Kanab, Utah: Where Seeing is Believing

Good vacations are the ones you want to write home about. Great vacations are the ones you can’t even put into words. In Southern Utah, your imagination and sense of adventure are highly-recommended items for your packing list. After all, aren’t the best travel adventures the ones your friends back home will never believe?
Prepared By:

Shannon Lowery

Writer & Traveler

These are some of the most imaginative adventures we recommend for a weekend in Kanab, Utah, but you can spend as much time as you like exploring every corner of the surrounding area. Crowds flock to popular spots like Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, but there are plenty of hidden gems to discover that will make you feel like you’re in on the secrets of Southern Utah!

This story was created in partnership with Visit Southern Utah.

Day 1

Squeeze Through Slot Canyons

To start your trip, venture through the deepest corners of Southern Utah’s epic slot canyons. These impressive natural wonders are characterized by their narrow ravines slicing through soft rock landscapes. Utah has one of the highest concentrations of slot canyons in the world, making it the perfect place to experience these spellbinding masterpieces. From accessibility-friendly vantage points to guided technical canyoneering trips, there are plenty of ways to get up close with Southern Utah’s slot canyons. If you want to easily see two canyons in one day, combine visits to Willis Creek Slot Canyon & Lick Wash Slot; in fact, they’re both accessed via Skutumpah Road. Otherwise, shimmy your way through the world’s longest slot canyon at Buckskin Gulch or have an off-roading adventure at local favorite White Pocket.

Slot Canyons near Kanab, Utah

Try Your Luck in the Wave Lottery

Made famous by Microsoft, the Wave is part of the Coyote Buttes North recreation area just east of Kanab, Utah. Unknown to many until it was featured as a Windows 7 screensaver in 2009, the Wave is technically located in Arizona, but the access road and trailhead are both in Utah. Now that the site is so popular, the area is accessible by permit-only. To obtain a permit, visitors enter a daily lottery system that is regulated by a geofencing system. Because of the ultra selective and last-minute process, visitors shouldn’t expect to see the Wave when they come to Southern Utah (unless you planned way ahead and tried for the advance online lottery). Instead, think of it like a nice surprise if it does happen. Luckily, all of the other epic experiences in the area will have you saying “Wave, who?”

Day 2

Pirate Lake Powell

Did you know? Lake Powell is accessible from Southern Utah! So on your second day, rise bright and early so you can maximize your time as a Lake Powell pirate plundering for uncovered treasures in the lake’s record-low waters. Climate change caused waters to drop to all-time lows in the last year, but visitors can now see abandoned boats once submerged underwater and colorful layers of newly-exposed bedrock. 

Toadstools near Kanab Utah

Toadstool Scenes Straight Out of Super Mario

Toadstools gets it name from the mushroom-shaped hoodoo rock formations that stand watch over the surrounding celestial landscape. With so much otherworldly whimsy, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a scene from a Nintendo game. Don’t worry, Bowser’s not lurking in the shadows. Actually, nightfall is one of the dreamiest times to visit Toadstools. Catch the sunset casting dramatic shadows across the precariously perched hoodoos, then watch the night sky come alive with twinkling stars.

Day 3

The Secret Side of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in the Southwest, drawing crowds from all over the world. For a more private experience, head to the North Rim, a less-frequented edge of the iconic national park located just a short drive south of Kanab. Take in sweeping views unsullied by tourists fighting over the best selfie spots. 

Grand Canyon North Rim near

Make New Best Friends

If you have time on your last day, stop by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary just north of Kanab, Utah. At this no-kill animal sanctuary, over 1,600 rescue dogs, cats, birds, and horses receive medical care and shelter while they wait to find their forever homes. It’s the only animal sanctuary of its kind in the United States and attracts volunteers from around the world. While you’re in Southern Utah, spend some time cleaning enclosures or socializing animals and learn about Best Friends’ No-Kill 2025 project. Who knows, you may even find a new adventure buddy for future epics like your time in Southern Utah!

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Photo courtesy of @Ronakp967 via Instagram.


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