“a perfect multi-hued, twisting and turning slot canyon”
Kanarra Creek Slot Canyon - Kanarra Creek is great for those visiting Southern Utah in quest of a perfect multi-hued, twisting and turning slot canyon to photograph. Those without the time, skills or equipment to descend the more technical (advanced) slivers carved by wind, water and time, Kanarra Creek is the right destination. Access to Kanarra Creek, makes this hike the perfect stop for the amateur looking for professional photo opportunities. There are two obstacles within the narrows that may thwart travel upstream to those less willing navigate obstacles, but just arriving at the first obstacle will yield the recreation st and photographer plenty of eye candy and memories that won't soon be forgotten. Hikers begin in the town of Kanarraville, which makes the approach relatively short, but be ready for some uphill hiking. Since it's outside the Zion National Park boundaries, it is not protection , however a recently installed gate prevents motorized vehicles from driving all the way into the canyon . Please be respectful and don't leave behind garbage, and pack out any trash that you may find . The travel up the creek is done in and out of a pristine gentle flowing creek bed, so be prepared with shoes that are sticky and rugged, and also be sure to have warm clothing for the shaded and cool travel in the narrows. To locate the creek bed trail, exit I-15 at exit 51, 5.5 miles south of Cedar City and travel south on old Highway 91 for another 4.5 miles to the sleepy little community of Kanarraville. If traveling from the south, drive 33 miles north on I-15 from St. George and take exit 40 at Kolob Canyons then drive north on old Highway 91 to arrive at Kanarraville. In Kanarraville locate 100 North and turn east toward the water tank just above the town. Drive through two stop signs and the road turns to dirt and gravel. Park off the road at the gate. The hike begins here by passing through the hikers gate. Follow the road towards the water tank on the hillside. At the water tank the road now descends and enters Kanarra Creek Canyon. At the bottom of the hill the road will cross the flowing creek, and travels above the creek bed on the north side for another .4 miles before ending. Put on water shoes and follow the streambed for the next half mile until the mountain stream emerges from the narrow slit in the sandstone rock carved by time. Travel now is through a narrow canyon with walls of multi-colored sandstone reflecting and glowing with the ever changing light. Small waterfalls gurgle and whisper chants as the deeper one slips into the canyon. Just a short distance up canyon the first 10' high waterfall pops into sight. There may be a log propped on the right side with 2x4's nailed to create rungs of a ladder. Be cautious as the wet log is very slippery, however a rope hand line suspended from bolts on the right sidewall might assist to keep balance while ascending to the top of the waterfall. Once again travel upstream is wonderful as the glowing light is reflected on canyon walls. Shortly hikers are greeted with the second obstacle, another 10' waterfall. This time another ladder may be present however never a surety! The ladder upon writing of this description was a rope ladder with 2x4 wooden rungs and then a somewhat sketchy rope handle traverse along the right side wall to achieve the waterfall top. Beyond the top of the second waterfall the narrows are short lived as the walls widen and allow deciduous growth on the banks of the creek which is reminiscent of travel below the narrows. Walk up Kanarra Creek another half-mile past the last waterfall obstacle. This area has several flat areas above the creek that are nice for a picnic or rest area. Soon another drainage (slot canyon) enters from the left side. Beyond this confluence travel becomes more vegetated and difficult and is not recommended. Total walking distance to this point is 2.2 miles. Returning back downstream often provides the best photos as the sunlight filtering through the fluted canyon seems to create translucence in the rock.
I did this hike about three weeks ago, and the water was VERY COLD! My dog went with me and we came across other hikers, families, and some other friendly pups! It was a great little adventure along our road trip. There is no way to do this hike without getting your feet wet - so come prepared! Also, parking is $10 cash drop, come with exact change!
The canyons were gorgeous and the falls were pretty as well! Pretty easy hike but many creek crossings. Avoiding the creek crossings to keep your feet dry will increase the technicality of the hike, which is pointless unless you want the extra adventure :) You will reach a point at a slot canyon where you will hike up stream.
2019 update: YOU NEED A PERMIT TO DO THIS HIKE. Go to town website.
Just went last week. Tried to go on our way up to yellowstone but didn't have change for a 20 for parking - bad planning. Decided to stop again on our way down, and thank goodness we did! We made it to the parking lot around 3pm on Friday. Not a ton of cars, maybe 20 or so. We saw a decent amount of people on the trail which was actually comforting because at points the trail splits off and leaves you wondering if you're going in the right direction. I certainly wouldn't describe it as crowded, at least not on the day we went.
The hike to the actual canyon was a bit longer than i had expected, it was probably around an hour before we actually reached it. However, that's mostly because for a decent part of it you're walking pretty slowly to make sure you don't slip on muddy trail or rocks as you walk through the water. Definitely wear hiking sandals or water shoes with decent soles and toe production for rocks. I wouldn't recommend tennis shoes as it helps to be able to feel the ground and rocks under your feet to keep from slipping or twisting an ankle. It's a pretty easy hike though, energy-wise. Few small hills but nothing that would leave you too out of breath.
Anyway, once we made it to the canyon, it was absolutely worth it. Gorgeous. The water was clear and nice and cold since it was probably 80-90 degrees out. The ladder constructed out of the tree trunk was helpful for getting over the first waterfall. Not too long after we passed the second waterfall we had to turn around because we still had an hour of driving left to do. It only took us about 45 minutes to get back to the parking lot as most of the walk back was downhill and I'm willing to bet 25% of our hike up was spent stopping to take photos.
All in all, this was the absolute best thing we stopped to do along our drive from LA to Yellowstone. If you can only make two stops in this area, do this hike and go to Zion. So great!
This was a great hike and I would recommend it to any one. There is a parking lot at the bottom of the trail that you have to park at and they charge 10.00 per car. Also go early. We started the hike at 9:30am and there were about 50 cars in the parking lot. The trail was very crowded. It took me forever to get a slot long enough to take any photographs. I have not had to wait in line on many hikes but this one I did. GO Early if you want to take any photographs.
This hike is a MUST DO!! We travelled from the Grand Canyon all the way back to the CO sand dunes and THIS hike was a highlight from our travels. Remember exact $10 for parking and enjoy. My children (7-15) loved it.
What a great little find on our travels from St. George to Moab. Beautiful hike- the river is much colder than the Narrows but more shallow. There is no way to stay out of the river and we saw some trying. It took us an hour to get to the 2nd waterfall with adults and teenagers. The slot canyon was beautiful and worth the hike alone.
Great hike so beautiful. Our dogs loved it as well! Will definitely be going back!
By far one of the better slot canyons I have hiked, plenty of room to move through canyon, not overly crowded, BRING WATER SHOES. You cannot avoid walking in water. The first falls has a makeshift ladder that's super helpful though this probably is not conducive to having young kids try to hike with you. It goes quite far back and at the end there are some makeshift water slides where water runs down the rocks. Pretty fun. Bring a snack or have some lunch, no garbage cans though. Pack in pack out. parking lot is plain and simple. park and leave your money in the box. its more done through honesty then accountability if you paid. atleast when i was there in 2013. Have fun! Much more exciting then the parowin gap :P
Awesome! Expect to get wet. Wear water proof hiking shoes!
We traveled through in December, not a good idea. It was beyond wet and the hike was impossible as the red mud became too much to take with two kids. Next time, we will plan for warmer weather when we visit!
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Kanarra Creek Canyon Waterfall Hike
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