Kanab is a small town in Utah famous for being one of the best places to visit Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. If you’re planning a trip across the state and national parks, you most definitely need to consider making a stop here for both the sake of convenience and the area’s beautiful natural attractions.Kanab is not only a good location to stay overnight, but also a real window to the American West. Its splendid landscapes have been chosen as the location for dozens of western films over the years and as a result, the city has been nicknamed the Little Hollywood of Utah.
Directions to Kanab, Utah
The fastest way to get to Kanab from Arizona is to take Highway 89, which is also the main road that leads to the city, and it is also a very scenic road. The spectacular views during your journey will help you take your mind off of the fatigue of driving. You can reach Kanab from Page, Arizona in about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Things to Do in Kanab
There aren’t many actual tourist attractions in Kanab, apart from a little gem that I’ll describe in a moment, but it’s definitely the best place to find information about the main attractions in the area. Tourists visiting this part of the United States can get help in planning their next stops in these two offices:
- Kane County Office of Tourism: This is the local visitor information center for Kane County. The staff is very friendly and willing to provide information, maps and brochures about nearby parks.
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center: In addition to finding directions to get around this huge park, this is where you’ll need to go to enter the lottery to visit the famous The Wave in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.
Little Hollywood Museum
As we mentioned, Kanab has played a very important role in the history of American cinema. More than 100 western movies and TV series have been shot in its surroundings, and over time, people started to call Kanab Utah’s Little Hollywood. The city’s only real tourist attraction, the Little Hollywood Museum, reminds you of a time gone by.
More than a museum, it is actually the replica of what was supposed to be a film set representing a typical Far West town. Admission is free and it can certainly be a pleasant stop to include in your itinerary.
Things to Do and Hikes Near Kanab
As I have already mentioned, Kanab is a very convenient place to use as a base while exploring the southern part of Utah. Let’s take a look at the main hidden gems and get ready to spruce up your itinerary.
When you go to Moqui Cave, you will find dinosaur tracks (real or alleged), phosphorescent stones, fossils and Native American artifacts. Located on Highway 89 just 10 minutes north of Kanab, it can be an enjoyable stop if you’re going (or coming back) from the incredible Zion and Bryce National Parks.
To enter this small natural history museum, although some people even call it a “tourist trap located in a cave”, you have to pay $ 5 admission.
Old Paria Ghost Town
Old Paria ghost town is a hidden gem and is located off of Highway 89. After being abandoned by its inhabitants at the end of 1920, it became a film set for many western movies.
Unfortunately, the set has been destroyed by a fire, but it is still worth visiting this area of Utah for its beautiful natural landscapes that can be enjoyed by those who are adventurous enough to explore its surroundings. You can find out how to get there and other useful information by reading our in-depth article entirely dedicated to Old Paria.
In order to visit the Toadstools, you must take a detour from Highway 89. The Toadstools Trailhead is located at a small parking lot that is between mile posts 19 and 20. Along the trail (about 1.5 miles round trip) you will find several hoodoos and strangely shaped rocks that look like toadstools (hence the name of the area). The best time of day to photograph these rock formations is about half an hour before sunset.
I would like to give you a few important recommendations. First of all, the entire trail will be completely exposed to the sun and there is nowhere to take shelter. This can be a challenge, especially in the summer. Therefore, make sure you have the appropriate clothing and plenty of water with you.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
The characteristic feature of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, as you can guess from the name, are the picturesque pink dunes that were created by the erosion of the rock formations in the area made of Navajo Sandstone. What makes this place special is not only the color of the dunes, but also the fact that the Coral Pink Sand Dunes are not in the middle of a desert, like the Kelso Dunes in California. Instead, they are surrounded by forests and mountains.
The locals like to come here to ride on quad bikes and dune buggies and fly up and down the numerous dunes. The entrance fee is $10.
Many tourists who visit the West Coast and want to see for themselves the spectacular colors that are unique to slot canyons head immediately to the famous Antelope Canyon near Page. However, if you have not managed to book a tour of Antelope Canyon or you want to look for an alternative that does not have as many tourists, you can opt to visit Buckskin Gulch, the longest canyon in America.
It is located on the border between Utah and Arizona and there are multiple trails that you can choose to get there according to your experience level and the time you have available for this excursion. It is certainly not easy to add this to an itinerary, and there are many important details to take into account. To find out everything you need to know before visiting this fascinating canyon, you can read our article entirely dedicated to Buckskin Gulch.
Distances between Kanab and Major Parks in the Area
- Kodachrome Basin State Park: 1 hour and 50 minutes
- Cedar Breaks National Monument: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area: 2 hours and 15 minutes
- Zion National Park East Entrance: 30 minutes
- Bryce National Park: 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Grand Canyon North Rim: 1 hour and 50 minutes during the time of year that the road to the visitor center is open
- Lake Powell: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Where to Stay in Kanab
Because Kanab is a tourist destination, as you can imagine, it offers a big selection of hotels, especially given the small size of this city. Although you can’t expect to find five-star or luxury accommodations, most hotels offer great comfort and value for your money.
My first recommendation is Aikens Lodge (79 West Center, Kanab), which I had the opportunity to personally experience during my stay in Kanab. Although the general atmosphere may seem a bit spartan, the rooms are very spacious and clean, and there is also a nice pool where you can cool off during the hot summer days. Parking is convenient and the layout of the parking lot is similar to what you would find at a typical motel.
Another alternative, which is certainly more unusual, could be to spend the night inside a tipi. If you are intrigued by this concept, then you may consider staying at Black Feather Tipi Experience (a bed and breakfast at 514 North 200 East) which, in addition to offering typical B&B accommodations and various amenities such as a hot tub, gives you the option to stay in a traditional”tipi”. You will be able to see great views, since this bed and breakfast is located near Kanab Point.
Those who prefer to rely on the comfort and safety provided by large hotel chains can consider staying at the Hampton Inn (98 South 100 East), a four-star hotel, where there is an indoor swimming pool with a jacuzzi and a fitness room. This option is recommended especially for those who are looking for a hotel that offers great amenities.
My last suggestion is Parry Lodge (89 East Center Street), a motel with fascinating architecture and an excellent restaurant. During the golden era of film productions in this area, this motel was frequented by many Hollywood stars. If you choose to stay in this motel, do not miss a visit to The Old Barn Theater, an old barn of over 100 converted into a cinema that obviously shows western movies.
If you are not interested in these options, or if just you want to browse all the hotels in the city, you can click on the button below.
Restaurants in Kanab
Just like there is an abundance of hotels in Kanab, there are also several dining options. Let’s start with the Rocking V Cafe, which, in addition to being a great restaurant, also houses an art gallery on the upper floor. For meat lovers, I recommend the Homer’s Dream Pork Chop and the Bison Tenderloin, the house specialty.
If you are in the mood for pizza you can try the Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen, where you can enjoy good pizza in a great location.