10 New Things to Do in Kanab
by Laurel Beesley
As another new year begins, there is plenty happening in southern Utah. There are cultural events, exciting new bike trails, great new restaurants, and other wonderful stuff. We hope to keep you tuned in to just a few of the very best here on our ever-growing list.
#1: Balloons & Tunes February 17-19 in Kanab.
Over 40 brilliant hot-air balloons rise into the sky above red rock buttes for three fabulous mornings. Come to the street fair located on Center Street and buy one-of-a-kind crafts from area vendors. Saturday night is the red-hot event when the bands battle and the big balloon glow begins. Enjoy an on-the-street S’more School lesson from famous Chef Shon before watching the hot air balloons hiss and blow then glow. Following is the Wishing Lantern Launch where you can buy your own special glow balloon and send it flaming into the night sky like a star.
#2: Great New Biking Trails
Biking trails are such a special feature here in Kanab and doing very well. Thanks to support from the IMBA, an international organization promoting mountain bicycling opportunities that are environmentally and socially responsible, our local trail network is quickly expanding. Many miles of bike trails, providing exceptional views, are already available. (See cover photo.)
#3: Want to See A Hidden Slot Canyon – Without the Crowd?
I almost don’t want to say this since locals love their secrets but… one of the best slot canyons in this great region of many slots is the Red Canyon/Peekaboo slot just north of Kanab. A long and astounding tunnel of twisting walls, Kanab’s Peekaboo is special. Since it’s not easy to access, I suggest contacting a local outdoor guide like Kanab Western Adventures. You won’t be disappointed; innumerable guests have said visiting this slot was the best day of their vacation. Other “secret” slots are also waiting here, but you will have to twist my arm for how-to-find info on those treasures. One of the best is accessed only by passing through a private cattle-gate with a key that….hmmm, dare I tell where it is hidden behind the seat of an old yellow tractor? I don’t think so, at least not now.
#4: Traveling with kids, or want some exercise at night yourself?
Kanab’s K-Town Plaza is a new ultimate for kid skateboarding and other activities. Recently completed, with even a pump track for bicyclists, K-Town Plaza is a teen friendly, outdoor recreation center where locals and tourists can spend time, be safe, be active, and have fun. There is basketball and even nearby new tennis courts and pool. This is a cool thing to do – with a remarkable view.
#5: Really see the sky at night – some of the best constellation sightings on Earth
Over 85% of the world can no longer see the amazing Milky Way Galaxy but here in Kanab – come and see it! The local Star Party Tonight (kanabstars.com) offers fascinating galactic journeys into the wild dark sky each night with laser pinpointed descriptions of what you see across the mysterious night sky. This region is one of the highest rated for viewing in the Night Sky Index. (See cover photo.)
#6: The arts & fine crafts – new gallery & art events
The Raven’s Heart Gallery, opened just one year ago in Kanab, is already offering a museum quality selection of local arts and crafts. Dedicated to “art with heart, expressing kindness, compassion, and respect for all life,” this unusual gallery is an astounding collection of modern and often story-telling art in many different modernistic formats – painting, jewelry, ceramics, photography, and sculpture. A must-see on your tour of Kanab and southern Utah.
#7: Speaking of exhibits, let’s add science, as in dino-facts
The Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument is the most rugged wilderness of the Lower 48 States, and a Jewel in our Crown even if it isn’t the most easily accessible 1.9 million acres in America. It is also a treasure chest for the discovery of ancient and even previously unknown dinosaur species and that remarkable fact has recently been acknowledged in a new exhibit at the BLM Visitor Center in Big Water, Utah. Feel like a Pygmy when you put your head near the 6’ skull of a “devil-face” Diabloceratops. A fascinating exhibit for adults and children.
#8: And where to eat? Something different, something new.
A famous Michelin Guide Restaurant Critic recently came to Kanab. With a well-deserved reputation for being highly critical, and swarmed by international media as he checked each site, he finally visited the SEGO Restaurant, here in Kanab. His response, following the first course? “Superb, beautiful, excellent.” A Utah restaurant, here in Kanab, is now officially recognized in the Michelin Guide.
SEGO is an exceptional, high-end yet intimate restaurant in the middle of Kanab. Chef Shon, formerly of Amangiri Resorts, also hosts an exceptionally fine new gourmet bakery here in Kanab opening early spring. Breakfast has never sounded so good and Kanab now offers everything from home-cooking like our ‘ol fave, Houston’s Trail Restaurant, to SEGO. And never forget the Rockin’V – anyone who has eaten there will never forget it.
New to town is the delightful Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen. It is an excellent vegetarian and even vegan restaurant in a friendly setting in the middle of town that includes a dog-friendly patio.
#9: Best Friends Welcome Center
The friendly center-of-town building has an exhibit and updated list of activities for animal lovers interested in sanctuary events. Often there are (hopefully irresistible) cats and dogs in the Welcome Center, all hoping to receive love, special pets, and attention. Friday night “Paint-Your-Pet” and other caring activities are open to locals and visitors. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary hosts free daily tours that can be booked at the Welcome Center or online. I look forward to painting my dog this week – look out for my Shanti-Deva painting, it may look, well, rather cubist since I’m not much of a painter.
#10: And so-so much more!
Don’t forget the tried and true, like our weekly Fiddle Jam Contest every Tuesday. Monday nights host classic Western movies at the Crescent Moon Theatre since this is the Little Hollywood of the West. There are new custom trail maps available at the tourist center, so whether you are here for a day or more you can choose an immediately available trail that will blow your socks off.
Want a different kind of fun weekend with your family? Go to Orderville and ask one of the Rock Shops for a free Treasure Map and go rock-hounding. Don’t forget canyoneering, or even horseback riding across the seldom seen parts of the Grand Staircase. There is always so much to do here.
For more information, go to visitsouthernutah.com.