The small town of Kanab, Utah is something like a desert outpost, situated along old Highway 89 within the southernmost part of the state. While the area may feel like miles away from the rest of civilization, it’s only a stone’s throw away from many of the prime destinations of the region and certainly not out of the way for southwest desert adventurers. Kanab offers numerous hiking opportunities, fascinating geological features, a ghost town, and much more. It's also located near national parks and the Grand Canyon.
1.Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
© Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit organization in Kanab, Utah that operates the largest homeless animal sanctuary in the United States. The facility also offers educational programs, spaying/neutering, and adoption. Founded in 1984, this organization has been one of the leaders of the no-kill movement for more than thirty years. The heart of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary are the more than 1,000 animals that are getting the help they need, whether its medical help or the acceptance and love to overcome the past. Tours of the animal sanctuary are offered year-round, every day.
5001 Angel Canyon Rd, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-2001
2.South Coyote Buttes
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South Coyote Buttes is a place that was made for people to experience nature in the most pristine form, perfect for photo opportunities. Compared to Utah’s North Coyote Buttes, the South has far fewer hikers who try to seek a permit. The South Coyote Buttes is an enthralling and visually stunning destination itself, with its fins, arches, and rock piles, which are also referred to as “teepees.” The chances of obtaining a hiking permit here is much higher, possibly ensuring that hikers will have a much better visit to the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness near the tiny town of Kanab.
3.Wire Pass Trailhead
The Wire Pass Trailhead is located halfway between Page, Arizona and Kanab, Utah, within the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area. The trailhead of Wire Pass is a gateway to spectacular hiking and scenery, including the Buckskin Gulch and The Wave. Situated along the House Rock Valley Road, a little more than eight miles south of Highway 89, this road is typically accessible by passenger vehicle, however, a 4WD or higher clearance vehicle is more preferred for the dirt road. The Wire Pass Trailhead hike generally takes 1.5 to two hours for round-trip and is a relatively easy hike.
House Rock Valley Rd, Kanab, UT 84741
© Jamie & Judy WildDanita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
Located within the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness and Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Buckskin Gulch is a southern Utah canyon and is one of the Paria River’s main tributaries. The gulch is the deepest and longest slot canyon within southwestern United States, and possibly the world’s longest slot canyon, making it a premier destination for slot canyon hikers. One of the country’s truly classic trails for hiking, the Buckskin Gulch meanders through a seemingly subterranean paradise. Visitors can attempt the hike as either a day trip or over the course of several days to hike the complete twenty miles.
5.Kanab Heritage House Museum
© Kanab Heritage House Museum
The Kanab Heritage House Museum in the small town is a beautiful restored historic house full of many of its original furniture, as well as other period pieces. Entertaining and informative guided tours are offered of the Kanab Heritage House Museum and last around thirty or forty minutes. These tours are available on the hour, every hour and include a bit of trivia, a good amount of “women’s first,” and plenty of factual history. Visitors can also choose to take a self-guided tour of the Heritage House Museum, with brochures provided at the back porch to guide guests.
115 S Main St, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-3506
6.Cottonwood Canyon Road
© Bernard FrielDanita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
The overland desert crossing along Cottonwood Canyon Road offers some of the area’s most fascinating scenery. While the landscape is amazing seen by car, hiking provides an even better chance of spectacular views, so visitors should make sure to pack their hiking shoes, maps, snacks, water, and of course, their camera. The conditions on the unpaved Cottonwood Canyon Road are good, offering an easy adventure that stretches nearly fifty miles. Most hardy 2WD vehicles shouldn’t have any problems with the road, however, 4WD is typically more comfortable and easier, particularly in rainy weather when the road becomes muddy.
Old Paria is a southern Utah ghost town in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument along the Paria River. Inhabited from the year 1870 until 1929, the town later served as a popular filming location. The handful of wooden buildings scattered about as a movie set were located just past the parking area and were featured in several films. Thanks to numerous year of aging under the Southwest’s desert sun, these structures boasted an authentic appearance, however, they were found to be too unstable in 1999 and were consequently dismantled. Today, visitors can still see what remains of the Old Paria town.
Paria Valley Rd, Kanab, UT 84741
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A landmark of southern Utah, the Moqui Cave serves as a natural history museum that features a large dinosaur track collection and Native American artifacts. Within this interesting cave, visitors can see a large number of artifacts, in addition to minerals from throughout the world and fluorescent rocks. On display as well are over one thousand arrowheads and an expansive collection of various pre-Columbian artifacts that come from Mexico. Artifacts in the Moqui Cave include centuries-old working tools, bowls, jugs, and ceremonial pots that provide anthropological clues about the early lives of the Navajo and Anasazi Indians.
4581 US-89, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-8525
9.Little Hollywood Movie Museum
© Little Hollywood Movie Museum
The Little Hollywood Movie Museum is a non-traditional, slightly quirky stop on the agenda of many visitors, beckoning those who are curious enough to follow signs near the city limits of Kanab, Utah. With towering sandstone cliffs surrounding the area and views of sagebrush, the name of “Little Hollywood” clearly comes into focus, particularly for any fans of Western films. The region’s dramatic natural scenery has long lured filmmakers to the town of Kanab for over ninety years. Studios left Hollywood in the 1920’s and headed east in search of visually stimulating backdrops and new suitable locations for their Westerns.
297 W Center St, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-5337
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10.Red Stone Theater
© Red Stone Theater
The Red Stone Theater in the little scenic Western town of Kanab, Utah is home to The Bar G Wranglers. Situated within the town’s downtown area, the theater is a popular thing to do among visitors after they spend the day exploring the region’s many surrounding national parks. The Bar G Wranglers put on a memorable Live Western Show every night, full of whip cracking, rope tricks, and live music. The Red Stone Theater is now a dinner theater venue where guests can immerse themselves within the “Old West” for a night filled with country-western music and fun.
29 W Center St, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-8025
11.Raven's Heart Gallery
© Raven's Heart Gallery
The Raven's Heart Gallery is an art gallery standing for “art with heart,” boasting an expression of respect for all life, compassion, and kindness. The gallery showcases a variety of works of art that inspire people to explore the deeper parts of themselves, where they can find a “sense of connection,” beauty, and peace. The Raven's Heart Gallery aims to provide a bridge between makers of art and lovers of art. The Kanab art gallery features artwork by Cyrus Mejia and Gary Kalpakoff, in addition to several other emerging and established artists from the local region, as well as beyond.
57 W Center St, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-5644
Lick Wash is a moderately easy hike near Kanab, Utah that takes generally around four hours round-trip to complete. Exciting narrow passageways along the hike in Lick Wash’s upper reaches give way to a much wider canyon below, one embraced by the tall pine-studded Navajo Sandstone White Cliffs, rising between six hundred and eight hundred feet. The Lick Wash hike is approximately eight miles for those traveling round-trip and is best tackled between April and the middle of June and from September to October. Lick Wash happens to be one of more largely unknown canyons in Southern Utah.
13.Walt Thirion Gallery
The Walt Thirion Gallery is the art gallery of photographer Walt Thirion, who specializes in large-format, limited edition prints that capture the connection, solitude, and peace that people can find in the naturally beautiful and vast Western backcountry. Walk Thirion is a passionate supporter of environmental conservation efforts, particularly ones that work to protect, restore, and preserve natural environments, as well as the ecological communities that call them home. This support is also reflected in his work, which can be seen in his quaint art studio in Kanab. A significant portion of proceeds from sales of Walt’s artwork go to conservation organizations.
238 W Center St, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-5689
14.Houston's Trail's End Restaurant
© Houston's Trail's End Restaurant
The Houston's Trail’s End Restaurant in the small town of Kanab is a popular eatery among locals who call this little area of the southwestern Utah desert home and great point to jump off for while exploring the many adventures found in the region. The restaurant has been around since the year 1945 and serves laid-back comfort food within a setting filled with Old West decor. The Houston's Trail's End Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 11:00am until 9:00pm, as well as all day dining on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00am until 9:00pm.
32 E Center St, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-2488
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Nedra’s Café is a Southwestern-style diner that serves classic Mexican and American comfort food, along with malt coolers and beer. Many people who dine here fall for the homemade salsa and the homestyle fare. The cafe has boasted a reputation for more than forty years of serving some of the best Mexican food within the area of Kanab, Utah and has fed numerous movie stars and crews over the years, such as Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, Vera Miles, and James Garner. There are two restaurant locations in the area: Nedra’s Cafe and Nedra’s Too, both serving classic comfort fare.
310 S 100 E, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-644-2030
15 Best Things to Do in Kanab, UT
- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Photo: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
- South Coyote Buttes, Photo: jon manjeot/stock.adobe.com
- Wire Pass Trailhead, Photo: Foto-Jagla.de/stock.adobe.com
- Buckskin Gulch, Photo: Jamie & Judy WildDanita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Kanab Heritage House Museum, Photo: Kanab Heritage House Museum
- Cottonwood Canyon Road, Photo: Bernard FrielDanita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Old Paria, Photo: marknortona/stock.adobe.com
- Moqui Cave, Photo: Autumn Sky/stock.adobe.com
- Little Hollywood Movie Museum, Photo: Little Hollywood Movie Museum
- Red Stone Theater, Photo: Red Stone Theater
- Raven's Heart Gallery, Photo: Raven's Heart Gallery
- Lick Wash, Photo: jerzy/stock.adobe.com
- Walt Thirion Gallery, Photo: Iryna/stock.adobe.com
- Houston's Trail's End Restaurant, Photo: Houston's Trail's End Restaurant
- Nedra's Cafe, Photo: little beetle red/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Sean Xu/stock.adobe.com