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Kanab, Utah
U.S. Route 89 through Kanab
U.S. Route 89 through Kanab
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
Country United States
State Utah
County Kane
Settled 1870
Incorporated 1935
Founded by Jacob Hamblin
Named for Southern Paiute for 'willow'
 • Type Council-manager
 • Total 14.47 sq mi (37.48 km2)
 • Land 14.44 sq mi (37.39 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
4,970 ft (1,515 m)
 • Total 4,312
 • Estimate 
 • Density 341.58/sq mi (131.89/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 435
FIPS code 49-39920
GNIS feature ID 1429276

Kanab ( -nab) is a city in and the county seat of Kane County, Utah, United States. It is located on Kanab Creek just north of the Arizona state line. This area was first settled in 1864, and the town was founded in 1870 when ten Latter-day Saint families moved into the area. Named for a Paiute word meaning "place of the willows," Fort Kanab was built on the east bank of Kanab Creek in 1864 for defense against the Indians and as a base for the exploration of the area. The population was 4,312 at the 2010 census and an estimated 4,798 in 2018.

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.

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), 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).

Geography and climate

Kanab is located on the western Colorado Plateau.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.1 square miles (36.4 km²), of which, 14.0 square miles (36.3 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.28%) is water.

Kanab has a borderline Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa), more typical of exposed regions around Arizona’s Mogollon Rim. The city 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 cool during the day and very cold at night, though a large proportion of the precipitation is still rain rather than snow, which rarely accumulated beyond 1 inch (2.5 cm) and has a median total fall of only 14.8 inches (0.38 m), or three-tenths that of Salt Lake City. As noted above, overall winter precipitation is slightly in excess of that required to qualify as a subhumid rather than semi-arid climate.

Climate data for Kanab, Utah (1971 to 2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 47.3
Average low °F (°C) 21.9
Record low °F (°C) −11
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.86
Snowfall inches (cm) 9.3
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 6.6 6.7 8.1 5.3 5.0 2.8 6.0 7.7 5.9 5.2 4.5 5.1 68.9
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 3.2 2.1 1.7 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 1.0 1.9 11.1
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 409
1900 710 73.6%
1910 733 3.2%
1920 1,102 50.3%
1930 1,195 8.4%
1940 1,397 16.9%
1950 1,287 −7.9%
1960 1,645 27.8%
1970 1,381 −16.0%
1980 2,148 55.5%
1990 3,289 53.1%
2000 3,564 8.4%
2010 4,312 21.0%
2019 (est.) 4,931 14.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census 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.

Jackson Flat Reservoir
The Jackson Flat Reservoir
Kanab, Utah Post Office
Kanab Post Office

Jackson Flat Reservoir

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 2 years of construction, and one year of filling. 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 with a conservation pool that will sustain a 400 acre-foot pool of water. In April 2015, the reservoir reached 3000 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 10 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.

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

Natural Family Resolution

On January 10, 2006, the mayor at that time Kim Lawson and the city council passed Resolution 1-1-06R, titled The Natural Family: A Vision for the City of Kanab, codifying the definition of a "natural family":

"We envision a local culture that upholds the marriage of a man to a woman, and a woman to a man, as ordained of God... We see our homes as open to a full quiver of children, the source of family continuity and social growth. We envision young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers; and we see young men growing into husbands, home-builders, and fathers."

The nonbinding resolution was formulated by a conservative advocacy group from Salt Lake City. Though symbolic, it created controversy within the town, and prompted Arthur Frommer to refer to the community as homophobic, and urge it be boycotted by tourists.

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." The Boosters also designed and provided stickers for citizens and resident business owners opposed to the resolution. The stickers featured a string of rainbow-colored human figures underneath the red rocks of Kanab and the phrase, "Everyone welcome here."

Search for Montezuma's treasure

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.

Kanab Ambersnail

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


Kanab is served by the Kanab Municipal Airport, a general aviation facility.

Notable people

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