For Labor Day weekend, Courtney and I wanted to get out of town and have some adventures as the weather is already cooling down as we enter fall. Somewhere I’ve wanted to travel to within Utah is to Escalante National Monument. It’s less crazy than the National Parks (in general), and we wanted to avoid the National parks on a holiday weekend. We half-planned/half-improvised our trip down to southern Utah to see where the weekend took us.
The general plan was as follows:
Day 1 – Saturday) Drive down to Southern Utah (Red Rock Country), hike Kannaraville Falls, find somewhere to camp near Escalante
Day 2 – Sunday) Explore Escalante National Monument, drive to Springdale, UT to stay at the hotel
Day 3 – Monday) Short hike in Zion National Park, drive home
We ended up following that plan pretty closely, and the biggest questions were 1) where we would camp, and 2) where we would go within Escalante.
Since it was a jam-packed weekend full of new adventures, I’ve split up the posts. Here it goes!
Kanarra Creek Trail (Kanarraville Falls)
This hike was something that has popped up in my Utah adventure searches for a little while now, but hasn’t ever been on my game plan for my trips yet. This was the perfect opportunity! Courtney and I share the mindset that if we travel, we should do as much as possible to make the most of the trip. We set out early Saturday morning to Cedar City.
Distance: 4.8 miles, RT
Time: 2-3 hours, depending on your pace
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Restrooms: At the trailhead
Parking: $10 if you park in the designated lot. Many people park in town and walk in, which I believe is illegal. Park elsewhere at your own risk!
From Salt Lake, head south on I-15 and take exit 42 to New Harmony/Kanarraville. Turn left on Why 144, and take an immediate left onto Harmony Ridge Dr/Old US 91. Continue about 4.5 miles into Kanarraville and turn right onto 100 North. Follow 100 North 3.5 blocks until you see the parking lot on your left.
We debated whether we should wear hiking boots or Chacos to do the hike, but based on everything we had read, we decided to wear Chacos. I am glad we did because most of the hike is walking in the water, and having to switch between shoes or walk in soggy sneakers would’ve been a pain. There is a bit of a climb in the first part of the trail until you reach the first river crossing. The weather was quite hot, and the cool water was refreshing for this time of year (even in early September).
The trail will follow and intersect the river a few times, and there will be times where you have to cross/walk in the river to continue.
In my opinion, it’s all part of the fun of this hike! It really reminded me of the Narrows with how much river walking we did. There were a few times we thought we had lost the trail, but when in doubt, follow the river!
Finally, we reached the entrance to the slot canyon and I was immediately taken back to the Narrows. It was truly like a baby Narrows experience.
We took photos and continued onto find the main waterfalls only to be greeted by a very long line to climb up the tree log ladder. There were probably at least 50 people (and that’s a conservative estimate) in that one area either waiting to climb up the log or down from above the waterfalls.
From the photos, I had seen, I had envisioned a serene waterfall experience but given the holiday weekend, so close to a college city, we dealt with the crowds. It was a really cool experience, nonetheless. I’d like to go back in a different season or time of day to see it without the hoards of people. 🙂
I really enjoyed the way the trail weaved in, out, and through the river, with a magical slot canyon at the end.
- Wear water sandals or shoes such as Chacos/Tevas – Your feet will thank you!
- There is quite a bit of sun exposure in some areas, so bring proper sun protection
- Always check the weather before entering slot canyon areas. Flash floods are a real danger in this area and can happen anytime of the year.
- If you’re looking for peace and quiet, go very early in the day and/or off-season or weekdays. Expect crowds on summer weekends.
After the hike, we were ready for some food. We ended up at Charlie’s Southern BBQ in Cedar City. That brisket hit the spot!
Charlie’s Southern BBQ
126 North Main Street
Cedar City, UT 84720
After our lunch/dinner, we were quite stuffed and ready to find a camping spot close to our adventure for the next day.
We drove down to Bryce, UT just outside of Bryce Canyon and pulled off to a primitive camping spot on Tom’s Best Spring Rd. We found a spot just before dark and made some tea & s’mores for dinner.