Get rocking in Kanab country
Deep within the serpentine chasm of Wire Pass, the sandstone walls narrow to a passage just 2 feet wide. The curving rock is luminous, glowing in shades of red as the labyrinth winds for a half-mile before opening to an amphitheater-like expanse beneath towering cliffs.
Kanab is 83 miles east of St. George, Utah, on U.S. 89. For information, contact the Kane County Office of Tourism (800/733-5263). Check on hiking and road conditions before heading out; in March, flash floods are still possible.
WHAT TO DO
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Allows off-highway vehicle use, but with protected areas for hiking. On Sand Dunes Rd., off U.S. 89 north of Kanab; $5; www. stateparks.utah.gov; 435/648-2800.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Drop by the visitor center for more info. 745 E. U.S. 89, Kanab; 435/644-4680.
Maynard Dixon Home and Studio and Bingham Gallery Tours, self-guided ($10) and docent-led ($20), are available Mar-Nov or by appointment. The gallery features works by Dixon and leading Western artists. Call for hours; on U.S. 89 in Mt. Carmel; www.maynarddixon.com; 435/648-2653.
The Toadstools Bizarre formations on a 1.5-mile round-trip. In Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument; trailhead 1½ miles east of Paria Information Station on north side of U.S. 89, 45 miles east of Kanab; 435/644-4680.
Willow Canyon Outdoor Knowledgeable staff, great coffee, and assortment of gear and books. 263 South 100 East; 435/644-8884.
Wire Pass and the Wave Both begin 8 miles down graded-gravel House Rock Rd., 39 miles east of Kanab off U.S. 89. Both lie within Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, but Wire Pass is in Utah and the Wave, in Arizona. Wire Pass ($5) has scrambles down falls that may be tricky, but you can glimpse the slot canyon prior to these obstacles. Permit ($5) required for the 6-mile round-trip to the Wave; limited number available; 435/ 644-4600 for more info.
WHERE TO EAT
Amici’s Italian entrées and good cannoli. $$; dinner Tue-Sun; 36 North 300 West, Kanab; 435/644-8424.
The Rocking V Cafe and the Rafters Gallery Southwest fare, pastas, and vegetarian dishes. $$$; open Mar 21 for lunch and dinner Wed-Sun, open daily starting late Apr; 97 W. Center St., Kanab; 435/644-8001.
WHERE TO STAY
Clarion Hotel Victorian Charm Inn Themed rooms with spa tubs and fireplaces. From $79; www.victoriancharminn.com; 800/738-9643.
Parry Lodge This is where stars such as Ronald Reagan slept when they filmed in Kanab. From $40; www.parrylodge.com; 800/748-4104.