Hiking Southern Utah Kanarra Creek Trail
Photo by Krista Wiekamp

Hiking Southern Utah: Kanarra Creek Trail

Trail: Kanarra Creek

Location: Kanarraville

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Distance: 3.5 mi roundtrip

Average time: Two to four hours

Elevation gain: 700 ft

Best time to go: Spring, summer, or fall

What to bring: Water, snacks, camera, hat or sunscreen, a layer for the cool canyon, quick dry clothing (not cotton which takes a very long time to dry), and water socks.

Kanarra Creek Trail is a great way to experience a taste of what Zion offers without actually being in the park. This is a great hike for families, and I have included a hike hunt list below to make this hike even more exciting and fun for all ages!

Located in Kannaraville, 5.5 miles from Cedar City, this is a great option for people visiting the Utah Shakespeare Festival or Summer Games who do not have time to travel the extra miles to southern Utah’s famous park.

Kanarraville is a very small town without a market, so be sure to pack what you need. Water socks and quick-dry clothing are optional, but your feet will get wet as you walk through and cross the creek often, and your clothing might get wet going up the falls, depending on the flow of the creek.

Caution: As with any slot canyon, you do not want to hike this trail during rain. Check NOAA.com for current weather conditions, and do not enter the slot canyon if there is any chance of precipitation.

Directions: From Interstate 15, take exit 51. Travel south on Old Highway 91 towards the quiet town of Kanarraville. As you enter the town the highway turns into Main Street. Turn east on 100 North and follow it until you reach the parking lot at the trailhead. There is a $10 fee to park here. You may opt to park at Kanarraville Town Hall on Main Street for free, which is easy to find.

The trail: The trail starts and ends at the parking lot. Follow the road that leads to the water tower, and keep hiking, crossing a river. The river is a nice place to get a little wet in the summer as the first part of the hike is in the sun. Keep following the beaten path.

The trail meanders through the trees, in and out of the creek. When you walk in the water be careful and try to plant your feet on the lower smaller stones to avoid slipping down a slick, larger rock. As you are walking along this part of the trail, take notice of the butterflies and monarchs in the spring. You will find cicadas in the trees, ladybugs, and an occasional lazy lizard sunning.

Before you know it, you will look up and your breath will be taken away by the towering slot canyon. Enter in awe — allow the red sandstone to encompass you. Continue around the bend to the first falls. Here you will find a ladder. There is a rope to support you as you make your way up.

Continue on and you will find the second falls. I recommend going on past the second falls to find a nice pool and mossy water slide the kids and adults alike will enjoy. This area also provides some shade and a nice spot for a picnic before heading back out the canyon.

You can find YouTube videos of the canyon if you would like a sneak peak. Keep in mind that the river flow rate is greater in the spring during snow melt. 

Hike Hunt List:

– A lazy lizard

– A cicada exoskeleton

– A golden aspen log or branch (these are usually found in the creek)

– A ladybug

– A moth or butterfly

– Slot canyon

– A ladder made of a log

– A mossy water slide

Please care for nature and what you find. Simply take pictures of what you find, if you can safely, and tag #hikehuntkanarra and @suindependent on Facebook and Instagram to share with us and others. Thank you and have fun!

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