Hiking Trails in Kanab, Utah

Updated on August 18, 2017
harrynielsen profile image

I have enjoyed hiking for many years, so I enjoy sharing what I know and tips about places to hike.

The hills surrounding Kanab, UT abound in beautiful scenery and challenging hiking trails, photo by author
The hills surrounding Kanab, UT abound in beautiful scenery and challenging hiking trails, photo by author

Where the Heck Is Kanab, Utah?

Kanab can be found just north of the Arizona state line in southern Utah. Like many towns of the region, Kanab is surrounded by red rock cliffs, which provide stunning scenery, for anyone fortunate enough to visit the area. And for those who choose to wander out on a nearby hiking trail, there awaits an invigorating outdoor adventure with plenty of stimulating desert vistas.

Furthermore, many Southwest travelers will find that Kanab is centrally located to the Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon (North Rim) National Parks. Also situated nearby is Lake Powell, which is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, along with several national monuments and a couple of state parks.

View of Kanab

The hills around Kanab provide the hiker with great views, photos by author
The hills around Kanab provide the hiker with great views, photos by author

The Top of the Squaw Trail

The Squaw Trail will take you to places with views like this, photo by author
The Squaw Trail will take you to places with views like this, photo by author

The Squaw Trail

Climb the Squaw Trail and you are going to get a good view of the sprawled out town of Kanab. For hikers that follow the trail to its final end point, they will come across a red sand ridge that looks out over the stunning landscape of the Coral Hills and Escalante wilderness.

To find the trailhead just head to the Jacob Hamblin City Park. You can't miss the park, it's the one with the old-fashioned windmill, sihouetted against the red rock cliffs. From the north end of the park, the trail is easy to follow, as it ascends a steep cliff on a series of carefully constructed switchbacks. As you climb higher, the town of Kanab will become visible below. Eventually, you will reach a plateau, which will take you the bench pictured above and the end of the trail.

P.S. The connector trail to Tom's Canyon has been closed, so you will have to come back down the same way you went up.

K Trail

The K-trail has good views of some high red rock cliffs, photo by author
The K-trail has good views of some high red rock cliffs, photo by author

A Hill with the Letter K

As one travels across the Southwest, it seems like that every settlement of any size, has its town initials displayed somewhere high. Kanab is no exception, for it has a large white "K" that adorns one of its red rock buttes. And that is how the K Trail got its name, for its skirts the hill with the letter "K".

For easy walking try the winding footpath, as it follows the base of the K hill for several miles. The views of the red rock cliffs that tower above your head are incredible. Look closely for hawks and eagles, as you might spot a few of these raptors, cruising along on the updrafts.

Tom's Canyon

Tom's Canyon is a box canyon, located close to Kanab, photos by author
Tom's Canyon is a box canyon, located close to Kanab, photos by author

A Genuine Box Canyon

Toms Canyon is a real box canyon that will stop you in your tracks, when you come to the hanging wall. During spring runoff, you might be lucky enough to witness a waterfall descending from the rocky ledge. However, summertime hikers should be aware that during thunderstorm season, this canyon might have a flash flood risk. So before you go, check with the weather forecast. Other than that there is no reason not to hike this beautiful canyon, which on occasion has even hosted a Hollywood shoot.

The trailhead is well marked and the trail is pretty flat and easy to follow. Over the few miles that it covers you will steadily progress into the canyon until the vertical sides close in.

The Cliff Trail Lookout

This rock slab overlooks Tom's Canyon, photo by author
This rock slab overlooks Tom's Canyon, photo by author

A Steep Climb Into a Stunning Place

You won't encounter the Cliff Trail until you have walked a few miles along the path into Tom's Canyon. Fortunately, there is a big, public display map, which you will come across just before you reach the trail junction.

Take the path that leads uphill and you will be on an steep ascent that will take you to the north rim of Tom's Canyon. In reality, the climb is nothing but a goat path, but the view and wind-sculptured vegetation at the top is worth the effort. Be sure and bring water, as it could get hot, especially during the summer months.

The Old and New

Vehicles from both the 21st and 19th century can be found in Kanab, photo by author
Vehicles from both the 21st and 19th century can be found in Kanab, photo by author

In Town

A walk down the Kanab streets is definitely an enjoyable experience. One reason for this are the scores of historical plaques displayed along the sidewalk. Take a minute to read the bits and pieces of Kanab movie history that are located all over town. It's a fascinating account that explains why Kanab is also known as Little Hollywood, for the list of TV shows and movies that have been filmed in Kanab or nearby is quite impressive.

Movie Sets Everywhere

This barn in Kanab Canyon, located just past the animal sanctuary, appeared in the movie, One Little Indian, photo by author
This barn in Kanab Canyon, located just past the animal sanctuary, appeared in the movie, One Little Indian, photo by author

Beyond Kanab

Don't stop at the town limits, for once outside the spreading village, there are many more places to visit. Movie buffs might want to head south on highway 89, where they will find Johnson and Paria canyons. These were important locales for more one than Hollywood production and besides the usual charming Southwestern vista, you might encounter an old movie set building falling into decay.

Animal lovers might decide to go north on the same route 89, where they will quickly arrive at Kanab Canyon, home of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. This is the largest such place in the US, and it provides free tours for those who wish to see all the animals.

Kanab, Heart of the Parks

Kanab, UT

A
78 S 100 E, Kanab, UT 84741:
78 S 100 E, Kanab, UT 84741, USA

get directions

Kane County Tourist Information

Questions & Answers

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