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Kanab Sand Caves {aka Moqui Cave}

Updated: May 8, 2020

Nestled high in a hillside about 5 miles north of Kanab Utah overlooking Highway 89, you’ll find a small cave system that is easy to overlook if you don’t know it’s there. This unique attraction makes a great detour after your visit to nearby Zion National Park, and will keep you more than entertained with its bird’s eye views and stellar photo ops.

Location: Just south of 4581 US-89, Kanab UT 84741

Difficulty: Difficult- Only because getting up the side of the cliff requires some careful scrambling that is not for everyone. Other than that, easy!

Duration: This is more of an adventure than a hike; It’s maybe a quarter mile from your car to the cave entrance, if even that far

Season: Open yearlong, but it get craaazy hot in summer, so maybe avoid that

Entrance Fee: Your first-born child. Just kidding, it’s free

Good to Know: Dogs are allowed, yay! No water or restroom services

The aforementioned address is actually for Moqui Cave, a neat little tourist trap whose name is used interchangeably with the sand caves due to its close proximity. If you are traveling southbound on 89, the caves will be a ¼ mile past Moqui Cave. If you are headed north on 89, approaching from Kanab, start looking for the caves just after you pass the turn off for Best Friends Animal Society, near mile marker 70. You will find the caves up high on the eastern hillside.

There is no parking lot, however, there is a shoulder on the west side of 89 directly across from the caves. This is the best place to park, unless you would rather park at the real Moqui Cave and walk.

The trail to the hillside is easy to pick up if you park on the shoulder and walk directly across the road. There is no sign for the trail head, but there is a well-worn path. The easiest way up is to go as far to the left of the rock face as you can and make a few switchbacks until you get to the top shelf where you can then walk straight across to the caves. It looks more intimidating than it actually. Okay, it's a little intimidating regardless.

Climbing up to the caves isn't for everyone. I’ve seen small children scale the slickrock just fine, however, I’ve also seen my full grown, adult sister on the verge of tears trying to navigate this thing. To be fair, her shoe had literally melted off because we were there in August and it was hot as Hades. Combine that with a fear of heights, and she was understandably a little flustered {she's gonna kill me for sharing that. looove yooou}. Moral of the story? Wear good shoes and only attempt this hike if you feel confident in your mountain goat abilities.

I love exploring these caves. There’s not a whole lot to them, they don’t stretch back very far, but there is just something about them that makes you feel…I don’t know. Like you’re Butch Cassidy, on the run from the law and this is your hideout; or like a Goonie or something. They’re also dog friendly, which is always a bonus in my book {clean up after your pups!}. This is a popular hike for young families, but be careful with the drop offs, they go straight down. If taking pictures is your thing, you’ll want to time your visit with the sunset. The caves face the west, and they light up in those last few rays of the day.

Please do not carve on the walls. I honestly do not understand peoples obsession with seeing their names written on things. Maybe it's because I don't particularly like my name, but I just don't get it. No one cares, Karen! As tempting as it may be, please, please refrain from adding to the graffiti!

While this hike may not be a destination in and of itself, it will be the perfect addition to your day if you are already in the area, and is well worth the stop. Pair it with a trip to Belly of the Dragon or Best Friends Animal Society for a full day of fun!

{as always: practice LEAVE NO TRACE. stay hydrated. tell someone where you are going. wear appropriate clothing. be mindful of the weather. be nice to fellow hikers. have fun, make good choices, & hike smart}

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