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Kanarra Creek

Kanarra Creek flows through a gorgeous canyon featuring majestic waterfalls and beautiful narrows with sculpted sandstone walls. With the exception of the optional ladders and waterfall obstacles, Kanarra Creek is a fantastic family hike that kids will really enjoy. Those comfortable with climbing the ladders will be treated to even more waterfalls and beautiful scenery. Much of this hike is in cold, flowing water. Sturdy footwear with good traction is highly recommended.

Trailhead

The Kanarra Creek Trailhead (37.537583, -113.175717) is located at the east end of 100 North Street in Kanarraville, Utah, approximately 11 miles south of Cedar City.

Reaching the trailhead traveling from the north:

  1. Travel south on Interstate 15 until you reach exit 51 for Kanarraville.
  2. Turn left onto Old US Hwy 91 and continue 4.7 miles.
  3. Turn left onto 100 North and travel 0.4 miles to the signed parking area on the left near the end of the road.

Reaching the trailhead traveling from the south:

  1. Travel north on Interstate 15 until you reach exit 42 for Kanarraville.
  2. Turn right onto E Hwy 44 and drive 100 yards.
  3. Turn left onto Old US Hwy 91 and continue 4.4 miles.
  4. Turn right onto 100 North and travel 0.4 miles to the signed parking area on the left near the end of the road.

NOTE: There is a $10 fee to park at the trailhead, which you must pay in cash at a self-serve kiosk.

The Hike

The Kanarra Creek trail begins by following a gated dirt road up the canyon, occasionally crossing the stream. Soon the canyon narrows and it is necessary to travel in the watercourse for much of the hike. There are many social trails that have formed in this area but the easiest route stays close to the stream.

After about 1.5 miles, you will arrive at the beginning of the first section of narrows where the creek emerges from a dramatic opening in the cliffs ahead. This beautiful section of the canyon is the deepest, darkest section you will encounter with wall-to-wall ankle-deep water between soaring sandstone walls.

At the end of the narrows, you will encounter a beautiful 15-foot waterfall with a log leaned up on the right side. For many, this is a good turnaround point but for those adventurous enough to climb the log, there is much more to see. Climbing the log can be very dangerous. There is typically a hand line installed on the wall next to the log but be sure to evaluate before trusting it. The log has had various wooden rungs fixed to its face over the years to help hikers make the climb. As of 2013, a series of steel rungs is drilled onto the face. These rungs will likely provide better traction than their wood predecessors but they may also make a slip and fall even more dangerous due to the hard edges. Do not proceed up the log ladder if you are not comfortable with the risks.

Beyond the waterfall the canyon opens up somewhat as it passes by waterfall after waterfall. Some can be climbed directly and others may need to be bypassed on trails along the stream. About one half mile beyond the big waterfall in another narrow section of the canyon, you will arrive at a 10-foot waterfall that prevents easy access further up the canyon. This upper waterfall sometimes has a ladder in place but it is rarely as sturdy as the log at the lower falls. If you feel comfortable climbing up, you may continue a little further up the canyon.

Round trip distance from the trailhead to the upper falls is approximately 4 miles.

Rules and Regulations

  • There is a $10 per vehicle fee to park at the trailhead.
  • Please do not litter.
  • Pack out all trash.
  • No pets allowed.

Special Considerations

  • Kanarra Creek is the primary water source for the residents of Kanarraville. Balancing the need to keep this water source pure and still allow hiker access has been problematic, at times leading to the closure of the canyon. Please be respectful of this resource to help ensure continued access. Pack out everything you pack in and pickup any trash you may see along the way.
  • Kanarra Creek poses a significant flash flood risk. Do not enter the canyon if stormy weather is possible or if the water levels do not appear safe.
  • Much of this hike is in cold, flowing water. Sturdy footwear with good traction is strongly recommended.

Credits

This trail guide provided by Backcountry Post.