Kanarra Falls

Kanarra Creek is the gem of Kanarraville and the main attraction for hikers, who come by the thousands each year to hike and explore. The creek comes off Kanarra Mountain and down through red slot canyons to make its way into the valley where it irrigates the fields and gardens of local farmers and residents. The creek runs all year long over a series of small falls.

Lower Kanarra Falls. (Photo courtesy of Your Hike Guide)

This moderate hike starts in Kanarraville.  The 2021 season opens on January 1st, and the number of hikers will be limited to 150 per day, so advance reservations are strongly encouraged.  Permits can be purchased for $12 per person online at www.kanarrafalls.com. The permit includes all fees and free parking at the Town parking lot at the trailhead.  Hiking permits can also be purchased at the Kanarra Falls trailhead if available (not sold out), however, the transaction will be credit card/debit only. Cash transactions are strongly discouraged. There are no refunds.

Please do not park on the streets of Kanarraville and please note that NO DOGS are allowed on the hike. Follow the signs east up the hill (100 N) to the parking lot.

The hike starts off with a climb up a dirt road then descends on the other side of the hill to the creek. The dirt road takes you further into the canyon until the road finally ends, and the creek is more or less your guide from then on. The full round trip is about 3.8 miles, with an altitude gain of about 700 feet. It is mostly in the shade and ocasionally walking in water, so prepare to get wet; how wet is mostly up to you. The average time to do the hike to the first waterfall and beyond is about 4 hours.

Kanarra Creek Slot Canyon

Kanarra Creek Slot Canyon. (Photo courtesy of Your Hike Guide)

The best narrows are just before the first waterfall and ladder. They are short but have some of the best modeling you will see in a slot canyon. The ladder over the falls is precarious, but once you are above it there are a series of pools and rock slides in which many take refuge from the summer heat.

This is considered a primitive and unimproved hike, and the Town of Kanarraville does not maintain the ladders or trails. Part of the hike is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, but the falls themselves are on School Trust Lands of Utah.

The creek can be slippery and accidents are not uncommon when walking in swift running water. The town averages several rescues a year so be careful, take your time and get a good footing when walking in the creek. Proper footwear is recommended and trekking poles can be very helpful.

Kanarra Creek

Kanarra Creek. (Photo courtesy of Your Hike Guide)

This hike starts and finishes in Kanarraville, and can be taken in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The red sandstone is reminiscent of Zion and Kolob Canyon, but on a much smaller, more intimate scale.  Bring water and snacks, or take a picnic and stay the whole day.

Supplies are limited in Kanarravile, so stock up in nearby Cedar City. There are no other hiker’s facilities other than the parking lot and porta-potties at the trailhead.

Please note that the culinary water for Kanarraville residents comes from a spring up Kanarra Canyon. Please be mindful and considerate of this. At this time there are no guided tours, but the trail is easily identifiable – just follow the creek.

Upper Kanarra Falls

Upper Kanarra Falls. (Photo by Jason Gessel)

Take the Kanarraville exit off I-15, just thirty minutes north of St. George and fifteen minutes south from Cedar City and enjoy.

Click here for Kanarra Creek Parking Information

At a Glance:
Rating Mild to moderate hike
Preferred Season Spring, Summer, Fall
Length About 4.5 miles (7 km)

Time Committment

Fee Required?

2 to 4 hours

YES.  $12 per person (including processing fees and parking).  Tickets are limited to 150 hikers per day so advance purchase is recommended.

Altitude Gain 700 feet (213 m)
Shade Most of the hike is in the shade and cool water
Access Starts and ends in “downtown” Kanarraville. NO DOGS are allowed on the hike.  Permit is required.
Essentials Sticky-soled river hiking shoes can be helpful. Warm clothes to cut the chill of the shade and cool water. Food and water for a day hike.
Drinking Water Water is available to purify along most of the hike, but it’s easier to bring your own.
Waterfall Obstacles Two 10 to 15 – foot waterfalls block your way along Kanarra Creek. Homemade “wilderness” ladders will typically help you pass, but don’t count on them being there, as flooding or others may have removed them.
Spring Expect higher and colder water flowing during spring runoff, when crossings may be deeper. Neoprene socks are nice if getting feet wet (likely).
Summer HOT! Leave early to avoid the heat and be aware the hike out is in full sun. The first couple of miles from the trailhead are especially exposed, with very little shade.
Fall The BEST time to hike this route, with great fall photography along the creek bed
Winter Possible snowpack and ice along the waterfalls. Use caution and check current conditions.