Kanab, Utah, stole our hearts. We zipped out of Colorado to explore another area of southern Utah in late October before the snow encompassed Colorado’s high passes. After basing ourselves in the town of Kanab, UT, we had five days of a beautiful, adventure-filled short vacation! Three trails that took our breath away that any avid hiker would love. Plus, several notable smaller hikes & tourist attractions worth mentioning.

ZION WILDERNESS – ZION NATIONAL PARK

Kanab, Ut to East Mesa Trail – 46 miles – to Zion National Park East Entrance – 30.3 miles

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East Mesa Trail to Observation Point in Zion NP

East Mesa Trail was an easy, peaceful, relaxing trail with views beyond words looking into Zion National Park at the end. We loved this hike.

After hiking through the forest on a wide flat path the trail starts to descend a bit, and the first views of the cliff formations of the main canyon appear. The views get more impressive as we reach Observation Trail and end at Observation Point. 

The views of nearly every major attraction in the canyon are astonishing. For example, you are looking down on Angel’s Landing, one of the USA’s National Parks’ most popular trails. 

As of Oct 2022, the trails from Zion National Park to Observation Point are closed within the park. This hike is open. 

The East Mesa Trailhead is on dirt roads behind the Zion Ponderosa Resort. On the east side of the Park near Mt. Carmel Junction along Route 9. Turn north onto the paved North Fork Road for 5.4 miles, then turn left onto the dirt road that heads under the Zion Ponderosa gate. Follow Pine Angle Road. Signs have been placed at intersections to point the rest of the way. The dirt roads are easily accessible by car, but reconsider if snow or muddy conditions exist. The East Mesa Trailhead has enough room for only a few cars to park. 

Another option is to pay for a shuttle located nearby from Zion Adventures.

7 miles out and back – easy/slightly moderate

GRAND STAIRCASE ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Kanab, UT to Wire Pass Trailhead – 47 miles (1 hr) last 8 miles on dirt wash road. Don’t attempt if it has rained a couple of days ahead of your planned hike.

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Wire Pass Trail to Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch was an incredible adventure into slot canyons. Easy for all skill levels and worth grabbing a reservation and stepping into the canyons. Wire Pass Trail to the slot canyons was gorgeous and then adventurous as you enter the slot canyons. 

Reaching the intersection (the cathedral) within the slot canyons, we went both directions. Eventually, finding waist-deep water each time and turned back. Very smelly and full of muck, the water was not tempting. Others, however, plowed on through!

One-of-a-kind hike and family-friendly. Highly recommend.

You need to purchase a permit before arriving from Recreation.gov for day use.

5.6 miles out and back – easy

NORTH RIM GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA

Kanab, UT to North Rim Grand Canyon, AZ – 79.4 miles (1 hr, 34 min)

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North Kaibab Trail

North Kaibab Trail is exceptional. We hiked down to the Redwall Bridge, passing Coconino Overlook and Supai Tunnel on a continuous downhill trek. It’s late October, and the air is brisk until just minutes down the trail. Warm sunshine made for pleasant temperatures the farther we hiked down the canyons.

At the Supai Tunnel, there are restrooms and water refills. That was a treat.

I loved this hike. We started early, and as the morning progressed, the trail became busier but still peaceful this time of year. The incredible beauty surrounding us is indescribable.

6.9 miles out and back – strenuous – Elevation gain – 5,610′

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Bright Angel Point, North Rim Grand Canyon
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Bright Angel Point

Not to be missed when at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Paved with panoramic views on a .5-mile paved path. 

GRAND STAIRCASE ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Kanab, UT to Toadstool Hoodoos Trailhead – 44.9 miles (40 mins)

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Toadstool Hoodoos Trail

On our way back to Kanab from the Buckskin Gulch hike, we visited Toadstool Hoodoos. It is a must-see, short trail to what we call finding Mars. Never seen anything like it and probably never will again. Family-friendly and fun. Beyond the giant hoodoo is terrain that is mind-boggling.

1.8 mile out and back – easy

KANAB, UTAH

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Sand Cave Trail

Kanab Sand Caves, also called Moqui Sand Caverns, was the first thing we did when we arrived in Kanab. The Sand Caves was a short hike that appeared effortless, yet as we found out, climbing is involved. We loved it. 

Close by is the Moqui Cave Museum. A treasure of artifacts and colorful history. 

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a Utah State Park not far from Kanab. Our visit was just a peek and a short walk to the lookout and a quick venture onto the dunes. It’s a massive playground of beautiful sand and scenery. > Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

PAGE, ARIZONA

Kanab UT to Page AZ – 74.1 miles (1 hr, 12 mins)

HORSESHOE BEND

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ANTELOPE CANYON

LAKE POWELL

We spent a day in Page, AZ. I have been to Page numerous times long ago, but those days were spent on the water in our boat. This time was for sightseeing the famous Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. 

Antelope Canyon requires a pass purchased online. > CLICK PHOTO

Horsebend was a fee to enter. > CLICK PHOTO

Lake Powel – A trip to Lake Powel on the water is truly sensational > CLICK PHOTO

SUMMARY 

Using Kanab, Utah, as a base to explore turned out perfect. The town of Kanab is small and quiet, with no big box stores. I did not want to leave. In 5 days, we were able to venture in all directions and find so many unique locations to explore and hike. All beyond our imagination. Prepare to be amazed. I thought about keeping this area a secret!

PREVIOUS TRIPS TO UTAH

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I had the pleasure of spending our Christmas holiday in St. George, Utah with my family and discovered a few trails I’d love to share. Four hikes that surpassed our expectations plus, numerous small adventures found us in awe of Utah’s unique beauty. >>> READ MORE

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This is a hike definitely not to be missed! We loved it!  At the end of this trail, the famous Morning Glory Natural Bridge is a sight to behold. Spanning 243 feet and is the 6th longest natural rock span in the United States. >>> READ MORE!

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map

Utah Road and Recreation Atlas

The Best Utah Children’s Hikes

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Can't wait to see you on the trail!