Tuesday, April 14, 2015

KANAB, UTAH - THE CENTER OF ALL THOSE GREAT NATIONAL PARKS!

One of the most beautiful places we have been workamping is in Kanab, Utah.  UTAH - everyone wants to work there! It is such a unique and gorgeous setting!  We worked at the Parry Lodge as housekeepers which allowed us to take in all of the great sites in the area. We would definitely recommend Kanab as a central location to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell, in Page, Arizona. So much to see and so much to do! 


Source: parrylodge.com

This blog post will be about Kanab but I will be providing a post on each of these nearby locations in the near future!

On our way to Kanab we spent a few days in Page, Arizona, at Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Doesn't this picture look like someone painted a perfect scene! We stayed at the Wahweap Campground and it was definitely worth the few extra bucks to stay close to the water and the views.


Lake Powell

As you can see there is a lot of boating and fishing in this area. We did do some hiking too. Also the Glen Canyon Dam is also at this location and tours are available. There were a lot of things there that we didn't get to explore so we will definitely be going back to this area again one day! Page is actually a good size town with lots of shopping, restaurants, and churches. It is about 70 miles or about an hour from Kanab so we did get there several times. It seems like everything is about an hour from Kanab!


The Parry Lodge is a historic hotel that was founded in 1931 by the Parry Brothers when many of the western movies were being filmed in Kanab and the surrounding area. Many movie stars have stayed there including John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Don Knotts, Dean Martin, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Stanwyk, and many others. Many of the hotel rooms have these actors names above the doors along with movie memorabilia in the rooms. The hotel lobby and restaurant are also decorated with many photos of the past. They also have an old barn on the property where they show old western movies nightly. It is not a fancy hotel but is very unique!

Beautiful scenery but we missed Green!


While working for the Parry Lodge they provided a free campsite at a campground out of town away from the lodge. It was not open to the public and was only for workampers.  That was awesome! There is a building on the property that had previously been a supper club so there was an activity room, restrooms with showers, laundry - basically everything we needed.  There were 4 other workcampers there along with us so it was a nice cozy group. It was set in a cove that was surrounded by beautiful red rock, cactus and lots of treasures!

Petroglyphs

We went hiking at the campground many times and had some great adventures! We found all kinds of great treasures up there - dinosaur tracks, pottery chips, petroglyphs, cacti flowers, and arrowhead rocks. The dinosaur tracks were from over 100 million years ago! How long ago is that really??


Dinosaur Tracks!
Kanab is definitely a tourist town in the summer and has several celebrations and parades commemorating their western culture including cowboys, horses, and music. The Western Legends Roundup is an annual event  held in August that attracts some of the western movie stars. It is pretty cool to witness how the town all comes together to plan such a large event. A lot of the movie stars stayed at the Parry Lodge so we cleaned some of their rooms! I even got Robert Fuller's autograph - well sort of! (Do you remember what shows he was in?) We were cleaning his room and he left a note that his coffee maker wasn't working, but he did sign his full name so I kept it, of course!

There are 3 campgrounds in town – Kanab RV Corral, Crazy Horse RV Campground, and Hitch-N-Post RV Park. Some look nicer than others, some have more trees, but it depends what you are looking for. We have not stayed in any of these parks.

There are 2 grocery stores, several gas stations, and lots of hotels in Kanab but of course the cost of living is a little higher.  There also is a large selection of restaurants including McDonald's, Subway and local Mexican, Chinese, steakhouses, barbeque, etc. We did go to Hurricane and St George several times to really stock up on groceries and just to check out a bigger city. Both of these towns are fairly close together and they are quite large so they would have any of the big box stores you may be looking for. They were both about an hour away too! 

 


We were in Kanab in the spring and summer. The spring days were beautiful and cool at night. By the end of June or early July it starts to get into the 90’s and 100’s with very low humidity. By mid July monsoon season starts and there are occasional rain showers, mostly in the afternoons. This really helps cool down the temps but if you plan to go hiking you have to be aware of flooding in low lying areas and slot canyons. This is a slot canyon we had hiked in May and at that time it was totally dry - this is what it looked like in July. Needless to say our son wanted to go through it anyway so he and his dad went. Not for me though!

As  you probably know Utah has a very rich history of Mormons and Native Americans, which makes for a unique culture. In Kanab there was a very small liquor store that closed at 7 p.m. If you order a drink in a bar you also have to order food. The border into Arizona was only a couple miles south of town and there was a very "unique" liquor store there that had its own set of rules but I would definitely stop there just for the experience. Look carefully - it looks like it is closed but it is not!

THE NATIONAL PARKS!

The closest national park to Kanab is Zion National Park. It is only about 30 miles to the east entrance of the  park so that was the first place we went! We bought the Annual Pass so we could go to as many national parks as we wanted over the next year. The drive through the park is breathtaking with all the sandstone cliffs and beautiful colors. There is a tunnel in the park that is about a mile long. The first time we went through it seemed like it lasted forever! There are "windows" in the side of mountain so you can see light in the tunnel.  But sorry you can't stop and look out the "windows!"  There is part of the park that is only accessible by free shuttle bus from mid March to the end of October, but it is an easy ride and very accessible. It takes you on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and I would highly recommend it!



One of the tunnel windows!

Bryce Canyon is like no place we have ever seen before! It is about 75 miles from Kanab so yes another hour or so. I guess I really hadn't heard a lot about it before so we weren't sure what to expect but it was another amazing site.  Just the drive up there was beautiful! Lot of GREEN trees and cute little towns with unique stores and restaurants,    etc. We would probably stay closer to this park at some point as there is so much to see.



Another National Park that is fairly close is the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately we only went there once. When the heat of the summer hit we didn't want to be out hiking too much so consequently we missed some opportunities.  The North Rim is only visited by 10% of the visitors to the Grand Canyon but I would highly recommend it. It is also Green with lots of trees, open meadows and wildlife along with the scenic Grand Canyon! The North Rim is only open from May to October so plan accordingly!


North Rim of the Grand Canyon


There are many, many other great hikes and places to see in the Kanab area including the Coral Sand Dunes, Grand Escalante Staircase, Pipe Springs National Monument, and the drive to Cedar City. One of the large attractions in the area is the Best Friends Animal Society. This is a very large 3,700 acre no-kill animal sanctuary. We drove through portions of it and discovered a beautiful pet cemetery called "Angels Rest" that also includes many wind chimes as you can see in the photo. They do give tours daily and also they accept volunteers to come work there so contact them if you are interested. It looks like a great home for those furry friends that need it!




Also be sure to stop at the Bureau of Land Management or ask the locals their favorite spots. Just get exact details of how to get to a hiking area because once you get out there it all looks the same.  We went on several hikes with our "hiking mentors" and saw some spectacular places we would never have found other wise. One hike we went on we were looking for some cliff dwelling Indian ruins. We had pretty clear instructions how to get there and our mentors had a GPS to help guide us. We still never found exactly what we were looking for but we sure  had a great time exploring and getting to know our friends.  We ended up hiking 12 miles and we were pretty exhausted at the end naming this hike our "Death March!"  The key is to be prepared with water, snacks and proper clothing to protect you from the elements.

Another Great Hike we went on was to "The Wave" - see my post about that amazing day here.  It should definitely be on your bucket list!


All in all Kanab is a great place to workamp and spend the summer. There are quite a few hotels, restaurants, etc. that hire seasonal employees. All summer there were signs in the local businesses looking for help. The only variable may be if they would provide a camp site or not but it would be definitely worth looking into if you would like to live in this beautiful area!


If you have any questions about working or living in Kanab, feel free to ask!





2 comments:

  1. Must say your blog brought back memories of our 2013 retirement trip into Kanab. What a fabulous time we had as we teamed up with Dreamland Tours and went to the Mystical Slot Canyons, White Water Wave with Petroglyphs, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Dinosaur Tracksites and hiked up to see the Indian Canyon Pictographs. Will James was an excellent guide who made our day.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like a fabulous trip and going with a tour group is a great way to see lots of things in a quick amount of time without getting lost! Great to hear from you!

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