Kanab, Utah is among the most scenic places in the United States, as it sits in the desert near the Utah-Arizona border. Kanab’s location makes it an ideal travel hub for planning trips to Utah’s national parks and countless other natural wonders of the American southwest.
Kanab was named for a Paiute term that translates to “Place of the Willows,” and for many years the town was very isolated thanks to rough dirt roads that discouraged visitors. Today, Kabab’s much easier to access thanks to U.S. Alternate Route 89, and has evolved into an “Old West” resort town that welcomes thousands of visitors every month.
What Should I See Near Kanab?
For day trips, scenic drives from Kanab, Utah present several different landscapes to some of the best national parks in America, from the mountains of Zion National Park to the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park. Whether you like slot canyons, sand dunes, mountains or lakes, you’ll have incredible options at your fingertips when you stay in Kanab. The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is due south, while to the east, Lake Powell hugs the Arizona border. Nearby Escalante National Monument features a collection of incredible waterfall hiking trails, slot canyons and dramatic landscapes that are unique to Utah.
When you do visit Kanab, you won’t have to venture too far outside of town to see some incredible state parks and breathtaking vistas. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and Toadstool Hoodoos are among Kanab’s underrated highlights.Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah on December 26, 2020. Photo by Peter Stringer
Kane County, which encompasses much of southern Utah from downtown Kanab to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, features an embarrassment of riches when you consider just how many must-see attractions are gathered in the region.
What are the Best Hikes in Kanab?
Southern Utah offers some incredible hiking destinations, many of which are a short drive from Kanab. The Wave may be the most famous hike in the area, thanks to its incredible rock formations and stunning visuals. However, you’ll need a permit to hike there, and they’re not easy to acquire. You can either apply online for a Wave permit for several months in advance of your trip, or try your luck in person at a daily morning lottery at the Kanab Convention Center.
If you don’t win a permit for The Wave, White Pocket is a lesser-known but equally gorgeous attraction. You won’t need a permit to visit White Pocket, but you will need a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle to get there, as the roads are not well maintained and aren’t passable with regular passenger vehicles. Flash floods and sudden weather changes could also make local roads impassable. You’ll want to plan ahead, and your best bet would be to hire a local guide to take you there.
Other popular hikes around the area include Cascade Falls, Belly of the Dragon, Crosby Canyon, and Wahweap Hoodoos.
If you don’t want to deal with all of the planning and navigating yourself, why not hire a local tour company to show you around? There’s many to choose from but we especially love Action Photo Tours.
How’s the Weather in Kanab, Utah?
Kanab’s climate is mostly dry, but temperatures vary throughout the year. The summer, as you would suspect, is very hot, often reaching into the 100s. In many desert locations, shade will be hard to find and sun exposure is a major concern.
However, it’s not uncommon for the weather to swing quickly in the region. Within hours, the temperate can shift 30 or even 40 degrees. Once the sun has set, the temperature will drop quickly.
Elevation also has a major impact on local temperatures. For every 1,000 feet of elevation you gain, you’re likely to lose about 3 degrees Fahrenheit. It also tends to get wetter the higher you go. Wind also becomes a factor. For instance, while Kodachrome Basin State Park sits at 5,800 feet above sea level, which is higher than the top of Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park is at nearly 9,000 feet.
The best way to prepare for Utah’s wild weather is to bring layers and pack for all situations. You should also carry plenty of water, as it’s possible to become dehydrated even in the winter.
What Movies Were Filmed in Kanab?
Often called “Little Hollywood,” Kanab, Utah boasts an impressive history of hosting major motion picture productions dating back to the 1920s. Over 100 feature films and several hundred television productions have been filmed in the Kanab area. Among the more popular movies filmed in Kanab are The Lone Ranger (1956), Planet of the Apes (1968 & 2001), Seargents 3 (1962) and Maverick (1994).
Their legacy is captured at the Little Hollywood Museum. Movie stars like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson and Ronald Reagan have all filmed in Kanab, along with countless other stars of western cinema.