Return To Kanab, UT

Kanab, UT

After a one night stay in Bluff, UT we had a 240 mile drive to our  next destination, Kanab,UT.  We visited Kanab last May but still have a couple of things we want to do or see.

We left Bluff and headed south on US 163.  This route takes you past two beautiful areas in Utah and Arizona.  The first is Valley of the Gods, a scenic sandstone valley that has rock formations with tall, reddish brown mesas, buttes, towers and mushroom rocks.  The Valley of the Gods can be toured via a 17 mile gravel road that winds around the formations, many of which have been given names.

The Seven Sailors

About 30 miles south of the Valley of the Gods we drove through the beautiful, iconic Monument Valley.  One of the first things you see as you enter the area from the north is the famous scene from the movie Forrest Gump.

Run Forrest, run!

We turned west in Kayenta, AZ and drove another 125 miles to Page, AZ.  We crossed over the Colorado River next to the Glen Canyon Dam, which forms Lake Powell.

The Glen Canyon Dam Bridge

Lake Powell backs up behind the dam

Lake Powell is the second largest man-made reservoir by maximum water capacity in the U. S. behind Lake Mead.  However, due to high water withdrawals for human and agricultural consumption, and because of droughts in the area, Lake Mead has fallen below Lake Powell in size several times in the last 20 years in terms of volume of water, depth and surface area.

A small portion of Lake Powell

Wahweap Bay section of Lake Powell

From the dam it was a 75 mile drive to Kanab.  Along the way we passed sections of the many vermilion cliffs in this area.  The cliffs are made up of deposited silt and desert dunes, cemented by infiltrated carbonates and colored by red iron oxide and other minerals, particularly bluish manganese (as most of you well know!).

Vermilion cliffs north of US 89

After a long drive, made considerably longer by a 30 mph headwind we had to fight almost the entire way, we arrived at J and J RV Park in Kanab and set up in our assigned site.

The next day we did a hike that we missed during our previous stay here in May.  The Squaw Trail begins on the north side of Kanab next to Hamblin Park.

We’re going to climb up there!

The trail goes up 800 feet in just over a mile and a half.  It is not a real difficult hike but the elevation gain and steep climbs in some sections gives a hiker a good workout.  But the great views of Kanab below make the effort well worth it.

The trailhead

The trail first goes through a rocky canyon

The railing is a welcome assist through this section

Going up!

Hamblin Park has four ball fields located around a central building.  As we drove into the parking lot there were many vehicles parked there and the ball fields were filled with tents.  When we gained enough elevation on the trail, we got a great view of the tent city on the ball fields but thought it strange that there were no people around.

A little research revealed what was going on.  The Grand Circle Trailfest is a three day/four night event for runners.  On each of the three days runners are shuttled from Kanab to a different location for a race.  On day one they went to Zion National Park for a 13 mile race.  Day two was another 13 mile race, this time at Bryce Canyon National Park.  On day three they went to Page, AZ for an 11 mile run along the Colorado River at what is called Horseshoe Bend.  The event is run by a company called Vacation Races, who provide everything needed, including food, a shower trailer, and the tents.

Our trail continued up through a series of switchbacks until we could no longer see the tents in the ball fields.  But the views to the south were still impressive.

At the top there is a small bench where we enjoyed lunch and a nice view to the north.  But a couple of other hikers were there and the conversation distracted us (not a difficult task) and we forgot to get any photos.  But the best views are on the trail going up and back down anyway.

For the second day of our two day visit to Kanab we checked out two nearby places, one new to us and the other a spot we have visited before.  The first spot was the Belly of the Dragon.  Although the name implies something very exciting, it is really just a large drainage tunnel for the upper canyons that feed into the nearby North Fork River.  But it is a really cool drainage tunnel!

Lower entrance to the Belly of the Dragon

The tunnel is only about a tenth of a mile long, but you can’t see the other end from the entrance.

Upper entrance

If you hike four or five miles up the canyon there is suppose to be a nice slot canyon.  But the deep sand in the wash discouraged us from that adventure.

After checking out the tunnel we drove back through Kanab and headed east on US 89 for about 30 miles.  At that point we turned north and drove up a maintained dirt road a few miles to visit the ghost town of Paria.  There is not much left of the old town but that’s not why we wanted to make a return visit.  What draws us back to Paria are the colorful rock formations that surround it.

Heading north on the dirt road (with new bugs on the windshield)

The Paria River

Well, this blog concludes our fall trek through Utah and Colorado.  We had planned to stop for a short time in Mesquite, NV to hike in the nearby Gold Butte National Monument.  But with temperatures in Mesquite still in the 90s we’ve decided to skip that for now and continue back to our home in Boulder City.  We don’t have anything planned for a few months so the blog may be a bit quiet for a while, but we will definitely be back after the holidays.

But who knows what may arise between now and then?

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23 Responses to Return To Kanab, UT

  1. Jeff Pierce says:

    The colorful Paria area is always worth a return visit! The Squaw Trail looks like a challenge with little shade.
    Have you stopped at the Code Talkers display in Kayenta? Very moving; the grandfather of a cousin’s wife was one of the original. It would be moving without a remote connection.

    • placestheygo says:

      The Paria area never gets old. The Squaw Trail doesn’t have any shade but the day we hiked it was only in the 70’s. Most of the climbs are steep but very short with lots of flat. The only real long steep climb is at the very end. I just saw a billboard advertising the Code Talkers display as we traveled south. We’ll have to plan to check it out sometime.

  2. exploRVistas says:

    Looks like someone slammed on the brakes when Forrest stopped. Those are some healthy skid marks!

  3. Love that “belly of the dragon!” So, am I to understand you did not get tickets to the Wave? Enjoy that pool and we hope to see you this winter.

    • placestheygo says:

      The Belly of the Dragon was something we had never heard of. Very interesting! No wave permit!!! Can’t wait to see all the new improvements to the main house this winter.

  4. We really loved this region and your photos are reminding me of why. It’s so colorful and there are so many neat places to explore. That tunnel is definitely one of them! How cool looking! Love the Paria region’s colorful formations too!

    Also, I really cannot imagine paying someone to let me run 30 miles over 3 days while sleeping in a tent. There is no part of that that sounds appealing. At all. 🙂

    Glad you guys had such a great trip – you certainly saw and did a lot! Safe travels back home!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laura! We did have a wonderful trip. This area was all I hoped it would be. We really lucked out with timing of the leaves. Good we finally got there. I’m with you! What kind of crazy person pays to run and sleep on the ground!

  5. geogypsy2u says:

    Nice way to end a fun journey. I do love that colorful bentonite by the Paria.

  6. Laurel says:

    I still think the Paria area is one of the most striking I’ve ever seen. Those colorful striations in the rock are just amazing, and you captured them beautifully in your photos. The Squaw Trail looks great, I’m not so sure about the Belly of the Dragon. It’s fascinating, but kind of spooky!
    So glad you guys had such perfect weather for your trip. Enjoy your time at home!

    • placestheygo says:

      I don’t believe we have ever been surrounded with so much color before visiting the Paria Area. It is mesmerizing. You and Eric would enjoy the Squaw Trail. The Belly of the Dragon is very short so that helps take the scary our of it. Yes, we did have perfect weather and such a fun time.

  7. Sue says:

    A sweet end to another wonderful trip. Glad the weather cooperated this time. It’s good to be home, and it’s good to get on the road, we’re so fortunate…. The drive from Bluff to Kanab is so familiar and beautiful….I was driving it along with you, in my mind. We missed Belly of the Beast during our Kanab visits. Sort of creepy but it makes for interesting photographs!

    • placestheygo says:

      We truly are fortunate. I love life on the road but I also enjoy our new hometown. It was a beautiful drive home. Next Kanab visit you will have to check out the Belly of the Dragon. It’s very unique.

  8. Joe Taylor says:

    We love the drives through Utah and Arizona, but not with those nasty winds! Kanab is still on the “we really need to visit there” list. Just can’t seem to get to that side of the state! I so enjoyed traveling with you thru your pictures and blog.

  9. heyduke50 says:

    such colorful country is found in this part of Utah.. we should be in Mesquite on Friday for a few nights and hoping it is a bit cooler

    • placestheygo says:

      Southern Utah is my favorite area in the country. So much color and amazing things to see and do. Looks like it will cool down for your Mesquite visit. Gold Butte NM is a very rugged but neat park. Luckily, we are close enough to make another visit there this winter when it cools down.

  10. Jim and Barb says:

    We just watched Forrest Gump last week and thought about that stretch of the road when we saw that scene.

  11. pmbweaver says:

    We did the Valley of the Gods on year and loved it.
    Squaw Trail has beautiful vistas. I love the reds in the rock.
    Belly of the Dragon might not be much but it looks so cool inside.
    When you drive though Paria, it looks like your driving through the Painted Desert. Gorgeous colors.
    Enjoy your place. It is so lovely.

  12. Jodee Gravel says:

    Definitely one of the most beautiful drives in the country!! Maybe without the dang wind though. That tunnel is sooooo cool, it looks like you’re being swallowed! I’m finally getting caught up on my reading and am so glad you “scouted” that corner of Colorado for us – hoping to spend some time there this Spring.

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