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Kanab, Utah

Coordinates: 37°2′8″N 112°31′52″W / 37.03556°N 112.53111°W / 37.03556; -112.53111
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Kanab, Utah
U.S. Route 89 through Kanab, March 2013
U.S. Route 89 through Kanab, March 2013
Utah's Little Hollywood
Location in Kane County and the state of Utah
Location in Kane County and the state of Utah
Location of Utah in the United States
Location of Utah in the United States
Coordinates: 37°2′8″N 112°31′52″W / 37.03556°N 112.53111°W / 37.03556; -112.53111
CountryUnited States
Founded byJacob Hamblin
Named forSouthern Paiute for 'willow'[1]
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • MayorColten Johnson
 • Total14.47 sq mi (37.48 km2)
 • Land14.44 sq mi (37.39 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
4,970 ft (1,515 m)
 • Total4,683
 • Density320/sq mi (120/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code435
FIPS code49-39920[4]
GNIS feature ID1429276[5]

Kanab (/kəˈnæb/ kə-NAB) is a city in and the county seat of Kane County, Utah, United States.[6] It is located on Kanab Creek just north of the Arizona state line.


The area where Kanab is located was first settled in 1864, and the town was founded in 1870 when 10 Mormon families moved into the area.[7] Named for a Paiute word meaning "place of the willows," Fort Kanab was built on the east bank of Kanab Creek in 1864 for offensive operations against the original inhabitants of the area and as a base for the exploration of the area.[8] The population was 4,683 at the 2020 census.[3]

Kanab is situated in the "Grand Circle" area, centrally located among Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, the Grand Canyon (North Rim), Zion National Park, Pipe Spring National Monument, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and Lake Powell. Other nearby attractions include Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, the privately owned Moqui Cave, and the largest animal sanctuary in the United States, Best Friends Animal Society.

The historic Parry Lodge in Kanab, February 2009

Referring to Kanab's proximity to the many spectacular rock formations, a welcome sign to the town calls it "The Greatest Earth on Show."[9]

Locals refer to Kanab as "Little Hollywood" due to its history as a filming location for many movies and television series, prominently western, such as Stagecoach (1939), The Lone Ranger, Death Valley Days. Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone, El Dorado (1966), Planet of the Apes (1968), Mackenna's Gold, Sergeants 3, WindRunner: A Spirited Journey, Western Union (1941), The Desperadoes (1943), In Old Oklahoma (1943), Buffalo Bill (1944), Westward the Women (1952), The Yellow Tomahawk (1954), Tomahawk Trail (1957), Fort Bowie (1958), Sergeants Three (1962), Duel at Diablo (1966), Ride in the Whirlwind (1965), The Shooting (1966), and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).[10][11]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 4,312 people, 1,729 households, and 1,130 families residing in the townships. The population density was 308 people per square mile (98.2/km2). There were 1,999 housing units at an average density of 141.8 per square mile (41.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.2% White, 0.3% African American, 1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, and 0.8% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.2% of the population.

There were 1,729 households, out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, a decrease of 6.4% compared to the 2000 census. 65.4% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families, an increase of 7.9% over the 2000 census. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.08.

The median income for a household in the town was $42,286, and the median income for a family was $48,008. Males had a median income of $30,018 versus $22,205 for females. About 4.0% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

Geography and climate[edit]

Kanab is located on the western Colorado Plateau. U.S. Routes 89 and 89A meet in the center of town. US 89 leads north 21 miles (34 km) to Orderville and southeast 74 miles (119 km) to Page, Arizona, while US 89A leads south 7 miles (11 km) to Fredonia, Arizona.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.9 km2), of which 0.03 square miles (0.09 km2), or 0.24%, are water. The city's downtown sits on flat ground to the east of Kanab Creek, which flows south to meet the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

Kanab has a borderline semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), more typical of exposed regions around Arizona's Mogollon Rim. The town is rather wetter, especially during the winter months, and hotter than the typical Mountain West cool semi-arid climate. The dry spring season from April to June is warm to hot during the day and very clear but the hot sun and thin air typical of Utah mean that nights remain cool and frosts can occur even in May. In the summer, monsoon thunderstorms break up the dry weather between July and October. The winters are mild during the day and cold at night, but get more snow than most places in southern Utah. Snowfall varies a considerably from year to year, with some receiving almost none to 74.5 inches (189 cm) inches falling in 2001. On average, there will be 70.9 days that reach 90 °F (32 °C) and 7.6 that reach 100 °F (38 °C). Although Kanab is in hardiness zone of 7A with an average yearly low of just under 5 °F (−15 °C), only 1.5 days fail to reach freezing on average.

Climate data for Kanab, Utah 1991–2020, extremes 1899-
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 49.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 24.8
Record low °F (°C) −20
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.71
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 6.1 6.8 5.8 5.1 4.0 2.2 5.5 6.9 4.7 4.3 3.6 5.5 60.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 2.0 2.0 1.0 0.7 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 1.6 2.3 9.7
Source 1: NCEI[13]
Source 2: Nowdata[14]


Kanab is served by the Kanab Municipal Airport, a general aviation facility. U.S. Route 89 (US 89) passes through the city and U.S. Route 89A within Utah is entirely within the city limits and has its northern terminus at US 89.

Jackson Flat Reservoir[edit]

The Jackson Flat Reservoir,
March 2017

In 2010, construction began on the Jackson Flat Reservoir under the direction of the Kane County Water Conservancy District. The reservoir had been in various stages of planning for 19 years. Completion of the reservoir took two years of construction, and one year of filling.[15] The dam structure is composed of 800,000 yards of clay, dirt, and rock. The project was supervised by four engineering firms including the Utah State Engineer of Dam Safety, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The 4,228 acre-feet reservoir is an off-stream site fed by a 24-inch pipe capable of transferring 23 acre-feet of water per day. The average depth of the reservoir is 28 feet (8.5 m), with a conservation pool that will sustain a 400 acre-foot pool of water. In April 2015, the reservoir reached 3,000 acre-feet of water. Water volumes vary throughout the year as reserves are tapped during summer months to supplement local irrigation needs, and are then refilled during the winter season based on annual rainfall. The reservoir is located directly south of Kanab, east of the municipal airport, and is visible from Highway 89A.

During planning and construction, crews discovered ten sites of prehistoric Anasazi ruins, including human remains. Sites which would be below the water line were fully excavated and remains turned over to the local Paiute tribe for proper care and burial ceremonies. Sites above the projected water line remain un-excavated.[16]

The Jackson Flat Reservoir has been stocked with trout, catfish, and bluegill fish varieties. The site supports non-motorized boating, fishing, swimming, concerts, and stargazing.


Natural Family Resolution[edit]

On January 10, 2006, then-mayor Kim Lawson and the city council unanimously passed Resolution 1-1-06R, titled "The Natural Family: A Vision for the City of Kanab":[17][18]

On the fifth anniversary of the Sutherland Institute it was said that 'words matter'. They have to be followed by deeds, and you have to be prepared to communicate them clearly, vividly, simply, and with repetition that is unending. Today there are large waves coming towards us in all directions, the most serious is the denigration of the natural family as the fundamental unit of society. It has been determined that the natural family results in healthier, happier, more productive, and more civically-engaged adults as well as healthier, happier, safer, and better educated children. We envision a local culture that upholds the marriage of a woman to a man, and a man to a woman, as ordained of God. This culture affirms marriage as the best path to health, security, fulfillment, and joy. It casts the home built on marriage as the source of true political sovereignty and ordered liberty. We envision parents as the first educators of their children.[18]

The nonbinding resolution was formulated by the Sutherland Institute, a conservative advocacy group in Salt Lake City.[17] The symbolic resolution created controversy within the city.[19][20] Hundreds of tourists canceled trips to Kanab after learning about the resolution.[21][22][23]

In Arthur Frommer's monthly travel column, Frommer called the city "homophobic" and urged readers to boycott the city.[24]

A local civic group, the Kanab Boosters, published an open letter to ask Frommer to reconsider his boycott, making it clear that "only a small number of people agree with our city council regarding the Natural Family Proclamation."[25] The Boosters also designed and provided stickers for citizens and resident business owners opposed to the resolution.[26] The stickers featured a string of rainbow-colored human figures underneath the red rocks of Kanab and the words "Everyone welcome here".[26]

In response to the criticism of the resolution, the Sutherland Institute clarified, saying that the resolution said that children are reared properly when a mother is home a significant amount of time and that a gay relationship is not a natural family.[27]

Bikini ban[edit]

In June 2008, Kanab's city council voted to prohibit the wearing of bikinis and men's swim briefs at the city's new swimming pool.[28] The ban was rescinded within a month.[29]

Search for Montezuma's treasure[edit]

In 1914 Freddy Crystal arrived in Kanab saying that, while researching in Mexico, he had discovered that the great treasure of Montezuma, spirited away by the king's men before he died, was to be found in the mountains around the town. Many searches and digs by Crystal and those who followed him ended when a plan to drain a lake, in the belief that the treasure resided in an under-water cave, was stopped by the government, because it was one of the few refuges of the Kanab ambersnail.[30]

Kanab ambersnail[edit]

Three Lakes, a privately owned wet meadow near Kanab, is one of only two natural habitats for the Kanab ambersnail, a snail species that was listed as endangered in 1992 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and as a species of conservation priority for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Notable people[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gannett, Henry. The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Government Printing Office. 1905. ASIN B003T9UQDA. p. 172.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Kanab city, Utah". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey|. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Find a County Archived 2011-05-31 at the Wayback Machine". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "About Kanab". Kanab, Utah. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  8. ^ "About Kanab | Kanab, UT". kanab.utah.gov. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  9. ^ D, Carol (December 2, 2021). "Kanab – "The Greatest Earth on Show"". Just Passing Through. Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  10. ^ Maddrey, Joseph (2016). The Quick, the Dead and the Revived: The Many Lives of the Western Film. McFarland. Page 178. ISBN 9781476625492.
  11. ^ "Kanab, Utah - This is the West". Office of Tourism and Film Commission. Kane County, Utah. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing ". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/services/data/v1?dataset=normals-monthly-1991-2020&startDate=0001-01-01&endDate=9996-12-31&stations=USC00424508&format=pdf [bare URL PDF]
  14. ^ "National Weather Service - NWS Salt Lake City".
  15. ^ "Kanab City & Irrigation". Kane County Water Conservancy District.
  16. ^ Jackson Flat Reservoir (Utah)". The Archaeological Conservancy. June 12, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Havnes, Mark. "Kanab endorses 'natural' families - City Council resolution: Opponents call the declaration outmoded and discriminatory: Kanab votes for family declaration". The Salt Lake Tribune. January 18, 2006.
  18. ^ a b "Kanab, Utah City Council Meeting: Meeting Minutes". Kanab City Council. City of Kanab, Utah. January 10, 2006. Archived from the original on March 23, 2009.
  19. ^ Havnes, Mark. "'Natural family' stand stirs Kanab". The Salt Lake Tribune. January 20, 2006.
  20. ^ Havnes, Mark. "Kanab 's 'natural family' decree spawns tourism backlash: Tourists steer clear of Kanab". The Salt Lake Tribune. February 5, 2006.
  21. ^ Emerson, Judy. "City in Utah worries about issue's effect on tourism". Rockford Register Star (Rockford, Illinois). February 19, 2006.
  22. ^ Dobner, Jennifer. "'Natural family' resolution greeted with boycott". Associated Press. Houston Chronicle. March 24, 2006.
  23. ^ Havnes, Mark. "Kanab businesses burned by boycott". The Salt Lake Tribune. April 1, 2006.
  24. ^ "Welcome to Our Town. Or, Maybe Not". The New York Times. April 30, 2006.
  25. ^ "Letter from Kanab Boosters to travel writer Arthur Frommer". The Salt Lake Tribune. March 30, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Havnes, Mark. "Kanab businesses open arms to all with new sticker". The Salt Lake Tribune. March 25, 2006.
  27. ^ Smart, Christopher; Eddington, Mark. "'Natural family' resolution reworked". The Salt Lake Tribune. April 5, 2006.
  28. ^ "Utah city to repeal poolside bikini ban". Daily Herald (Everett, Washington). June 13, 2008.
  29. ^ Robinson, Doug. "Bikini ban fun while it lasted". Deseret News. July 1, 2008. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  30. ^ Massey, Peter; Wilson, Jeanne. Backcountry Adventures Utah: The Ultimate Guide to the Utah Backcountry for Anyone with a Sport Utility Vehicle. Adler Publishing. 2006. ASIN B014N7UYGU. p. 259.

Further reading[edit]

  • (1994) "Kanab" article in the Utah History Encyclopedia. The article was written by Martha Sonntag Bradley and the Encyclopedia was published by the University of Utah Press. ISBN 9780874804256. Archived from the original on March 21, 2024 and retrieved on May 20, 2024.

External links[edit]