Kanarra Falls Hike – Details and Photos for the Creek Trail Close to Zion

Kanarra Falls Hike – Details and Photos for the Creek Trail Close to Zion

United States
United States
 

When Is the Best Time

Kanarra Falls, located in Kanarraville just outside of Cedar City in Utah, is a popular destination for resident hikers but not well-known among tourists abroad. This easy-to-moderate hike depending on the creek level is a great alternative for the Narrows in Zion, especially in the hot summer months.

The Kanarra slot canyon shimmering in orange reddish light
The narrow winding slot canyon trail.

The Kanarra Creek Falls are suitable for most ages and fitness levels and are a great destination for families and children. The beginning of the Kanarraville Falls trail and canyon provides a fun and exciting adventure for kids, but the further you get, the more challenging and quieter it is. No soul was in sight when we reached the end of the track.

A woman wading through the creek in the Kanarra creek slot
I, in the distance in this beautiful canyon.

The Kanarra Falls track leads through a spectacular narrow slot canyon. You have to wade through the crystal-clear creek upstream through the cascading water and different pools. Do you plan to visit this spectacular gorge? Here you will find what you need to know, what you have to wear, where to apply for the permit and a hiking map app.

A hiker at the end of the gorge trail trying to circumvence the deep pool.
Shortly before the last waterfall, the pools had a depth of 2.5 ft

The best time for this outstanding hike is late May until roughly mid-October because of the water level and temperature.

View up to the sky with the reddish, orange and lilac canyon walls.
This view reminded me to Antelope Canyon.

Summer is fantastic for escaping the heat. However, always check the weather forecast first. This adventure leads through a narrow slot canyon prone to flooding, especially in the summer when heavy thunderstorms occur in the afternoon.

A hiker disappearing behind the next corner and wall
Absolutely breathtaking - the beginning of the slot canyon.

Do you wish to know more about the typical weather in this area? Check out my detailed guide for the Narrows in Zion; Kanarraville is a little cooler in the summer and less cold in the winter, although both slot canyons are located at a similar elevation and experience snow and ice. 

Permit Required

A staircase at the trailhead and parking
The marked trailhead to the entrance of the Kanarra Falls Slot Canyon.

The Kanarra Falls is located on private property, and a permit is required to access the falls. There are 150 permits available daily but fully booked for months in advance for weekends in the summer. Due to the permit system, crowds were bearable even on a Sunday.

A female hiker walks through the Kanarra creek
The first creek crossing soon after the reason we'd worn our water shoes the entire time.

The permits can be purchased online through the Kanarra Falls website. Before you book your online ticket, check out the entire guide and my packing checklist. Online Ticket Booking

Entrance Fee:     $12 per person

An information board about the permit.
For what is the permit fee used is mentioned here. Picture high resolution

No refunds or ticket transfers if the falls are closed due to hazardous weather or high spring level from melted snow. I highly recommend booking your permit online to be able to access this breathtaking half-day hike which is great fun also for children, especially for July and August.

A father and his young son in the Kanarra Creek
Excellent trail for you and your kids too.

You receive a confirmation which you must either download on your mobile or print. There is a ticket counter and control, so you can’t access this track without a permit!

Avoiding Crowds

Two hikers in front of us on the wider part of the creek trail
Thanks, to the permit system, it is not too busy.

In spring and autumn, the falls are less busy, and permits are usually left. The advantage is that you can check the weather before, and you can either book them a few days in advance or purchase the tickets on the day of your arrival. However, I wouldn’t count on that and highly recommend a pre-reservation.

Trail Description in Pictures

A hiker on the ladder at the first waterfall
Markus on the ladder on the way back.
  • Elevation Gain from the parking and trailhead to the official second waterfall 978 ft/ 298 m
  • Trail Length: Return hike 3.6 mi/ 5.8 km
  • Duration: 3-4 hours – a great half-day hike
  • Trail Difficulty: For experienced hikers: easy – for all others, moderate with difficulties in sections
View to the parking from the distance.
The parking, restrooms and picnic shelter - a view from the trail at a higher elevation.

There is plenty of parking, a covered picnic area with four tables and an absolutely clean restroom at the trailhead. After 5 minutes walk, you pass by the permit kiosk – no access without a permit (150 daily). There is another restroom before you start walking through the creek. The trail is exposed to the sun until you reach the slot canyon and again fully in the sun when the canyon widens.

First Waterfall and Ladder – 1.55 mi

A hiker at the top of the first waterfall
The ladder is a little slippery but easy to manage with the handrail.

The trail crosses the creek several times until the stream becomes the only track. The trail and canyon narrow, offering spectacular scenery. We’d worn our water shoes from the beginning because less weight in our backpacks, and getting wet feet was part of the experience.

The orange and reddish shimmering slot canyon
The light was excellent after midday.

The stream was shallow end of June. After 1.55 mi/2.5 km, you reach the "Lower Waterfall" and the 20 ft iron ladder. In former times it was harder to overcome the elevation gain on the wooden ladder. It is a lot safer now.

Second Waterfall and Boulder – 1.7 mi

The huge rock the obstacle to continue on the creek trail
Climbing up was a little tricky.

After the ladder, soon after, it is a lot more climbing to overcome a huge boulder without any ropes.

Were the canyon widens visitors took a break.
This "picnic" area was the busiest part of all and most hikers went back.

Some families with small children turned around. Here the narrow slot canyon widened, most visitors took a break, and  families turned around. 

Third Waterfall – Trail End 1.9 mi

The last waterfall and end of the Kanarra Creek Canyon Trail
Officially the second waterfall marks the end.

These falls are called the second, but IMO, these are the third because the second appears at the "Boulder", the obstacle that blocks the creek. To continue along the creek track, you head uphill. More precaution is required in this last section, although only 1,050 ft/ 350 m long. We were alone on the last part of the creek trail and soaked in beauty and solitude.

This waterfalls marks the end of the trail
This is the last waterfall on the Kanarra creek hike.

The narrow winding gorge in the beginning and the deep pools in the end with water cold as hell were our favourite parts. After a total of 1.8 mi/ 2.9 km, you reach the last waterfall and the trail’s end. Please, turn around and don’t continue.

Hiking Map by Locus Map App

Packing Checklist

The essential gear for the Kanarra Falls Creek Hike
Our gear for the Kanarra Falls Creek Trail
  • Most important are water shoes to protect your feet and neoprene socks. The Kanarra Creek is cold.
  • I carried my Olympus OMD 10 in a waterproof back (the orange sea to summit bag)
  • I always carry my Petzl headlamp in my backpack in case a hike takes longer than expected.
  • An additional long-sleeve layer and vest in case I start freezing in the slot canyon, but it was a warm summer day topping 80°F.
  • A bottle of water, and I recommend a snack or sandwich before you turn around. We had lunch at the picnic area therefore we left all food in the car.
A woman eating a rice in the picnic area.
Our lunch before we started the hike.

What did we eat on our trip? Mainly dehydrated meals which were convenient and time-saving. Usually, I am the chef, but on such trips, Markus takes care of our meals.

Nearby Tip

A hiker on the top of a rocky dome
One of the many photos opts with cube pattern stripes.

Do you like to hike off the beaten path in a fascinating landscape? Check out the Candy Cliffs at Yant Flat, not far from Zion National Park. 

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Related Topics

Location and Tips

Utah, Kanarraville
United States
United States

The Kanarra Falls hike is a family-friendly fun hike through a creek in a narrow slot canyon in Kanarraville.  

Kanarra Falls vs Zion Narrows

The iron ladder at the first waterfall
Kanarra is pretty well-maintained.

You can’t compare the Kanarra Falls Slot Canyon hike with the Narrows in Zion. Both tracks are fantastic, especially in the hot summer, but utterly different. IMO, Kanarra is not a smaller version of the Narrows. However, there are five pros to the Kanarra Falls Track compared to the Narrows.

A hiker accessing the Kanarra gorge
I loved this track as a training for the Narrows.
  1. The Kanarra creek level is lower, and the current is less strong therefore, much safer, especially for children - More suitable for families and children.
  2. The entire return hike takes 3-4 hours only, not a full day.
  3. Less busy because of the permit system and less known. In the Narrows, we had hundreds of hikers around us.
  4. In Zion, you must take the shuttle bus to get to the trailhead of the Narrows, which is time-consuming during busy days. For the Kanarra Falls track, you are able to park at the trailhead.
  5. Overall, the walls of the Narrows are a lot more towering and impressive, but also, in the Kanarra Creek Slot Canyon, I took some great shots of mother nature.

There are three water hikes in this area; the Kanarra Falls which are perfect to start with, the breathtaking Narrows, and the unique Subway in Zion.

Shimmering light in the Narrows
My detailed Narrows Guide in Zion National Park

Another alternative to escape the crowds in summer in Zion is the Subway Hike, with 80 hikers daily. A permit is required, but this track is still not well-known, and frequently, you can get a last-minute permit.

For hikers with hiking poles leaving the Subway
A pothole in the shape of a heart in the Subway.

Who We Are

We both in the morning on South Kaibab Trail
We hiked the Grand Canyon for the third time in one day in late June 2022.

We are passionate travellers, married for almost 25 years, and we love discovering hidden gems around the globe. I am passionate about sharing some of the most beautiful places in the world with you, but I still can't live from my work, and we have regular jobs, too.

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Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…