If you love natural beauty and active adventures, then Kanab, Utah is it! Less visited than nearby Zion and Arches, Kanab has just as much to offer but without the huge crowds.
I traveled here spring 2021 with my husband, and 9 month old baby. Our itinerary was a bit aggressive, but we did and saw so much! We flew round-trip out of Las Vegas, and also stopped at Death Valley and Zion.
After one week exploring the area (N. Arizona and S. Utah), here is my list of the top things to do in Kanab, along with our itinerary:
DAY 1- Fly into Las Vegas → Visit Death Valley → Overnight: Pahrump, NV
From Vegas, we got our rental car, and then drove to Death Valley for the day (2 hr drive). In a short period of time at the park we were able to visit Badwater Basin, Artist’s Palette, Zabriskie Point, and a few other stunning sights! We then crossed back into Utah from California to stay the night in the tiny desert town of Pahrump.
Lodging: Pahrump, Nevada
DAY 2- Hoover Dam → Zion National Park → Overnight: Kanab, UT
From Pahrump, we drove to Hoover Dam in Nevada (1 hr drive). We spent about two hours exploring- it’s so fascinating, I highly recommend!
Then, on the route to Kanab, we passed through Zion National Park (2.5 hr drive). Given how stunning Zion is, we decided to drive through the main loop and did the short “Riverside Walk” trail. Finally, we arrived in Kanab for the evening (30 min drive) and checked out the lively foodie scene in this very walkable town!
Lodging: Kanab, Utah
DAY 3- Kanab, Utah → Escalante Grand Staircase + Peek-A-Boo Canyon
We started by heading into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area. As we had a 4-wheel-drive rental car, we were able to do some off-roading and drive the somewhat treacherous sandy back-roads to get to the trail-head for Peek-A-Boo Canyon. It was a long and bumpy ride, but the canyon itself is gorgeous enough to be worth the trouble! This is a tiny slot canyon with amazing views and few crowds.
Don’t want to do the hikes on your own? Click here for guided options !
After the bumpy ride back to paved roads, we did a few small trails and stopovers in the area near Johnson Canyon. There we saw some 19th century graffiti, and the old movie set from the TV show Gunsmoke. The Kanab visitor center has this “driving tour” map. You can do a self guided tour of the area and it points out several scenic viewpoints.
Next, we did a few more short hikes near the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary/Angel Canyon area. We actually found a few Native American cave paintings there as well as old dwellings. We were the only hikers around, and it was so scenic! You can also check out the nearby Moqui Caverns while you’re here.
Finally, we drove to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park. This was visually stunning, although windy (wind and sand together is not a fun combination!). I wish we had spent more time here, as there are options for ATV trails and sand-boarding. We also stopped at the Kanab Sand Caves which are right along the highway as you go back into town.
Lodging: Kanab, Utah
DAY 4- Kanab, Utah → Toadstools + White Pocket
We started the day out by heading to the trailhead to hike to “Toadstools”. This is a short and easy hike with views of the toadstool-mushroom shaped hoodoo rock formations! Given that we did this hike with a baby, I think most people will find this hike very manageable!
After lunch, we began the 1.5 hour drive towards the road that leads to the epic “White Pocket” in northern Arizona in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument area. This place is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever seen in my life! It’s officially my favorite hiking trail I’ve ever done! Getting to this spot is, admittedly, difficult. Driving there with a baby- not the smartest idea. Yet, we survived!
To get to White Pocket, you will need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Getting there took us about 2 full hours of off-road driving. Once you arrive, prepare to be greeted by the most stunning wavy sand rock formations and sweeping views you’ll ever see! I think the photos speak for themselves:
On the long drive back to civilization, you will also pass a few “rainbow mountains”, so make sure to check these out! While not technically IN Kanab, this was still my favorite thing to do in Kanab 🙂
Lodging: Kanab, Utah
DAY 5- Kanab → Zion National Park (Kolob Canyon) → Las Vegas
For the last day of our trip, we drove past Zion National Park again. We stopped briefly at Checkerboard Mesa and the Watchman, then headed on to another section of the park. There, we did a hike to Kolob Canyon. After this hike, we drove to Las Vegas and enjoyed some time on the strip!
Lodging: Las Vegas
DAY 6- Enjoy Las Vegas OR More activities in Kanab
Although we spent our last day doing all of the touristy things in Las Vegas (it was my first time there believe it or not!) if you choose to stay in Kanab, there are still plenty more things to do such as:
⇒Exploring the “Belly of the Dragon” underground tunnel
⇒Going sand-boarding at Coral Pink Sand Dunes Natl. Park
⇒Heading to Zion National Park or Arches National Park for the day
⇒Renting an ATV or jeep to go off-road adventuring
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As always all reviews and opinions are my own, but should you choose to book any of the above hotels or excursions, please know I am an affiliate and will make a small commission.