Blog,  Hiking

Discover the Hidden Gems of Kanab, Utah

If you read our posts on Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, you know that we stayed at the Hitch-N-Post RV Park in Kanab, Utah. Although we easily could have spent another day exploring Zion National Park, by this point on our trip we were dragging a bit and decided to spend a day exploring the Kanab area. 

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Kanab, Utah sits on the southern border of Utah, about 80 miles north of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. It’s a small, welcoming town that serves as a great basecamp for some of the nation’s most national parks, Zion and Bryce Canyon. However, there is so much more that the Kanab area has to offer. If you find yourself with a day or two, or even a few hours, to spare, don’t miss some of these fantastic stops.

Belly of the Dragon

Belly of the Dragon is a fun, quick stop perfect for almost anyone, as long as you are able to climb up and down a few steep steps. This short tunnel serves as drainage into the North Fork River, so make sure you visit on a dry day. The way the rock was carved to create the drainage system created a strange ripple effect, causing it to look like the belly of a dragon (hence the name). This spot will also offer some respite from the relentless Utah sun on a hot summer day. We recommend bringing a flashlight, because it was quite dark toward the middle of the tunnel.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park was a different type of stop for us, because we generally tend to go places that are free, or covered by our America the Beautiful pass. Our son is a big sand lover, so we knew we couldn’t pass up the chance to take him to some gorgeous sand dunes; $10 for a morning of fun play was totally worth it. Depending on what you like to do and how much you are willing to spend, a visit to this park could include hiking in the dunes, sledding down the dunes, or even taking a dune buggy out for a thrill ride. We opted to simply hike around a bit, let Henry play with his monster trucks, and watch the dune buggies. Don’t forget your water and sun protection for this one, as there is essentially no shade. 

Kanab Sand Caves

I would be surprised if you have not seen the Kanab Sand Caves make an appearance on your social media feed. This Kanab landmark has had increased popularity in the last few years. You can clearly see the caves perched in the hills above Highway 89 just north of Kanab. What many people do not know is that the caves are not naturally occurring; they were manmade when sand was mined to make glass. The hike up to the caves was unexpectedly one of the most treacherous hikes we did on our entire five week trip. The rock is steep and slippery, due to all the sand, so make sure you wear shoes with good traction. Similar to Belly of the Dragon, once you’re in the cave, you won’t want to leave because they are quite cool (pun intended). 

Jacob Hamlin Park

If you find yourself in Kanab area with kids, don’t skip a trip to Jacob Hamlin Park. This is a free city park with an awesome shaded playground, splashpad, picnic areas, and more. We appreciate any place that has facilities like this available for free public use, especially when the campground we find ourselves at does not have anything to cater to children. Jacob Hamlin Park also has a public pool available for use, but this does require a fee. 

Horseshoe Bend State Park

While technically not in Kanab, or even in Utah, Horseshoe Bend State Park in Page, Arizona is only about an hour away and worth the stop. This is probably the most photographed spot along the entire Colorado River, with good reason. If you catch the lighting just right, the river will appear bright green contrasted against the orange rock, creating a spectacle not seen many places. There is about a 1.2 mile round-trip hike to the Horseshoe Bend viewing point. 

Glen Canyon Dam

As you cross the Colorado River into Page, Arizona, you will a great view of the second-largest concrete arch dam in the United States: Glen Canyon Dam. If you stop at the west side of the dam, you will find Carl Hayden Visitor Center. If you continue into Page, you can stop at the Glen Canyon Dam overlook for a picturesque view. 

If you have ventured off the beaten path around Kanab, let us know what your favorite stop was! 

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