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While Moab, Utah often gets all of the attention for epic outdoor recreation, the Kanab area is certainly worth visiting too if you love breathtaking red rock formations and unique local attractions. These two Utah destinations are about five hours apart and really offer something special for travelers from all around the world. Start planning your trip to Southeast Utah and put these top things to do on your itinerary in and around Kanab!
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What Is It? Slot canyons are an iconic part of the landscape in this region, and there are local guides who can help you navigate through them safely and see the best ones. Many people simply hike through slot canyons, but some require you to rappel down into them with a rope and harness.
Why Do It? With swirling designs and red-orange coloration, these are some of the most beautiful places on the planet. However, they can also be dangerous places if you become injured or encounter a flash rainstorm. Hiring a local guide will take the guesswork out of slot canyon outings so you can focus on getting the perfect photos and memories.
Good to Know: Some guided experiences leave right from Kanab and take you in a Jeep across the sand dunes and into a canyon. On these tours, you can also see ancient fossils and petroglyphs.
What Is It? The Coyote Butte North, called The Wave, and Coyote Butte South is part of the 112,500-acre Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. You must have a day-use permit to access these geological sandstone areas, which are all open country without designated facilities or trails. Permits are awarded by a lottery system.
Why Do It? For incredible scenery and desert landscapes, it doesn’t get much more impressive than the Coyote Buttes. It’s visually striking and unlike anywhere else – a true photographer’s dream!
Good to Know: These are very popular places with permits that go quickly each day. To get a walk-in permit, try for between December and February. However, snow definitely makes the trek more treacherous.
What Is It? This is a large no-kill animal rescue and advocacy organization that offers guided tours of the facilities. You can interact with dogs, cats, pigs, and other animals that live here before they’re adopted into loving homes.
Why Do It? Up to 1,600 animals live here on any given day and need the support of travelers and donors to stay healthy. Not only is this a great organization to support but also one that lets you interact with fun animals on multiple tour options.
Good to Know: There are specific tours to see cats, pigs, goats, dogs, birds, rabbits, horses, and more. So, choose the tours that most interest you and sign up for a couple of different ones if you have time.
What Is It? You can join a local group offering a yoga class or simply do yoga on your own rocks among the rock formations around Kanab. It doesn’t have to be formal to be a memorable and relaxing experience for your trip.
Why Do It? Even if you’re not a spiritual person, there’s something undeniably special about taking a break from hiking and sightseeing to slow down your pace of exploration out here. Yoga among the red rocks calms the mind, body, and spirit to help you recharge.
Good to Know: If indoor yoga is more your style or the weather doesn’t cooperate, Yoga at the Best Friends Wellness Center also offers indoor classes.
What Is It? Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is along the Utah/Arizona border and known for fantastic rock formations, swirling colors, and a series of mesas and buttes.
Why Do It? You can learn about ancient Native American settlements when you visit here, as well as the many species of raptors that call the area home.
Good to Know: The Wave, Buckskin Gulch, and Paria Canyon are the most popular places to visit, but there are plenty of other places to check out too, especially if you’re looking to avoid crowds. Grab a map from the BLM Visitor Center in Kanab before heading out into the monument area.
What Is It? Ancient rock art, known as petroglyphs, exists in various places in the Kanab area and offers insights into the region’s history and Native American settlements.
Why Do It? Some of these depictions are very well preserved and fascinating to see along a hiking trail. You’ll usually find both petroglyphs and pictographs on sheltered areas of rock that haven’t been weathered.
Good to Know: One highly recommended trail for petroglyphs is the Mansard Trail east of Kanab that has petroglyphs dating back 870 to 1070 years old. Never touch a petroglyph or make any rock carvings of your own.
What Is It? Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a vast and rugged place that’s just east of Kanab. It spans about a million acres of land and features canyons, plateaus, arches, and many other natural rock formations.
Why Do It? It’s an unspoiled natural area that’s quiet and perfect for solo reflection and adventurous exploration.
Good to Know: You can experience everything from low-lying deserts to coniferous forests here. If you have limited time, pick just one part to explore so you don’t get overwhelmed or rush through the area too quickly.
What Is It? The Little Hollywood Museum & Trading Post celebrates all the films and TV shows that were made in the Kanab area of Utah. It’s been called the center of western movie production and also has a gift shop filled with Native American jewelry and pottery.
Why Do It? Film buffs will love learning about this epic movie destination and getting inspired to see old flicks that were made around Kanab.
Good to Know: This attraction typically closes for the season in late-November and reopens in early March, so you won’t be able to visit if you stop by in the winter.
What Is It? The Moqui Cave is a Southern Utah landmark and roadside attraction that has Native American artifacts and dinosaur tracks just six miles north of Kanab. There’s also a large gift shop here with jewelry, arts, and crafts.
Why Do It? You can learn about the Native tribes that once lived here and also shop for souvenirs to take back home from your trip to Kanab.
Good to Know: This attraction is near the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and generally open from 10am to 6pm on Mondays through Saturdays.
What Is It? The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are part of a state park that is just west of the city of Kanab. People come here to hike through the dunes, see the unique color of sand, and ride off-road-vehicles across the landscape.
Why Do It? The dunes really do look pink! They are also a changing landscape that can move as much as 50 feet a year with the winds.
Good to Know: There’s a nice campground in the park where you can set up in your RV and be in walking distance of the dunes.
What Is It? There are various ways to camp in the Kanab area, including private RV parks, like the Hitch-N-Post RV Park and Kanab RV Corral. You can also camp on BLM land at the Ponderosa Grove or at Campground Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park nearby.
Why Do It? The Kanab area is an ideal place to camp as a way of really connecting with the natural landscape and spending as much time out in nature as possible.
Good to Know: Nights get pretty chilly in the desert even when the days are warm. Make sure to dress in layers and bring a heater unless you feel like really roughing it.
What Is It? The Kanab Heritage House Museum is a restored historic home that features original furnishings and offers tours. Henry and Mary Bowman had this house built when they moved to Kanab in the late 1800s.
Why Do It? You can learn a lot about the history of Kanab when you visit this house and take a tour. There are also some cool demonstrations here to watch, as well as interesting lectures.
Good to Know: Check the museum website for the most up-to-date information about open hours when you start planning your trip. Guided, self-guided, and private tours are generally available, depending on what you are looking for and how much time you have to spend at the museum.
What Is It? After lots of outdoor adventure, it’s nice to build some chill time into your schedule and simply sit outside to relax under the stars. The skies are dark out here and filled with amazing stars on clear nights.
Why Do It? Red rock canyons look stunning even at night and illuminated by the moonlight. This dark sky destination is ideal for learning about constellations with an expert guide. The night gets even better with s’mores roasted on an open campfire and good conversations.
Good to Know: Campfire tours often include private transportation and s’mores-making supplies after leaving from the Kanab Visitor Center. The private canyon destination of the Old Movie Fort is a great place for this experience because dozens of movies have been filmed around here that you can learn about.