By Melinda Rhodes
Don’t be chicken. Try something new on your next southern Utah getaway.
Raising Cane’s? Nope. (Apologies to Post Malone.) Exploring Kane? Yep. From high plateaus to deep canyons and lots of salmon-hued sand in between, the unique combination of scenery and activities always makes us salivate for more. Mix a few of these things to do in Kane County into your next getaway to create your own recipe for fun.
Go Dune Surfing
Sure, snow is good for sliding on skis, boards or sleds. But so is sand. And when you go sandboarding or sand sledding at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, you don’t have to worry about your lips turning a Smurfy shade in sub-freezing temps.
Rent some stand-up boards or sit-down sleds at the visitor center — your plastic Flexible Flyer won’t cut it here. Sandboards typically have a layered wood construction, with a laminate base that can be waxed. Be sure to apply wax after every run to reduce friction and increase speed.
When you’re tired of climbing back up the dunes after your surf sesh, take a guided ATV tour or go on a rappelling adventure. Your glutes, quads and calves will thank you. And so will the aesthetic center of your brain that processes beauty … whatever that is.
Tour Piggy Paradise
Located in Kane County’s largest city, Kanab, Utah, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is most often associated with dogs and cats. But did you know that this is also a safe spot for squealers and offers board to bleaters as well? That’s right. Book a pig and goat walking tour and/or volunteer for a hooves-on experience. You might even get to help give those pigs a pedicure!
Enter the Lottery
Not that kind. Gambling is illegal in Utah. But, if you’re looking for things to do near Kanab and want to hike The Wave (yes, please!), you have to enter the lottery. Once a hidden gem on the Utah/Arizona border in Coyote Buttes North, the 6.4-mile roundtrip hike through the colorfully contoured formation exploded in popularity after it was featured in a documentary in the ‘90s and then as Microsoft Windows wallpaper in 2009 — hence the need to hold a permit lottery to preserve the land.
No more than 64 people (48 in-advance, 16 in-person winners) are permitted to make the physically demanding trek to see the stunning sandstone striations each day. To enter the in-person lottery, you must be in one of a handful of cities in Arizona or Utah, including several locations in Kane County: Kanab, Orderville, Mt. Carmel, Johnson Canyon, Big Water, East Zion or Paria.
The Bureau of Land Management recently increased the number of permits issued, but reports the chances of winning are still only between 4-8%. (Better odds than winning a billion-dollar Powerball payout, but still not great.) Visit Recreation.gov for more information on getting a permit. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Play the Slots
Again, there is no gambling in Utah. But a hike through one of the many slot canyons in Kane County is a sure bet. You’ll hit the jackpot every time.
- Huntress Slot Canyon: Ride ATVs through the sandy wash until you hit the box canyon, or hike the whole way.
- Peekaboo: If Antelope Canyon is Marsha Brady, then Peekaboo is Cindy. They share similar DNA, but one is shorter and less popular. Hop in your 4WD vehicle and head to this stunning slot located a few miles from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Before entering any slot canyons or hiking through washes, be sure to check the weather in and around the area, as well as the potential for flash flooding. Even storms miles away can make these geological features dangerous in mere minutes.
Do Something Edgy
Located on the eastern edge of Zion National Park in Orderville, Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers a host of activities for its guests to choose from. From sunrise yoga seshes to guided horseback rides and Jeep tours that also include rappelling, you can pick and choose exactly what you want to do in this quiet corner of Kane County.
Head to the unincorporated community on Highway 14 known as Duck Creek. In the warmer months, enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery as you bike the section of the Virgin River Rim Trail from Strawberry Point to Cascade Falls, then hop off your bike and hike the short-but-scenic Cascade Falls trail.
In the colder months, there are plenty of snowmobiling trails on the high plateau that also offer stunning views, including Navajo Lake, Lars Fork and Strawberry Point. Snowmobiling in southern Utah? Huh. Who knew!?