White Pocket - Stars - stargazing at white pocket

Kanab Stargazing: A World of Pure Imagination

Get ready for daytime and nighttime visuals in southern Utah.

By Karli Davis
April 02, 2024

This article is sponsored by Kane County

Alright, Grandpa Joe, it’s time to abandon your bed rot. We’ve got a golden ticket for a chance to win a lifetime supply of supernova memories. A ticket to the land of imagination. A land where rocks look like sherbet and dark skies look like sprinkles. It’s no chocolate factory, but a stargazer factory created by Mother Nature and Father Time? Pretty neat. Well, what are you waiting for, Charlie? Step into the world of Kanab. 

We Kane’t Think of a Better Universe 

Kanab is in Kane County, a place filled with red dirt and dark skies. It’s isolated. It’s wild. It’s magical. It changes you for the better. You can stay in a hotel, vacation rental, campground or glampsite. There are even more reasons you should stay in Kanab to make it the center of your stargazing trip.   

  • Hours away from big cities with a high(ish) altitude, light pollution just ain’t a thing in Kanab and locals plan to keep it that way
  • Unique geological formations everywhere — hoodoos, slot canyons, arches and dunes meander beneath expansive skies 
  • Guided tours for other adventures like horseback riding, ATV tours and canyoneering
  • Tons of dark sky access within two hours of Kanab making it one of the best places to stargaze in Utah

So much time and so little to do! Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. The first adventure is getting eyes on those 200 billion trillions of stars that have been around almost as long as the everlasting gobstopper. But we know there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction you are going, so let us get Sirius and point to areas both on and off Utah’s dark sky map. 

Dark Skies for Remote Stargazers

When staying in Kanab, you’ll have access to dark skies every which way you go. In town you can book stargazing tours and even some that come with s’mores! Sounds amazing because candy is dandy, innit?

Kane County ain’t got a lot of people, so urban sprawl is more like a cosmic crawl. You’ll see more BLM land and remote public areas than we can write about, which makes it easy to find a stargazing spot simply by driving down one of the nearby dirt roads. 

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park 

Who can take a sand dune, sprinkle it with dew, cover it with adventure and a miracle or two? The Sandy Man can ‘cause he mixes it with love and makes the stars look gooooood. (We tried.) Head to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes for a unique place to adventure and view dark skies. 

Spend the day in the park then enjoy the dark sky from a viewing area or campground. Drive a dune buggy and sandboard on pink candy … er, sandy hills. You might even run into magical creatures like vermicious knids and bigfoot, aka the Sandy Man. 

Zion National Park

What’s better than hikes through canyons that look like the halls of a chocolate orange palace? Being a stargazer inside said palace. East Zion has some of the best hiking in the world in a remote backcountry that, as an International Dark Sky Park, makes some of the best dark skies in the world. 

In the daytime you can enjoy slot canyons, hanging gardens and secret chocolate waterfalls. Just don’t fall in. “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last!” Come nighttime, stargaze along the Mount Carmel Scenic Byway at the Checkerboard Mesa Pull-off or stay overnight in a designated campground.

Kodachrome Basin State Park 

A little bit of nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men and women, so head to Kodachrome Basin State Park to walk amongst giant lollipops. Actually, they’re giant monolithic stone spires, and not eatable. You’ll also encounter peculiar flora and fauna like the chukar partridge and (also not edible) locoweed. 

The perfect complement to weird earthly views is stargazing under a dark sky. Camp at one of the three Kodachrome Basin campgrounds where you’ll really get to appreciate the heavenly views above the rock formations. 

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 

Put on your Wonkavision goggles when looking at the technicolor cliffs in Grand Staircase-Escalante, but be sure to take the goggles off at night. The wilderness here is so remote it was the last place in the country to be mapped, making its dark skies perfect for stargazing. 

Take a day trip to nearby Lake Powell then set up a stargazing spot on Lone Rock Beach. Or drive through the monument on pretty much any remote road and you’ll find billions of trillions of stargazing spots. Head east to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument, a designated Dark Sky Sanctuary.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon 

Kane County is a portal to Grand Canyon National Park, but you’ll have to travel by car instead of Wonkavator. The extra driving time is worth it to see the expansive canyon mirroring the expansive dark sky above. It really is quite a treat. Milky Way, anyone?

Now that you’ve been told the best places to stargaze in Utah, you know what to do. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it when you visit Kane County