At the Edge of the Colorado Plateau
In southern Utah, we’re surrounded by vast, broken landscapes, by red rock and blue sky, by twisted canyons harboring sagebrush and sand, and by plateaus blanketed in green forests. There is space enough to get lost—and to find your self.
This high desert wilderness is defined by cliffs and cactus; by snakes and spring blooms. Ancient rock art depicts desert bighorn sheep, wild turkey, and coyotes. Dinosaurs walked here; you can spread your hand in the tracks they left behind.
At times the wind can howl. In winter, white snow will cling to clefts in the cliffs. On summer afternoons, thunder will boom and lightning will flash and we will celebrate rain—though trails and dirt roads become impassable when saturated, water is scarce and precious. On the other hand, red dirt is abundant and the old timers say that once you get it in your shoes you’ll never get it out.
Here We Are!
View Willow Canyon Outdoor in a larger map
Things To Do
Kanab is a quaint town, and the locals take pride in its remote and rural character and in the rich history of Mormon pioneers. Long before Brigham Young’s emissaries settled Kanab Canyon, a range of Indian cultures dwelled here, and some descendants still do.
For the traveler, Kanab serves as a fabulous base to strike out and explore the surrounding wonders: Zion, Bryce, Canyons of the Escalante and the Grand Staircase, the Paria, Vermillion Cliffs, and Coyote Buttes, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Kanab Creek—each within the scope of a day’s journey, out and back.
There are some worthy local trails, as well, and many visitors relish a tour of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, just a few miles north of town. Kanab itself is just big enough to offer some worthy dining and entertainment options, and just small enough that you can walk to them.
When to visit
Most travelers come between May and September. Slot canyons, high forests, and treasured creeks offer sanctuary from summer’s heat. Even so, at this time of year we prefer to be out early in the morning, before it warms up. If you plan to visit the the Grand Canyon, know that the Park on the North Rim is only open from mid-May to mid-October.
Spring and fall weather is ideal for backcountry excursions. Gusty winds tend to accompany the spring flowers, while the “monsoon” or chubasco rains usually arrive in July and continue into early fall. These storms are typically quite localized--but be alert to the dangers of flash floods, especially in narrow canyons, and of lightning.
Winter weather is often pleasant, though not entirely predictable. It’s a quieter time that offers solitude, and perhaps the opportunity to cross-country ski among yuccas. Snow is ephemeral at lower elevations, but likely to be found above 8,000 feet at Cedar Mountain, Bryce, or on the Kaibab Plateau. We enjoy many sunny days, even in the dead of winter, and hiking up the cliffs can be an inviting prospect in the cooler temperatures. Pay attention to the shorter day lengths and plan your outings accordingly.
Bureau of Land Management
Kanab Field Office: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/kanab.html
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/grand_staircase-escalante.html
National Forest Service
Kaibab National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab
Arizona Department of Transportation
US Highway 89 Road Damage: http://www.azdot.gov/projects/north-central/us-89-landslide/overview
Kanab City Information
Private Guide Services
Seldom Seen Adventures: http://www.seldomseenadventures.net/
HOURS: Open daily from 7:00am - 8:30pm