoying hikes near Kanab, Utah.
Things to do in Kanab: Practical Tips for Your Trip
How Long to Visit in Kanab?
Kanab is a small city compared to its Utah counterparts, such as Salt Lake City, so a week is enough time to explore Little Hollywood.
Kanab hikes are some of the most picturesque in the country. Hence you may need two to three days to explore these red rock terrains.
In contrast, you can explore museums, quaint shops, and local eateries in downtown Kanab, Utah, all in a day.
Top Tip: Add Kanab to a Utah National Park road trip itinerary, and you won’t regret it.
Best Time to Visit Kanab
Like the best time to visit Utah, Kanab is a destination better enjoyed in the fall (March to May) and spring (September to November).
The city experiences about 256 days of sunshine annually, making it an ideal outdoor destination.
But, if you’re a lover of everything winter, visit Kanab from late November to February, and see this rugged landscape snow-covered and looking like a winter wonderland.
Where Should I Stay in Kanab?
Best Western Red Hills (Mid-Range)
Find reprieve from a full day of adventure at the red-faced Best Western Red Hills. In the heart of Kanab, Red Hills gives you easy access to popular Kanab canyons.
You can cool off at the two outdoor pools, blow off some steam at the fitness center, or socialize in the game room. The hotel also offers vending machines to get snacks and water before heading out.
Hampton Inn Kanab (Luxury)
If you’re looking for a more luxe stay in Little Hollywood, look no further than the Hampton Inn Kanab. You’ll have access to top-notch amenities like an expansive indoor pool, hot tub, and a fully-stocked cafeteria.
This star-rated property is only a 30-minute drive from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and Zion National Park, giving access to some of the best things to do near Kanab, Utah.
Recommended Tours in Kanab
- Utah: Grand Staircase-Escalante Self-Guided Driving Tour
- White Pocket: Hiking Tour with Lunch
- From Kanab: 3-Hour Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon Hiking Tour
- Red Canyon (Peek-a-Boo Canyon): Off-Road Jeep Tour & Hike
- Red Canyon (Peek-a-Boo Canyon): Off-Road UTV Tour with Guide