KANARRA CREEK, Iron County — If you want to experience a beautiful slot canyon with the family, Kanarra Creek is slow-moving and not too difficult to access.
Hikers of Kanarra Falls Trail can expect to encounter multiple waterfalls, including two that are 8 feet or taller, and breathtaking sandstone colors throughout the slot canyon.
While it’s not something for small children or those new to hiking, the trail is appropriate for kids with some hiking experience. Hikers should know how to navigate tripping hazards like tree roots and narrow trails, be comfortable hiking in water, and wear appropriate footwear. Because it is a slot canyon, hikers should check the weather and avoid days that threaten precipitation. For hikers who are uncomfortable on potentially slippery rocks, a walking stick may be helpful. And, if attempting the hike during cooler months, wetsuits are advisable.
The hike is ideal for a hot day because much of it can be done in the water. Most of the river is about ankle-deep and slow-moving, so even children can join in without fear of being overpowered by rapids or currents. The trail is popular with locals, and hikers should expect to share the trail with other hikers, including children.
The first half mile or so of the hike is along an exposed and dry road, but once hikers enter the canyon the trail is shaded and cool. The sunshine that does peek through lights up the sandstone to the color of fire. Take your time as you hike through the slot canyon and enjoy the picturesque scenery.
After hikers have climbed the first of two large waterfalls and through the shallow creek for awhile, the trail opens up to dry land and a natural slide where the water has cut away and smoothed the rock. This is a good place to take a break, cool off and eat a snack.
Following the second large waterfall, the trail turns into wilderness. Hikers with backcountry experience may continue, though this marks the end of the trail for most. Turn around here to return.
There are a couple tricky parts to the trail. The first is a washed-out area where only a pipe is left, though hikers can opt to get in the water and avoid the portion of the trail.
The second comes later in the hike once hikers have reached the first of the large waterfalls. To continue on with the hike and over the approximately 10-foot-tall fall, hikers must climb a log with ladder rungs attached.
The last large fall is perhaps the most tricky and families or inexperienced hikers may consider ending here. Hikers must cross a jerry-rigged ladder and log bridge to the top of the waterfall. Climbing ropes hang against the sandstone for stability, but hikers should check the sturdiness of the ladder and slickness of the log before traversing the contraption.
To access the trail, get off I-15 on the Kanarraville/New Harmony exit 42 and head toward Kanarraville. Parking near the trailhead is well-marked with signs throughout the city, but if in doubt, turn east on 100 North until you reach a parking lot on the north side of the street marked parking for Kanarra Falls. Parking is $10. Visitors can opt to find parking elsewhere, but should pay close attention to signage. From the main parking lot a set of stairs leads hikers up to 250 North, and that leads to the mouth of the canyon.