Kanarra Creek and Cedar Breaks, August 2011

Posted by on Aug 23, 2011

This is going to the be first of two trip reports from a 3 day weekend to the Zion area that I took with Audra over the weekend. We left Salt Lake Friday afternoon with just enough time to make it to Cedar Breaks National Monument for sunset. The clouds were looking awesome for a great sunset on the drive down but there were less and less the further we drove. By the time we made it Cedar Breaks there were just a few left around with a ton of haze in the air, there must’ve been a good fire somewhere nearby.

We made a quick stop at several of the overlooks hoping for some great light. This was at the Sunset Overlook near the center of Cedar Breaks.

And another from the south view point.
Cedar Breaks

The sun setting through all the haze. Not a lot of light was getting through this.

Audra and I as the sun fades.

After the sunset we drove down the other side of Cedar Breaks into Cedar City where we had a hotel booked for the night. I love camping but for this trip we decided to go with hotels. Audra was on a short break between semesters and I wanted her to have the most comfortable trip possible.

The next morning we woke up early and made out way to Kanarraville to hike Kanarra Creek. It was a Saturday so I wanted to get there before the crowds. We arrived just before 9am to 3 other cars in the parking lot. Not too shabby.

Here’s a rough map of the location and route. Tanya has a nice printable topo over at ZionNational-Park.com if you want something to take with you.

View Kanarra Creek Map in a larger window

An important thing to remember if you’re going to hike Kanarra Creek; the city is now charging $10 per car to park at the trailhead and they will boot you if you try to park in town nearby. Seems like a fair price to pay for them to put up with a bunch of people sloshing around in their water supply every weekend.

Much of the canyon was still in the shade as we made our way up. It made for some chilly river crossings early on.

Eventually the canyon constricts into a nice slot.

Just around the corner from the first big waterfall.

Audra in Kanarra

Kanarra Creek

The Log

That log was kind of scary to climb up, in my opinion. Slippery wet and a nice fall if you mess up. Crazy how many people go up and down it with no problems. We even saw a guy carry his infant (maybe 6 months old) to the top of it. Yikes. Here’s Audra on top.

Looking down from the top of the waterfall.
Looking down

A nice waterfall just above the first big one.

Followed by one after another it seemed.
One after another...

And then the canyon gets narrow again.

Shortly followed by the next big waterfall. We watched one group climb up this, it looked a bit tricky and they got really wet. I didn’t want to bag up all my camera gear so we decided this would be our turning point.
End of the road

On the way up we only came across a few people in the canyon but on the way back down it was mayhem. Tons of people, one group after another. Crazy how busy that place gets on a Saturday. And also pretty crazy how disrespectful some folks are. I witnessed someones kid scraping their name onto the canyon wall and another group bringing a dog. I love dogs of course but it’s the water supply for Kanarraville you’re hiking in so it seems like obeying the big sign that says NO DOGS would be appropriate. Oh and let’s not discuss the tampons and toilet paper we found along the trail. Nasty. Please be respectful of this place, people! If it keeps getting abuse like that, it’s only a matter of time before they close it off. And another odd thing, I’ve never had so many people ask about why I was using trekking poles. Everything from “ya spear fishing or something’?” to “getting ready for winter?”. What the hell?

There were upwards of 30 cars in the lot by the time we made it back to the trailhead a little after noon. So glad we got an early start. From there we headed over to the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center to pickup our Subway permit for the next day and then we were off to The Desert Rat in St. George to purchase some rope and supplies! The rest of our trip including our hike down The Zion Subway will be in my next trip report to be posted later this week.

View the full set of photos on Flickr.

See more of my trip reports to the Zion Area.

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  1. avatar
    August 23, 2011

    Nice, Nick! This has just jumped a few notches on my to-do list, though I’ll look to do it on a weekday morning; ix-nay on the owds-cray. Thanks for sharing, and I’m looking forward to your Subway TR – I’ll be in there in a little under 3 weeks!

    • avatar
      August 24, 2011

      Thanks, Kev! Glad to hear you’ll be back in my neck of the woods!

  2. avatar
    August 23, 2011

    Great trip report Nick. Looking forward to the sequel. This is definitely a place I’ll have to investigate, but maybe on a weekday. Hope you grabbed that kid that was defiling the canyon walls by the neck and gave him a good ol’ fashioned swirlie. Unreal.

    • avatar
      August 24, 2011

      No swirlie unfortunately. The wall scratching ended as we approached and I didn’t feel like getting into it with them. Crazy how much scratched in graffiti there is in that canyon.


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