Belly of the Dragon is a short, dark, man-made tunnel located between Orderville and Kanab. This is an entirely unique adventure that requires almost no hiking. The adventure does require a short scramble down slick rock, so it is not accessible to everyone. We loved walking through the Belly of the Dragon.
The Belly of the Dragon is just south of the Mount Carmel Junction. It is a popular destination, so expect to see a crowd. Less than a mile south of the junction (or 16 miles north of Kanab), turn west off of US-89 onto the dirt Barracks Road near the East Fork Virgin River. Follow the road for about a quarter mile. Make sure to stay to the left at the fork in the road. You will see the tunnel’s entrance as you get closer to the parking area. There is a lot of space for parking.
Belly of the Dragon
From the parking area walk toward the entrance from the left. Don’t try and climb up from the front. Entering The Belly of the Dragon requires an easy scramble to access. Wear good shoes and be careful on the slippery, sandy slick rock. Once you pass this small scramble, the walk is easy. The path starts out in a key shape, and you can start on the ledge on either side, or begin down the channel.
The Belly of the Dragon runs almost a 100 yards under the road. It was carved in the rock under Highway-89 to allow for drainage from the mountainous side to the lower, drier side of the road. As you venture through the tunnel, it looks like you are walking through the very large intestine of a massive dragon.
The tunnel never grows entirely dark because there is light at both ends. There is a slight turn at the far end, which means that there is a bit of darkness. With the uneven footing, be careful as you move long through the semi-darkness. You won’t need a flashlight, but you do need to be careful. We used our phone flashlights to make sure we didn’t trip, and there were a few slips once we were in the dark area.
Eventually, the tunnel turns slightly left and then opens up to a narrow wash. That’s where we stopped and turned around. Apparently, you can follow the wash for another few miles and get to a slot canyon, but we didn’t venture that far.
Leave No Trace
One thing that is really frustrating for us is the amount of permanent graffiti in this part of southern Utah. Each year, more and more people seem to think it is acceptable to scratch their messages into Utah’s soft sandstone. It is absolutely not appropriate to leave your mark, so that future generations can see how careless and stupid you were. Always remember to leave no trace of your visit.
If you make it down to see the Belly of the Dragon, make sure to check out all of the other things we like to do near Kanab. We have a big list on this post.