The Kanab Sand Caves, also known sometimes as the Moqui Caverns, are an old sand mine that is easily visited along US-89 north of Kanab. Yes, you read that correctly, this area was used as a sand mine, procuring the desert sand for use in glass making. Though it would have made a wonderful home for early Utahns such as the Moqui, it served no such purpose. The Moqui Caverns or Kanab Sand Caves are definitely worth the quick stop to see this unique feature in Utah.
The Kanab Sand Caves are visible from the road. You can also see the steep slick rock that you must ascend in order to arrive at the caves. On most days, dozens of people are climbing up the hillside. Though it is slick, the caves are accessible to most people. Those who have difficulty with mobility would be unable to visit the caves, but we saw toddlers climbing with their parents. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction since the sand on the slick rocks makes things very slippery.
There is a new parking area just past the Kanab Sand Caves. There is also a sign to help you find parking. The parking area is south of the caves, so you will follow the trail back to passed the caves, and then climb up the slick rock. It is much safer than the other parking area where you had to cross the busy road.
There are several routes up the slickrock, with the easiest being the least direct approach. The hill gets increasingly steep from left to right as you face it, and the caves are on the extreme right. Find a route that is suitable for your group and hike up to the elevation of the cave. Then turn right and walk along the top of the slick rock.
The cavern is really quite spacious. There are several adjoining rooms, and amazing windows that look out over the canyon below. Just make sure to watch the little ones as it is a straight drop out of each window. The cooler temperature of the caves would feel very nice on a hot summer day.
We spent around 45 minutes at the Kanab Sand Caves. Most of that time was spent carefully climbing up and down the slick rock. But we also walked around the caves for a while, snapping pictures and enjoying the view. There is even one deep part of the cave where it is too dark to see. You won’t need a flashlight for the Kanab Sand Caves, but we did use our phone flashlight to walk to the very back. Our younger boys loved digging in the soft sand.
Please leave this place undisturbed. Utah is being loved to death by those who adventure. Just look, but don’t scratch, etch, or paint on this unique formation. We were saddened to see so many names carved into the soft sandstone.
There is a lot to do in the Kanab area. Check out our list of Things to do near Kanab for other ideas.
If you are coming from Kanab, the Moqui Caverns are located 5.7 miles north of Kanab on Highway 89. Parking is just before you reach the Kanab Sand Caves. The parking lot is on the east (right) side of the road coming from the Kanab direction.
If you are coming from the north, the Kanab Sand Caves parking lot is about 11.5 miles south of the Mount Carmel Junction. The parking area will be on the left and the Kanab Sand Caves on your left. We used Google Maps to help us find the spot. The Kanab Sand Caves (Moqui Caverns) are the location on this map, so parking is just beyond where the maps will take you.
There is a clear trail that heads through the brush and over to the slick rock.