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Hike Kanarraville Canyon Falls

  • Weather: Mostly Clear, 41F

A stunning slot canyon with one of the most photographed waterfalls in Utah.

The majestic red rock cliffs surround you from the moment you step foot on the trailhead, and all along the dirt path towards Kanarra Canyon. When you eventually reach the slot canyon, it seems to rise out of nowhere.

The Kanarraville Canyon is ideal for travelers, because it is non-technical, and a great way to see a multi-hued canyon without much driving or physical exertion.

Trail Description

Once you start hiking, you can go for as long or as short a hike as you like depending on your comfort level in the canyon. This hike is great because it becomes scenic rather quickly, so you don’t have to travel too far if you don’t want. At 1.6 miles in, you’ll get to the first waterfall, a popular spot for photographers. A ladder (a log with metal steps and ropes attached to the adjacent wall for balance) sits right next to the gushing falls. For photos with beautiful coloring and that glassy water look, bring a lightweight tripod, and hang out for a while.

Just past the first waterfall, you'll discover a large boulder with water flowing across it. Then, about .2 miles later, you will find the "swimming hole" with a rock slide. The swimming hole is a shallow pool on top of a rock outcropping that can be made a little deeper by blocking some of the outflow with rocks. Visitors can't actually "swim" in the pool; the water is not deep enough, but one can take in its beauty, rest and enjoy a snack.

After trekking another .1 mile out, you will find the second waterfall which is about the same size as the first waterfall (about 10 feet high). This waterfall is about 1.9 miles in and there are a couple of deep spots (mid-thigh) to negotiate to reach the falls. Note, there was a "ladder" next to this waterfall (log with 2x4s attached) that washed out in the spring of 2019 during flooding. It is not recommended that you attempt to go beyond this point, but be sure to spend some time taking in the towering red canyons walls before you turn around. It's important to understand that the condition of the trail between the lower and upper waterfalls varies from year to year depending upon runoff and drainage, so be prepared.

Your total trip will come in at approximately 3.8 miles (round trip) with about a 600 foot elevation gain. The journey will likely take four to five hours, depending on how often you stop for photographs, exploration and snacks.

More information about Kanarra Falls

Precaution

Descending and ascending the first 10-foot waterfall does require a bit of sure-footedness. You’ll have to trust a handmade wooden ladder, ropes bolted to the canyon and other people’s slings (if they're still there), where you take risk into your own hands. That said, anyone with a bit of wilderness hiking experience and relatively good fitness will likely feel safe.

  • Before entering the slot canyon (and throughout your hike), you’ll cross creeks with up to knee-deep water, so be sure to wear good water shoes.
  • Summer is the best time to visit this trail, because the water is warmest.
  • Hiking permits are required (see below)
  • Like all slot canyons, do not take this hike if it is raining or threatening rain due to the risk of flash flooding.
  • Dogs are not permitted on this hike.

Directions

The Kanarraville Canyon Falls Trailhead is due east of the town of Kanarraville. From Cedar City, take 1-15 South and then exit at 51, Kanarraville (if you're coming from the south, on I-15, take exit 42). In Kanarraville, go east on 100 North, drive to the end of the road and you'll run right into the parking lot for the trailhead (there's a sign reading, "Kanarra Falls Parking"). Parking is free and there's plenty of parking for RVs. (If using a GPS, make sure you put in the town and zip code, or you may end up at the same address in Cedar City instead.)

Permit, Fees and Coordinates

Hiking Kanarra Falls requires a hiking permit. Permits can be purchased for $12 per person online at kanarrafalls.com and are limited to 150 people per day. In the summer, tickets will sell out 1-2 weeks in advance. If available, hiking permits may be available at the Kanarra Falls trailhead during staffed hours, but the transaction will be credit card/debit only. No cash transactions will be allowed and there are no refunds. The permit also includes free parking at the town's lot at the trailhead.

GPS Coordinates: 37.5363, -113.165

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