Our Favorite Hikes in Southern Utah
There is so much good hiking that surrounds Kanab! Whether you’re looking for long, strenuous hikes or short and easy outings, there is something for everyone within a quick drive from the downtown area. Here are a few of our favorites:
When presented with the opportunity to go and see ancient dinosaur tracks you have to go for it, right? Absolutely! The trail head is located very close to the Port of Entry and it starts off among the sage brush before climbing the cliff-side. This is where we turned back. It was very hot this day and there was no shade. After the tough day we already had hiking, we decided not to push it. This steep and rocky trail is supposed to take about two hours, however it is supposedly only a mile long which we figured would take much less than two hours. Here is the official hiking map and directions.
You can see the caves high above HWY 89 and they’re amazing even at a distance. This one was a pretty easy hike, however the trailhead was difficult to find and then follow. The trail guide says you need to park at an unmarked pull-off adjacent to HWY 89, near the 69 mile marker. From there you walk through some brush area to the base of the cliff. You follow the trail up a steep and slick rock formation, working your way upward until you are at the same level as the cave. Once up there, the temperature inside is nice and cool—making it a great place to rest before hiking back down. Here is the official hiking map and directions.
This one is actually close to Page, Arizona but still not far from Kanab. Hanging Garden is pretty cool because you hike along a marked trail in the desert and atop sandstone which eventually curves behind a rock formation where vegetation is growing located on a mesa high above Lake Powell. Here is the official hiking directions.
This one is actually just over the Utah border in Arizona. Perhaps one of the easiest hikes, it’s best to visit Horseshoe Bend early in the day before it gets too busy. It’s amazing how this canyon was created and how the current still bends around the rock formation, creating this picturesque sight. After parking in the on-site lot (or taking the shuttle depending on how busy it is), there is a quick uphill walk on a nicely maintained trail to an overlook point. Once up to the top there are a couple viewpoints you can explore, but regardless of where you are—every view is perfect. Here is more information on how to get there.
Wire Pass is a little difficult to get to but definitely a fun hike! The trailhead is about 8 miles down a road meant for 4x4 vehicles, especially if the road is wet or there could be rains coming as flash floods are very common in this area. For the first mile from the trailhead, the walk is along a wide, meandering streambed between low reddish cliffs, over soft sand that makes progress rather difficult. There is not much to see at first. The surrounding cliffs become gradually higher and closer together, and the last half mile has two good deep stretches of narrows. At the end of the second slot the cliffs open out suddenly at the confluence with Buckskin Gulch (which is a much longer day-long hike). In all, the Wire Pass trail is about 3.5 miles. Here is the best description on how to find the trailhead and navigating the area.
East Zion Slot Canyons
This hike we did as part of an Airbnb Experience with East Zion Adventures. You can read all about this hike and canyoneering trip in our other post.
We’re not sure why but Bryce Canyon National Park wasn’t even on our initial list when we headed to Utah. It wasn’t until we heard about it in a Kanab coffee shop that we decided to check it out. Bryce Canyon is a sprawling reserve in southern Utah, best known for its crimson-colored hoodoos and spire-shaped rock formations. We hiked in the amphitheater area, although some of the trails were closed due to heavy rains the week before we arrived. We hiked part of the Rim Trail as well as the Queen’s Garden Trail, stopping often along the way to take in the sights. It is absolutely breathtaking and the photos don’t even do it justice! After hiking, we drove all the way up to Rainbow Point, which is the highest point in the park at almost 10,000 feet, where there was still snow on the ground. We only dedicated a half day to Bryce before we had to head back to Vegas, however you could easily spend a full day or more exploring. Here is the full park map.
We’d love to go back one day. What are some of your favorite hikes in the area that we need to check out next time?