lady standing with arms spread by a Kanab Utah sign

Top Things to do in Kanab Utah

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Last Updated on March 8, 2024

old white nostaglic hotel building in front of red scenic mountains and a neon sign

Outdoor Adventures and Things to Do in Kanab Utah

Nestled amidst the stunning red rock landscapes of southern Utah, Kanab stands as a captivating quintessential western town. Its charm lies not only in its picturesque setting but also in its rich history, exuding a sense of timeless allure that transports visitors to a bygone era. Along every sidewalk is a plaque one of the Hollywood western stars that made their way through Kanab.

Not only are there many fun things to do in Kanab Utah, but it also serves as a delightful gateway to the plethora of nearby National Parks. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, offering easy access to some of the most iconic and breathtaking natural wonders in the American Southwest.

As you wander through the charming streets of Kanab, you’ll find yourself enchanted by the seamless blend of old-world charm and the promise of unparalleled exploration in the wild, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic Western experience intertwined with the splendor of nature.

Kanab is Little Hollywood

Little Hollywood Sign with horse and rider in the background in Kanab

Kanab is dubbed as Little Hollywood. It has hosted numerous iconic figures of the silver screen and has been a significant hub for Western movie productions. This quaint town witnessed the likes of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and other legendary Western stars gracing its streets and soundstages, immortalizing the rugged landscapes of southern Utah in cinematic history. The remnants and spirit of those golden days still echo through Little Hollywood, allowing visitors to step back in time and feel the Hollywood magic that once lit up this charming corner of the Old West.

What to do in Kanab Utah

When planning your vacation itinerary and deciding what there is to do in Kanab Utah, you will be intrigued by the number of options of activities in Kanab that will satisfy many types of travelers.

Click on the Table of Contents to explore all the Best Things to do in Kanab UT

A special thank you to the Parry Lodge, Iron Horse Restaurant, and East Zion Adventures for sharing the Kanab community with me.  As always, the opinions are my own.

Best Things to Do in Kanab Utah

Little Hollywood Museum

beige building of the Little Hollywood Museum with open door in Kanab Utah

The Little Hollywood Museum in Kanab, Utah, is a captivating ode to the golden age of cinema, inviting visitors to step into the enchanting world of classic Western films. This unique museum allows guests to explore meticulously preserved movie sets and artifacts, providing a delightful journey through the iconic scenes that graced the big screen. It’s a thrilling experience, where history and movie magic collide, letting you immerse yourself in the bygone era of Hollywood’s Wild West and relive the excitement of legendary film productions.

delapidated old wooden building
Little Hollywood Museum – western movie sets in Kanab Utah

Admission is by donation. Just slip your donation into the box as you enter.  All of the sets are out in back of the gift shop.  We slowly walked through the movie sets to appreciate the authentic displays.  We took photo for about 30 minutes and then wandered through the gift shop.

PRO TIP:  There is another gift shop next door, called Nature’s Showcase, that sells sandstone, gemstones, and locally made items and artwork.  Be sure to stop in there if you are interested in purchasing any of that type of souvenir. We bought some souvenirs at the Little Hollywood Museum and then bought some more at Nature’s Showcase because they were even cheaper!

colorful Natures Showcase building with red sandstone hoodoo in front of it
Nature’s Showcase, Kanab, Utah – Souvenir Shop

Where to stay in Kanab Utah

Parry Lodge

Parry Lodge in Kanab, Utah, stands as an extraordinary retreat deeply steeped in both local history and the allure of the American West. Our 2-night stay at the Parry Lodge was an exceptional way to experience the spirit and history of the Western film genre.

We could tell we were in for a treat when we pulled up to the historic lodge with its massive neon sign out in front and the red rock mountains of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the background.

Established in the early 1930s, this charming lodge has hosted an impressive array of Hollywood stars during the heyday of Western films. The Parry Lodge and Kanab was the epicenter for the entertainment industry’s love affair with the region.

Nestled amidst the stunning red rock landscapes, Parry Lodge invites guests to step back in time and immerse themselves in the nostalgia of the Old West, boasting a unique collection of comfortable rooms named after the notable actors who once graced the streets of Kanab.

The lodge’s enduring appeal lies in its ability to transport visitors to a bygone era, while still providing all the comforts of home.  The restaurant serves up quality food, fit for the celebrities of yesteryear.  We were amazed not only by the quality and taste of each dinner dish but also by its presentation!  We sampled the Bison Tenderloin and Gnocchi dish. Props to the chef!  I would recommend dining here if you are a foodie traveling through Kanab!

More Things to Do in Kanab

Shopping in Kanab Utah

brick building gift shop for great shopping in Kanab Utah

The massive Kanab gift shop is located across the street from the Parry Lodge and provides typical souvenirs, as well as western wear and options for signing up for some exciting tours from East Zion Adventures that leave right from the storefront. Make sure to schedule a stop here to pick up some souvenirs while you are visiting Kanab Utah!

The main street in Kanab is lined with local shops and eateries.  Spend some time wandering up the street to see all the unique items from gift shops, antique shops, and souvenir shops.

Moqui Cave

sandstone sign for Moqui Cave History Museum

The Moqui Cave is a naturally formed sand cave that is now a tourist destination in Kanab Utah.  It should be on your Kanab Itinerary if you stop in the small town since it is one of the most unique things to do in Kanab! 

In 1951 Garth and Laura Chamberlain bought 10 acres of land in Kanab along Highway 89 where the Moqui Cave is located.  At this time in Kanab’s history, the town was still a main hub for the filming of western movies, and all the Hollywood celebrities, like John Wayne and Roy Rogers, came to Kanab.

wooden bar and bar stools at Moqui Cave in Kanab Utah

The Chamberlains soon realized that they could capitalize on this by creating a local hangout for the celebrities.  They put a floor in the cave and created a bar where the celebrities and locals could socialize and get away from the constant Utah heat.  Since the cave is a constant 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit it was a refreshing place to belly up to the bar! 

Meanwhile, Garth Chamberlain filled his free time with his archeological passion and did a lot of excavating around his property and the 20 miles surrounding it.

After a successful run of about 25 years of serving cold beers to celebrities, the well had run dry and the Western filming died down in Kanab.  

Moqui Cave has since been turned into a museum to showcase the 1200 – 1500-year-old Native American artifacts and dinosaur tracks that Garth excavated.  All of the pieces in the museum are authentic and most of them have been found within a 15 – 20 miles radius of the cave.

The Moqui Cave tour starts with a quick introduction from a guide.  After that, you are free to roam around to explore the old bar –which still stands in the back room—and admire all the artifacts that have been pieced together and put on display.

We spent about a half hour looking through the cave and learning the history while also cooling off! 

PRO TIP:  There is a nice refreshment stand next to the museum.  Grab a smoothie and relax at the shady picnic tables.

Sand Dune Caves

3 sand caves up on a hill in Kanab Utah

There are Sand Dune Caves high on the ridge next to the Moqui Cave. 

These are commonly called the Moqui Caverns, not to be confused with the Moqui Cave and Museum (in the previous entry!).  The Sand Dune Moqui Caverns are free to hike to and explore on your own.  They were man-made decades ago for silica mining during the 1970s when there was a short boom in glass production in the area.

The hike to the caves is tough and requires some climbing, but the cool views of the landscape from high above are worth it.  The caves themselves are large and extend pretty far along the ridge.  They are a great spot for some selfies and have become a must-see Instagram site for avid photographers traveling through Kanab!

2 people each looking out an overlook in a cave

PRO TIP:  Head all the way to the far side of the cliff to begin your trek to the caves.  The slope is easier to ascend and descend the further out you start the hike.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

sign on a hill for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary with some cut out animals

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, was founded in the early 1980s by a group of passionate animal advocates who sought to provide a safe haven for abandoned and neglected domestic animals. What began as a small, dedicated effort grew into one of the largest no-kill animal sanctuaries in the United States, driven by a mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and advocate for animals in need.

Visiting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab is a heartwarming and transformative experience. As you step into this expansive haven for rescued animals, you’re greeted by an overwhelming sense of compassion and care. The sanctuary’s picturesque surroundings help to make it a truly enriching visit that leaves you inspired to advocate for the well-being of all creatures at one of the most heart-warming places to visit in Kanab Utah.

What is there to do at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Visitors to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary can engage in a variety of activities and tours that offer a hands-on and educational experience with the animals. This includes guided tours, volunteering to assist in animal care, interacting with the furry residents, and participating in workshops and events designed to deepen the understanding and compassion for animals.

Belly of the Dragon

There are a lot of options for hiking around Kanab Utah.  One of the coolest and most unique hikes is through the Belly of the Dragon. It is an exhilarating walk through a canyon-like tunnel that feels exactly like you have been swallowed by a giant creature, like a dragon!

It is carved into the rock underneath US 89 Highway through Southern Utah about 15 miles north of Kanab and has become a popular photography spot.

We were not sure we found the right spot since there were no signs or other markings.  Keep an eye out for the huge cave opening!  You will have to do some scrambling to get to the entrance and the loose sand makes it slippery.  Once you have entered the cave, it is an easy walk, but you might want to take a flashlight to help navigate through the darkness.

Make sure to include a quick stop at Belly of the Dragon to explore it and hike through the underbelly of this creature to decide if you agree with its dragon classification!

Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park

Coral Colored sand dunes at Coral Pink Sands National Park

We explored Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park because I wanted to see the vibrant colors. This park has sandboarding too, but we did this in another location (see the entry below!!).

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab, Utah, is a natural wonderland that beckons with its otherworldly landscape of vibrant, coral-colored sand dunes. Here, outdoor enthusiasts can embark on thrilling adventures, from exhilarating ATV rides or sandboarding down the steep slopes to serene hikes that reveal stunning panoramic views.

Photographers and nature lovers are drawn to the park’s dunes, especially during sunset when the sands take on a mesmerizing hue, creating a picture-perfect scene against the backdrop of the surrounding red rock formations.

Peekaboo Canyon Sandboard Tour

Our Sandboarding and ATV tour was at sunset and included a hike through Peekaboo Canyon near Kanab.  If you haven’t yet visited one of Utah’s amazing slot canyons, then you should definitely include this tour on your Kanab itinerary to introduce yourself to the miraculous colors and formations of a sandstone slot canyon.

It is one of the best things to do around Kanab Utah!!

Sandboarding in Kanab

We had the option to sit or stand.  I chose sitting!  The hill was only medium height and we had to walk back up to the top each time.  This got tiring so we didn’t go down the hill very many times.  I must say that during our sandboarding experience in Peru, we were driven to the top of each hill, so it was more fun and less like work.

ATV Ride in Kanab

atv vehicle parked in the red sand in kanab utah

Our one-armed driver, Nate, took us up, down, and around all the sand dunes.  He wasn’t happy until we screamed with delight as we took to the air over the peaks and then plummeted into the valleys.

Peekaboo Slot Canyon in Kanab

We had previously visited Antelope Canyon and Rattlesnake Canyon in Arizona.  The Peekaboo Slot Canyon was just as amazing.  It still had a beautiful array of colors and shades of red and orange. The best part of this canyon tour was that we had it to ourselves.  Our guide let us snap as many photos and record as many videos as we wanted and we weren’t rushed through it! No crowds, no other people at all, just us and the outdoors!

How can I book this tour in Kanab?

Kanab as a Home Base for Outdoor Adventure

Kanab, Utah, serves as an ideal hub for an outdoor adventure vacation, strategically situated in close proximity to several renowned national parks. Within a short drive, travelers can access the awe-inspiring landscapes of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and many more iconic destinations.

With its rustic charm and accessibility to a plethora of natural wonders, Kanab offers adventure enthusiasts a centralized and convenient starting point for an unforgettable journey through some of the country’s most iconic national parks.

All of the nearby National Parks are must-dos and fun outdoor things to do near Kanab Utah. There are also beautiful outdoor areas like Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument. These areas are more remote, less traveled and the perfect day-trip from Kanab.

There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and the wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of the great human principle.”

Franklin D Roosevelt

There are many more quotes about National Parks to get you inspired to visit all the National Parks near Kanab!

Day trips from Kanab including White Pockets, Toadstool HooDoos, Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Vermilion Cliffs.

These beautiful areas deserve a detailed post all on their own! Stay tuned and follow along on our adventures!

Zion National Park

large mountainous sides of a red canyon in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is just a short drive from Kanab.  We were able to explore many of the must-see sights in Zion National Park.  Angel’s Landing, the Narrows, and Chimney Rock are just some of the sights you can see on a day-trip from Kanab Utah to Zion National Park.

Grand Canyon

large, deep canyon with clouds in the background among the peaks of the mountains of the Grand Canyon

The north rim of the Grand Canyon is less explored than the southern rim, to the tune of only 10% of tourists visiting the north versus the south.  The north rim is just a quick drive from Kanab.  We were able to spend a day exploring the north rim and the ‘road less traveled.’  We enjoyed the spacious hiking trails and felt like we had the whole park to ourselves!

East Zion Adventures Tours

green East Zion Adventures jeep with the top popped up

Want to plan the perfect outdoor adventure in Kanab? 

I recommend East Zion Adventures. They have many tours that leave from their satellite shop in Kanab.  They also have other tours that leave from the Zion Ponderosa Ranch.

We were able to try out 2 of the tours (see the next 2 entries!), but there are many more options of canyoneering, ATV tours, jeep tours, hiking tours, and many other options!

Discount on East Zion Adventures Tours?

Use Promo Code: MMOYER for 5% off of your tours

Horseback Riding

many horse back riders walking along a dusty path near Zion National Park

Sunset Horseback Tour near Zion National Park

We took the sunset horseback riding tour that leaves from the Zion Ponderosa Ranch near Zion National Park. 

Our horses took us up in elevation on narrow switchbacks while we admired the beautiful Zion National Park and southern Utah scenery around us.

The horses were very well-trained, and the guides were knowledgeable and helpful.  It had been about 15 years since I was on a horse, so I really didn’t know what I was doing.  I let my horse (Casanova) do his thing.  When he wanted to take his time keeping his footing down a rocky slope, that was fine with me.  When he wanted to make up time and catch up with the horse in front of us, that was also fine…. A little fast, but I held on tight!

The sunset tour was a little bit before sunset, so we didn’t actually see the setting sun on the red rocks or rolling hills, but it was still low enough in the sky and still beautiful.

Abandoned Mine Tour

lady entering a small dark cave in Zion

Crawling into an abandoned Mine

The second tour that we took was to an abandoned mine on the Zion Ponderosa Ranch property.  The mine was a uranium mine that never successfully found any good-grade uranium, so it was abandoned.

Our guide drove us down a bumpy road in an ATV where we came upon the old dilapidated cabins for the miners.  We walked along the path and saw all the broken mining equipment.  There were 2 ‘safe’ entrances to the mine.  We put on our headlamps and scurried into the cool darkness, but we couldn’t go inside very far since most of the path was flooded.

lady walking through a cave with yellow glowing walls.

While in the mining cave, we saw the uranium dust still lining the walls where the miners had started their excavation.  The uranium was a yellow powder that seemed to cover all the rocks….everywhere.  It was hard to believe that they couldn’t find what they were looking for.

How to book East Zion Adventure Tours:

Use Promo Code: MMOYER for 5% off of your tours

Bison Ranch by the road

lots of bison on a ranch grazing next to the road

On the road to the Zion Ponderosa Ranch, there is a huge bison farm.  They were out by the road grazing each time we passed and allowed us to stop and snap some photos!!

Where to eat in Kanab Utah

Kanab, Utah, boasts an array of dining options catering to various tastes and preferences. For those craving hearty, homestyle meals, there are charming local diners and cafes offering comfort food and classic American fare. Additionally, the town features options for international cuisine, including Mexican, Italian, and Asian flavors, ensuring a diverse culinary experience for visitors.

We were able to sample a variety of these options and whole-heartedly recommend each one of them

DINING IN KANAB: Our recommendations

Iron Horse Restaurant

Iron Horse Restaurant sign with lady sitting with hands raised and two horse statues on each side

The Iron Horse Restaurant in Kanab is a culinary gem that embodies the town’s western charm and offers a unique dining experience. Housed in a historic building, the restaurant exudes a cozy and rustic ambiance, adorned with vintage décor and Western memorabilia. Known for its delectable American cuisine, including steaks, burgers, and locally sourced dishes, the Iron Horse Restaurant provides a blend of traditional flavors and modern culinary expertise, making it a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts in Kanab.

We had the ribs and the brisket. They were delicious! We loved it so much and it was so filling that we had no room for dessert!

Parry Lodge Restaurant

large bright room full of empty tables

Parry Lodge prepares fresh gourmet meals that will delight your palate.  We tried the gnocchi dish and the bison tenderloin. It was delicious and we were so stuffed that we almost skipped the dessert. 

Luckily we stayed for the finishing touch on our meal and had dessert before we rolled ourselves back to our comfortable room in the Parry Lodge.  Fortunately, we did not have to walk far!

Houstons Trails End Restaurant

Top Things to do in Kanab Utah 3 Houstons Trails End Restaurant

Houston’s Trails End Restaurant in Kanab is renowned for its delicious, hearty comfort food that appeals to both locals and visitors alike. The menu features a diverse array of options, from sizzling steaks and barbecued ribs to flavorful burgers and sandwiches, all cooked to perfection. The restaurant takes pride in using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, ensuring that every dish is bursting with flavor and authenticity. With generous portion sizes and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, Houston’s Trails End Restaurant provides a satisfying and memorable dining experience in the heart of Kanab.

Go and Visit Kanab Utah

A visit to Kanab Utah will be jam-packed with outdoor activities and adventures. There are so many things to do in Kanab that any traveler will be impressed! Take a few days to soak in the western charm and history of this small town and then schedule a few hikes and adventures.

Use Kanab as a starting point for your exploration of southwest Utah and the National Parks in the area!

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Wish I had seen/known about Peekaboo Slot Canyon while I was in Kanab. I LOVED Antelope Canyon so I would have liked this! Next time!

I had no idea there was so much to do there. I visited once with a friend, but we spent most of our time in Zion NP and hiking Angel’s Landing.

I’ve driven through Kanab multiple times, but have never stayed there. Now I see what I’ve been missing!I would especially love the hikes you shared!

there are some excellent stops listed here for me to add to my itinerary next time I’m in Utah!

What fun – I think I’d like to do the sunset horse ride.

What a great list of things to do in Kanab, Utah! At the top of my list would be Sand Dune Caves and the animal sanctuary.

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