Hidden Gems In Kanab, UT

Kanab, Utah, home to spectacular experiences and terrain, holds a forever place in our hearts.

Explore
By Adventurtunity Family
Explore Ambassador

To say we love Utah is an understatement. Out of the eight months we have been living full time in our Holiday Rambler RV, we have spent four of them in Utah. Since planning our Utah adventures, we had the goal to visit Utah’s “Big Five” national parks. We spent two months in Park City (one in winter and one in spring), a month in Zion National Park and a month in Moab. During this time, we did accomplish our goal of visiting the five national parks in Utah. And while all of these places were amazing, it’s Kanab, Utah, that truly holds a forever place in our hearts. 

Kanab was barely on our radar prior to our adventures, and we really didn’t know much about it. The only thing we knew was that it was where you applied in person for a lottery permit to visit The Wave. We had no idea when we would visit, but The Wave was at the top of our bucket list, so we knew we would end up in Kanab eventually.

Turns out, we ended up there sooner than expected. After our stay in Sedona, Ariz., we stopped off a few days in Page, Ariz., on our way to Zion National Park. That was when we stumbled upon the fact that Kanab was only an hour from Page and 45 minutes from our campground in Zion National Park. With this news, we were ecstatic at the possibility of one of our bucket list adventures actually happening.

While friends were visiting us, we hiked the Wire Pass Trail to Buckskin Gulch to hike through part of the longest slot canyon in the country. During this hike, we realized the trailhead was the same as for The Wave, which really lit the fire in us to apply for a permit. Not to leave you hanging, we did apply, and all our stars aligned because we actually won the lottery for a permit!

Of course, Kanab will always hold a special place in our hearts because we got to experience The Wave. But Wave or not, Kanab is home to spectacular experiences and terrain. There is a little something for everyone, with slot canyons, off-road trails, sand dunes, hikes of all levels and hoodoos. In case you need a little more convincing, here are six amazing adventures that will have you planning a visit to Kanab right away!

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Toadstool Hoodoos Trail

The Toadstool Hoodoos Trail was recommended to us by some folks who saw we were in the area and suggested we go. It was conveniently located right of Highway 89, with a quick and easy hike to the hoodoos. The day we happened to go was very windy with ominous clouds looming that coincidently made for some cool pictures. The panning views of tri-colored rocks were beautiful. If it hadn’t been so windy, we would have probably picnicked among the toadstool hoodoos. But we did stay long enough to capture some fun photos.

 

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Red Canyon (aka Peek-a-Boo Canyon)

We were on a quest to hike a few slot canyons and found ourselves with a little extra time during our first visit to Page, Ariz. Upon learning Antelope Canyon tours were closed, we searched for other slot canyons nearby and found Red Canyon in Kanab. To locals, it’s also known as Peek-a-Boo Canyon. The main way to the trailhead is a 3.5-mile-long, deep-sand, off-road trail. While you can hike the path, most folks use an off-road vehicle or hire one of the local tour guide services to arrive at the canyon entrance. We have a Jeep Wrangler and were able to arrive at the entrance with no problem. We recommend a 4×4 high-clearance vehicle and airing down your tires if you take your vehicle on the trail. Upon arrival, the slot canyon starts immediately, with incredible narrow passes and towering red rocks. The hike itself isn’t very long, with a very abrupt end to the trail. It was surprisingly much colder through the slot areas than other places along the trail. You may want to pack layers depending on the month you visit.

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Across the street from Red Canyon, we saw signs for Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. We had a few hours left of daylight after hiking Red Canyon and decided to check it out. Upon arrival, there is a check-in booth where you pay a small fee and can rent a wood sled for $25. We are quite familiar with snow sledding, but sledding on sand was completely new to us! So naturally, we had to give it a try. We drove to the parking area and could see rolling sand hills for miles. The sand had more of an orange hue to it while we were there. We started trekking up the dunes and wow, was that a workout! In hindsight, I wish we had goggles. Sledding the sand hills takes a little getting used to. But once you get going, it is a lot of fun, as long as you don’t mind the sand sandwich that punches you in the face on the way down! It was definitely a fun experience but maybe not one we would sign up for very often.

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Wire Pass Trail To Buckskin Gulch

You will find a handful of slot canyons around the Kanab, Utah, and Page, Ariz., area. However, some may be a few hours’ drive from your location. We tried to look for ones within an hour of us, so we wouldn’t spend too much time traveling. Buckskin Gulch is one of the largest continuous slot canyons in the U.S. It spans over 21 miles, with many of the dark and narrow sections that make tackling these slot obstacles fun. If you’re like us and prefer a shorter hike, Wire Pass Trail will cut off miles and connect to Buckskin Gulch, giving you plenty of sections to experience hiking through a slot canyon. There is a short ladder section along the trail that may be tough for dogs. We had ours with us, but he was in a carrier at the time. There isn’t a ton of shade along the trail unless you are actually in the slot canyon sections. Be sure to pack a lot of water, and don’t hike this trail if there is a possibility of rain in the forecast.

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The Wave

Oh, The Wave! Bucket list item No. 1. If you aren’t familiar with The Wave, we are very excited to introduce you to it! The Wave is in a controlled area within the Coyote Buttes. It’s technically in Arizona but accessed in Utah from the Wire Pass trailhead. Once you veer off the Wire Pass Trail, it is permit-only Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. There are two options to obtain a Wave permit. The first option is to apply online three months prior to when you plan to visit. The second is to apply in person the day before you plan to hike. The caveat is there are only 12 groups, or 48 people, allowed to hike to The Wave each day. Once you overcome the first challenge of obtaining a permit, the next is actually finding it! There are very few wayfinding markers or landmarks along the 2.5-mile trail to The Wave. Prior to hiking, do your research and download a map to your phone. Some days, BLM guides meet in the morning to assist hikers to The Wave’s location. It’s a magnificent sight and worth every effort to obtain a permit.

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White Pocket

White Pocket was suggested to us by a few adventurers who knew we were seeking access to The Wave. White Pocket is no second fiddle, though, nor is it easy to access. You absolutely need an off-road vehicle to make this drive. There are a few tour services that you can hire to bring you there if you don’t have a vehicle that can go off road. It’s generally in the same area as Wire Pass and The Wave, only you go a good bit farther. Mileage-wise, White Pocket isn’t terribly far, but driving 20-plus miles on a turbulent off-road trail is going to take some time. It was about a 2.5-hour drive to the trailhead. You will eventually lose service on the trail and should download a map prior to your departure. If you can stomach the hours off road, you will arrive at a destination just as spectacular as The Wave. There is no permit required, and there generally aren’t many people there due to its remote location. But, if you don’t have the patience to wait for The Wave, White Pocket is the way to go. It looks like Creamsicle sherbet made from sandstone! The rock formations there will truly leave you awestruck!

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Toadstool Hoodoos Trail

The Toadstool Hoodoos Trail was recommended to us by some folks who saw we were in the area and suggested we go. It was conveniently located right of Highway 89, with a quick and easy hike to the hoodoos. The day we happened to go was very windy with ominous clouds looming that coincidently made for some cool pictures. The panning views of tri-colored rocks were beautiful. If it hadn’t been so windy, we would have probably picnicked among the toadstool hoodoos. But we did stay long enough to capture some fun photos.

 

Red Canyon (aka Peek-a-Boo Canyon)

We were on a quest to hike a few slot canyons and found ourselves with a little extra time during our first visit to Page, Ariz. Upon learning Antelope Canyon tours were closed, we searched for other slot canyons nearby and found Red Canyon in Kanab. To locals, it’s also known as Peek-a-Boo Canyon. The main way to the trailhead is a 3.5-mile-long, deep-sand, off-road trail. While you can hike the path, most folks use an off-road vehicle or hire one of the local tour guide services to arrive at the canyon entrance. We have a Jeep Wrangler and were able to arrive at the entrance with no problem. We recommend a 4×4 high-clearance vehicle and airing down your tires if you take your vehicle on the trail. Upon arrival, the slot canyon starts immediately, with incredible narrow passes and towering red rocks. The hike itself isn’t very long, with a very abrupt end to the trail. It was surprisingly much colder through the slot areas than other places along the trail. You may want to pack layers depending on the month you visit.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Across the street from Red Canyon, we saw signs for Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. We had a few hours left of daylight after hiking Red Canyon and decided to check it out. Upon arrival, there is a check-in booth where you pay a small fee and can rent a wood sled for $25. We are quite familiar with snow sledding, but sledding on sand was completely new to us! So naturally, we had to give it a try. We drove to the parking area and could see rolling sand hills for miles. The sand had more of an orange hue to it while we were there. We started trekking up the dunes and wow, was that a workout! In hindsight, I wish we had goggles. Sledding the sand hills takes a little getting used to. But once you get going, it is a lot of fun, as long as you don’t mind the sand sandwich that punches you in the face on the way down! It was definitely a fun experience but maybe not one we would sign up for very often.

Wire Pass Trail To Buckskin Gulch

You will find a handful of slot canyons around the Kanab, Utah, and Page, Ariz., area. However, some may be a few hours’ drive from your location. We tried to look for ones within an hour of us, so we wouldn’t spend too much time traveling. Buckskin Gulch is one of the largest continuous slot canyons in the U.S. It spans over 21 miles, with many of the dark and narrow sections that make tackling these slot obstacles fun. If you’re like us and prefer a shorter hike, Wire Pass Trail will cut off miles and connect to Buckskin Gulch, giving you plenty of sections to experience hiking through a slot canyon. There is a short ladder section along the trail that may be tough for dogs. We had ours with us, but he was in a carrier at the time. There isn’t a ton of shade along the trail unless you are actually in the slot canyon sections. Be sure to pack a lot of water, and don’t hike this trail if there is a possibility of rain in the forecast.

The Wave

Oh, The Wave! Bucket list item No. 1. If you aren’t familiar with The Wave, we are very excited to introduce you to it! The Wave is in a controlled area within the Coyote Buttes. It’s technically in Arizona but accessed in Utah from the Wire Pass trailhead. Once you veer off the Wire Pass Trail, it is permit-only Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. There are two options to obtain a Wave permit. The first option is to apply online three months prior to when you plan to visit. The second is to apply in person the day before you plan to hike. The caveat is there are only 12 groups, or 48 people, allowed to hike to The Wave each day. Once you overcome the first challenge of obtaining a permit, the next is actually finding it! There are very few wayfinding markers or landmarks along the 2.5-mile trail to The Wave. Prior to hiking, do your research and download a map to your phone. Some days, BLM guides meet in the morning to assist hikers to The Wave’s location. It’s a magnificent sight and worth every effort to obtain a permit.

White Pocket

White Pocket was suggested to us by a few adventurers who knew we were seeking access to The Wave. White Pocket is no second fiddle, though, nor is it easy to access. You absolutely need an off-road vehicle to make this drive. There are a few tour services that you can hire to bring you there if you don’t have a vehicle that can go off road. It’s generally in the same area as Wire Pass and The Wave, only you go a good bit farther. Mileage-wise, White Pocket isn’t terribly far, but driving 20-plus miles on a turbulent off-road trail is going to take some time. It was about a 2.5-hour drive to the trailhead. You will eventually lose service on the trail and should download a map prior to your departure. If you can stomach the hours off road, you will arrive at a destination just as spectacular as The Wave. There is no permit required, and there generally aren’t many people there due to its remote location. But, if you don’t have the patience to wait for The Wave, White Pocket is the way to go. It looks like Creamsicle sherbet made from sandstone! The rock formations there will truly leave you awestruck!

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