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Squeeze your family through a slot canyon to Kanarraville Falls

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Updated November 1, 2018

Kanarraville Falls Slot Canyon 

This sweet half-day hike through some pretty rad slot canyons and playful waterfalls used to be somewhat of a hidden gem. While the word is out, it is still well worth your family’s time.

Start this hike from a teeny, tiny southern Utah town parked in the backyard of Zion National Park. Not far from Bryce either.

Near St. George, the small town of Kanarraville, Utah is home to a few hundred people and this gorgeous waterfall hike.

NOTE: As of May 1, 2018, a permit is required to hike Kanarra Falls. Learn more here.

Sleep in Cedar City, Utah

Headed west, we were driving our way to California when we dug up this little nugget of a hike.

We bee-lined it south through Colorado and into Utah.  Having tucked 640 miles under our belt, that night we crashed at a hotel in Cedar City, Utah,  planning on hitting the road again in the morning.

We’re known to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to rugged little adventurous areas.  

Knowing already that this part of Utah was gorgeous based on a previous road trip through Moab, Bryce, and Zion National Park, the hubs was searching the web, learning about the area surrounding Cedar City.

Within minutes he spied photographs of Kanarraville Falls. 

So, being a spontaneous bunch, we made a 4 hour pit stop to hike the Kanarra Creek Trail to experience the beautiful Kanarraville Falls first-hand.  This last-minute addition to our plan was worth every minute.


The best of family friendly hiking in Utah

A moderate 5 mile hike, our kids say the Kanarraville Falls hike is one of their top highlights of our California road trip.  And we weren’t in California. 

Gradually hiking up from the trailhead, Kanarra Creek guides you the entire way. Follow the creek and you can't lose the trail.  You'll cross back and forth over the creek and hike through it several times.  The creek generally stays shallow, ankle hight mostly to mid-calf at times.

Strap on your water sandals 

Chacos or other water sandals are preferred to tennis shoes or hiking boots.  My daughter and I are started off wearing tennis shoes, but within a few minutes we were donning our Chacos instead. (Customize your own one-of-a-kind Chacos here!)

Enjoy the shade trees, foliage, and the towering mountains.  Plenty of places to stop and rest, take in the beauty.  Soon, you'll find yourself sliding into a slot canyon.

The slot canyon

Holding hands and mouths gaping wide, we reached the mouth of the canyon.  Sunlight dances on the canyon walls.  So. Many. Snapshots.  We were in love.

Kanarra Falls ladders

As you hike farther up the slot canyon, you reach a crude ladder going up the falls.  It's basically a large log with metal rungs and a rope railing along the canyon wall to help guide you towards the top.  

Helping each other, we carefully climbed up the 12 foot ladder and farther in.  Honestly, I was a tad nervous for my younger two.  We were thankful for the lending hands of fellow hikers.  Safety is paramount.

Rock sliding

Hiking up the canyon further, you'll tediously make your way up a second set of small falls, this time without a ladder.  Just tree branches and boulders helping you up.

Then, the canyon widens again.  We made our way up to more falls where we sat and ate our picnic lunch.  There, the creek cascaded over huge, mossy rocks into a pool of water, making it a natural playground.  We took our turns sliding down the rocks.  

Soaking wet, we dried quickly in the abundant sunshine.


Hiking back down the canyon was just as fun, and we were wonderfully tired and in search of ice cream.

Tips for hiking Kanarra Falls

Parents, you should know this is a moderate, wet, slick hike.  Personally, I wouldn't bring babies and toddlers up all of the falls.  We saw mamas and dadas with little ones.  Some stopped and waited as the rest of their family hiked up and further in.  Others, with little ones strapped on their fronts or backs, dared the ladders and falls.  

I'm a play-it-safe kind of mom.  Not judging, just being real.  Remember, there is a 12 foot high, crude, slick ladder.  Elementary age and up seems about right.  Know your kids' abilities.  Know thyself.

Bring lots of water, like two water bottles each.  Pack snacks and maybe a lunch.  Give yourself up to 4 hours to enjoy the hike.  Know when the sun sets.  

Mid-day, on weekends, this hike can be crowded.  Start earlier in the morning, or hike this on a week day.

How to reach the trailhead

Kanarraville Falls hike is in Kanarraville, Utah (just south of Cedar City, Utah off of I-15 via Old U.S. 91, or just 40 miles north of St. George, Utah).  

Bring $10 cash to park in the Kanarraville parking lot right at the trailhead.  The address is 375 E. 100 North St, Kanarraville, UT 84742.  

Permit Required

As of May 1, 2018, a permit is required to hike Kanarra Falls. Learn how to get your permit here.

Nearby national parks and outdoor adventures

Zion National Park is roughly 50 miles, or only about an hour away.  Spend at least 3 days in Zion.

Bryce National Park is about 100 miles, or 1 hour 40 minutes away.  You’ll love an overnight in Bryce.  Dying to get back there.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is 33 miles, or 47 minutes away.

Brian Head, Utah is 44 miles, or 50 minutes drive.

Looking for a big adventure in the Grand Canyon? Hike Havasu Falls with your kids or teens!



We love Utah!

Honestly, we could spend a week or more just exploring this part of southern Utah.  So much to see and do!  We're already talking with California friends about meeting up here.  What's next on your list?

Have you explored southern Utah?  What are some tips or faves you'd like to share? Feel free to pass this post on to a friend. Thanks!