PERMIT REQUIRED: As of May 1, 2018, a permit is required to hike Kanarra Falls.
Kanarra Falls is a beautiful slot canyon hike located just 13 miles south of Cedar City, in the town of Kanarraville. Within the slot canyon, resides Kanarra Creek, which creates the beautiful waterfalls throughout. Being so close in vicinity to the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park, the trail is also surrounded by beautiful red rock walls. The peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking views this natural wonder provides is sure to fill the nature lovers soul.
Recently, Kanarra Falls has gained notoriety as a favorite destination for adventure seekers. The hike is mainly through water, so you will get wet, and climbing the two waterfalls does require a bit of sure-footedness. You hike at your own risk as you will have to trust handmade wooden ladders and ropes bolted to the canyon walls.
Kanarra Falls is considered moderate to strenuous because the hike includes river hiking and water can be chest deep for children and depending on the time of year, quite cold. Be prepared if hiking early in the morning or when the weather is cold. Required equipment includes sturdy, sticky river hiking shoes and quick dry clothing; dry bag for equipment and food, as well as water, energy snacks, and a first aid kit. Carabineers and rope might be needed if the ladders are damaged. Best Season to hike is Summer/Fall when the water is warmer. The hike can take anywhere from 3 – 6 hours depending on pace and time spent enjoying the scenery along the way.
Permits can be obtained at www.kanarrafalls.com or at the trailhead. Cost is $8 per person with a small transaction fee. Only credit or debit cards accepted. No cash payments accepted and absolutely no refunds. One group permit is available each day to non-profit groups up to 30 people. Group fee is $25 and can be obtained at kanarrafalls.com. Proof of non-profit status required.
Starting on Cedar City Main Street heading south, turn left to merge onto I-15 S. Continue south on I-15 for 5.6 miles. Take exit 51 toward Kanarraville/Hamilton Ft., then turn left onto Old U.S. Hwy 91. Continue on Old Hwy 91 for 4.7 miles. Follow 100 North as it winds east, becomes 250 North and enters the mouth of the canyon.
Parking – There is a designated parking area that is free of charge with the purchase of your permit. There are additional parking options with charge if the designated parking is full. Please do NOT park in front of homes or driveways.
♦ From the Kanarra Falls parking lot, head through the hiker’s gate and follow the old access road (approximately 0.8 miles) as it wanders up into the Hurricane Cliffs and enters the lower open sections of the canyon. The trail will cross the stream several times along the road. The road ends by the water well and the trail continues, hiking in the stream most of the time. (You will get wet, and good water hiking shoes are highly recommended.)
At this point, the trail is mostly overgrown and you will be alternating between hiking in the (usually less than a foot-deep) water and hiking on one of the many short trails on both sides of the stream. Whatever route you choose, please do your best to avoid causing any erosion to the banks. After about a half a mile, the canyon slots up and continues to the first major landmark of the hike: Kanarraville Falls, a 15-foot high rock-jam waterfall.
♦ The first waterfall (approximately 1.5 miles) presents a leaning log “ladder” with new, somewhat ominous, metal fabricated rungs attached. Hikers must scale the make shift ladder., with a webbing “handrail” of sorts, in order to continue on the trail. Be aware that the ladder does get wet and can be slippery. Some hikers opt to turn around at this point. Just arriving at the first waterfall will yield plenty of awe-inspiring moments and memories, and plenty of photo worthy opportunities.
♦ If you continue hiking, the canyon opens up to a natural water slide and flat rocks that make perfect a perfect snack spot (approximately 2 miles). After a snack, be sure to inspect your surroundings for trash or spilled foods. Accept the challenge of packing out all trash, leftover food and litter.
♦ A bit further up the trail, hikers come to deeper water and the narrowing slot section of the second waterfall (approximately 2.5 miles). The condition and safety of this “ladder” is always unknown. Once up the second waterfall, the trail continues a bit, then becomes impassable without specialized gear and the canyon boxes out. The condition of the ladders varies from year to year depending upon run off and drainage so be prepared.
BE PREPARED & HIKE AT YOUR OWN RISK
Not Recommended for Small Children – Kanarra Falls can be considered a family friendly canyoneering excursion, in that it does not require special gear or climbing equipment; however, it can be challenging for younger children and is not recommended for anyone with physical limitations. Be aware that there are obstacles to climb over, slippery/uneven surfaces and unstable ladders to traverse.
Flash Floods Can Kill – Kanarra Creek is in a slot canyon and there is a very real danger from flash flooding and rockfall. Flash floods can occur at any time of year, but are most common in July, August and September during monsoon season. Check the local forecast and remember conditions change quickly; you can also call the National Weather Service at (801) 524-3057.
*Know your escape routes, be aware of rising water levels, stronger currents and sudden changes in water clarity. By entering a narrow canyon or wash, you are assuming a risk. Do not hike this trail if it is raining or if there is a threat of heavy rain.
Limited Facilities – “Go Before You Go”- There is only one restroom along the Kanarra Falls trail located at the parking lot. Please follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out human waste.
Absolutely NO Pets! – Leave pets at home – Kanarra Creek is the water shed for Kanarraville town. Human and animal feces can cause contamination.
REMEMBER, YOUR SAFETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!
Last but not least, HAVE FUN!