Kanab Creek Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Designated by Congress in 1984, the Kanab Creek Wilderness includes more than 68,000 acres (106.25 square miles) in Arizona and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. Kanab Creek is one of the Colorado River's major branches, and the creek and the streams that feed it have created a system of gorges with straight up and down walls that are located far down into the Kanab and Kaibab Plateaus. Within the walls created by wind and water, you will see fins, knobs, and potholes, along with riparian vegetation.

Elevations of the Kanab Creek Wilderness vary; the elevation at the river is around 2,000 feet (610 meters) while at the rim, the elevation is around 6,000 feet (1829 meters). At the rim, there is minimal vegetation; you will mainly encounter black bush, a desert shrub, and sagebrush. While snow often is seen in the winter in the area, summer temperatures can reach 120 degrees. Water sources are not consistently found, making it important that visitors bring their own with them to ensure they remain hydrated. Based on evidence from the area, it is believed that prehistoric people resided in the area until about AD 1100.

The remote location of the Kanab Creek Wilderness makes it a challenge to get to, however, you will enjoy a true wilderness experience during your visit. A trip to the Kanab Creek Wilderness will offer plenty of opportunities to explore unique landscapes while you learn about the area’s history.

RV Rentals in Kanab Creek Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

From the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, head northwest on AZ-67 N toward Bridle Path for 42.1 miles (67.8 km). This road, which is two lanes and paved, is not open during winter months. Near Jacob Lake, you will head west on Forest Service Rd. 461, which is a hard-packed gravel road. Once on Forest Service Rd. 461, you will continue for 30.7 miles (49.4 km) until you reach the Kanab Creek Wilderness Area.

Parking

Parking is available at within the Kanab Creek Wilderness.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is not available to Kanab Creek Wilderness.

Campgrounds and parking in Kanab Creek Wilderness

Campsites in Kanab Creek Wilderness

Reservations camping

Jacob Lake Recreation Area Campground

Located in Jacob Lake, Arizona is Jacob Lake Recreation Area Campground, which includes 51 individual campsites as well as two group sites that can accommodate up to 100 individuals each.

Set amongst Ponderosa Pine trees of the North Kaibab National Forest, the campground is in a perfect location for accessing the recreation opportunities in the surrounding area. Each site includes a fire ring and a picnic table and pit toilets are available at the campground. While hook-ups are not available, RVs and trailers of up to 40 feet can be accommodated and a country store, as well as a gas station,
can be found across from the campground.

DeMotte Campground

Just seven miles north of the entrance to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, DeMotte Campground offers 38 single campsites that can accommodate tents, RV’s and trailers.

While there are no hook-ups available, there is drinking water for campers as well as pit toilets. Each site has a picnic table, fire pit and grill and RV’s and trailers of up to 40 feet can be accommodated.

Half of the sites at DeMotte Campground can be reserved, while the other half of the sites are first-come, first-served.

First-come first-served

Ponderosa Grove Campground

Ponderosa Grove Campground, which is conveniently located among a number of recreation opportunities, is small, quiet and primitive. With nine campsites, the campground is open year-round and includes vault toilets, fire rings, grills, and picnic tables.

RVs and trailers of up to 24 feet in length can be accommodated. The campground does not have hook-ups and does not take reservations.

With Ponderosa Grove Campground as your home base, you can enjoy hiking and exploring the Kanab Creek Wilderness, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes and the Moquith Mountain Wilderness Study Area among other outdoor opportunities.

Seasonal activities in Kanab Creek Wilderness

In-Season

Hiking

Multiple trails offer access to the Kanab Creek Wilderness. Visitors typically choose trailheads that begin on the east side of the Wilderness, as road access is better than on the west. Note that the trail systems receive minimal maintenance, and conditions vary, meaning that hiking can be a challenge.
The Kanab Creek Wilderness area includes 91.2 miles (147 km) of trail (including wash bottoms that connect trail segments), so there is plenty to explore. As summer temperatures can get as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, hiking is best in the spring and fall. Be sure to bring plenty of water to drink as Kanab Creek does not flow year-round.

Visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

While visiting the Kanab Creek Wilderness, you are just a few hours away from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. As only 10% of Grand Canyon Visitors visit the North Rim, you will avoid the crowds and enjoy a unique experience.

At the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, you can enjoy a hike, have a picnic or take a scenic drive. You can visit Point Imperial at 8,803 feet, from which you can view the Painted Desert, as well as Cape Royal, where you can take in a panoramic view of the canyon.

Check Out Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

A few hours from the Kanab Creek Wilderness is the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, where the scenery shifts regularly as a result of the wind. During your visit, you can walk on mountains and hills of coral-colored sand. The bright colors of the sand are in significant contrast to the blue sky, resulting in excellent views and the opportunity for beautiful pictures.
Bring a sled and take a ride down one of the dunes if you like; there are also areas for those with off-highway vehicles.

View Native American Rock Paintings

During your visit to the Kanab Creek Wilderness, keep your eyes peeled for Native American rock art. The rock art is evidence that prehistoric peoples resided in the area until around AD1100.

Hiking in the area offers visitors the opportunity to view what is considered to be some of the most spectacular rock art in the Southwest. The art is an excellent reminder of those who made their homes in the area many centuries ago and provides a fascinating insight into the culture of these ancient people.

Off-Season

Check Out Pipe Spring National Monument

About a ninety-minute drive from the Kanab Creek Wilderness is the Pipe Spring National Monument, located in Fredonia. The Monument is packed with the history of American Indians, early explorers and that of the Mormon pioneers.

Run by the National Park Service, the Monument can be found on the National Register of Historic Places. During your visit, you can enjoy summer “living history” demonstrations, an orchard, garden, and a short trail. There is also a small campground next to the Monument that is run by the Paiute tribe.

Stop at Le Fevre Overlook

Drive along Highway 89 Alt to the Le Fevre Overlook, which is an elevated observation point from which you can view all of the steps of the Grand Staircase. Le Fevre Overlook is located about 15 miles (24.1 km) southeast of Fredonia, on the east side of US Highway 89A.


Upon parking your car, there are a few flights of stairs to climb that will take you to the overlook. From there, you can enjoy unbelievable views; the viewpoint overlooks the Kaibab Plateau and Vermillion Cliffs.

Find the perfect campsite.