When I first heard about these two places, I thought how that must be some amazing places. Oh boy! How wrong I was! These two places are not natural, man-made. But worth the visit. I got to know about these two places when I was trying to find places to visit near Kanab. Kanab is situated in the middle of a lot of attractions. There are a lot of places both in Zion National Park and Grand Canyon National Park which you can visit easily from Kanab. But the two places I am going to talk about is literally ten minutes away from Kanab and both are family friendly.
I knew about this cave for a long time, also knew that it’s literally roadside. But I was not so sure if I could find them or how would be the hike. I was passing the specific parking lot; it was full of car. Then on the other side of the road, I saw the caverns. It was really unexpected. I guess people now a days take Instagram spots really seriously. Jokes apart, I decided to visit the caverns before I leave Kanab.
Location: The cavern is located in between the Moqui Caves (the one that comes up when you search in google) and Best Friend Animal Sanctuary. The caverns are on the same side (east side) as Moqui caves of the road and there is a little pull out on the other side (west side) of the road. You have to park the car there. I am including the coordinates (37.116501, -112.560501) here. But honestly, it was really easy to locate.
Hike details: The hike is literally 0.25 mile (round trip) from the parking lot. The hike is easy, family friendly.
Once you have parked your car, cross the road and find the trail. Though it is not properly marked, it’s not that much difficult to find the dirt trail. The trail will lead you to a wall where you have to scale up a wall for a very short distance, which may seem sketchy in some places. There is no exact way till now, but the north side (away from the caverns) seems to be easiest to scale up the rock. But believe me, while we were visiting, most of the people were visiting with kids. The kids were really enjoying a lot. This may be a fun short trail where you can introduce hiking to your kids. Don’t forget to bring shoes with good traction just to be safe.
Best time to go: The caverns look best with bright sunlight. So, morning is not a good time. I think the perfect time would be two or three hours before the sunset. Go during weekdays, if you want the whole cavern to yourselves. There is not entrance fee or any kind of permit till now. Don’t get confused with the “Moqui cave” in Kanab that comes up when you google the name. Both are not the same.
These caverns were man-made, used to harvest sand for glass production in the 1970s. Once I was inside the caverns, it was spectacular. These caverns in not like any other caves I have seen before. The long sandstone tunnel with windows allows the lights to fill in and you will be able to see the highway from the cavern window. I chose to go late afternoon, so that the cavern would be bright and colorful. It was one of those places which will brighten your mood instantly. As it was the holiday season, there were a lot of families with kids and they were running, screaming, playing with the sands inside the cavern. The environment was vibrant and happening. Kids were having a great time paying in the dirt. If you are there, don’t forget to bring some sand toys. And there are a lot of sheer drop-offs, so keep a close eye on the kids while they play.
Belly of the dragon:
Now, about out second location- this one is known an ‘Belly of the dragon’ and also manmade. This manmade tunnel was originally built to use as a water culvert under Hwy 89. Over time, the drainage from the upper canyon water flow has carved the sandstone walls and created the shape and folds that we see now. This place is a really unique and family friendly trail. You can park the car, walk through the darkness of the tunnel to the other side and then again come back again to the same side. This is definitely a must go place with friends, and family and I am pretty sure the kids will love it.
Location: Belly of the dragon is located 16 miles north of Kanab. The dirt road is on the west side of the road between two guard rail and it is well maintained.
Trail details: This is short (0.5-mile round trip) family friendly easy hike. From the parking lot to the tunnel is a very short walk on the dirt road. The only difficult part is the initial 5 foot drop down to the entrance of the tunnel. Other than that, it is simple with no elevation gain. The floor of the tunnel is rocky, uneven and it gets quite dark inside. So, don’t forget to bring flashlight or lamp with you.
Best time to go: This man-made tunnel is free; you can go any time of the year. The only thing I would like to focus is to be cautious about rain and flash flood. As this is a water culvert, it is better to avoid during the rainy condition. Early afternoon on a bright sunny day is the perfect time to get the best light.
I know both places are man-made, but still we should be respectful and pay more attention to our action. Please do not add any carvings or draw anything on the wall. Don’t forget to take out whatever you take in. Leave only your footsteps, nothing else. While you are there enjoy your time with friends and family.