Kanab, Utah, a town of 3,600 residents, sits at the hub of several of the southwest's most beautiful national parks, including Zion, Bryce, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Nestled at the base of colorful red cliffs, Kanab's spectacular geologic scenery, including sand dunes, volcanic craters, lava flows, canyons, mountains, and plains, along with the consistently good weather of the area, has made it a popular place for year-round vacations.
The commercial center of a large ranching, farming, and recreational resource community, Kanab is the seat of Kane County. The cultural history of Kanab has its roots in the prehistoric use of the land by Native Americans who lived along the shores of Kanab Creek. The historic settlement dates to the mid-1800s, and takes its name from a Paiute word meaning "place of the willows."
Kanab was first settled in 1864 when Fort Kanab was built on the east bank of Kanab Creek as a defense against Native Americans and as a base for the exploration of the surrounding area. Though Indian attacks forced the abandonment of the fort in 1866, 10 Mormon families moved into the fort in 1870 and established homes and farms.
Since the 1920s, Kanab City's vermilion sandstone cliffs have provided a perfect western backdrop for filming more than 150 movies and television series, including "Death Valley Days," "Gunsmoke," and "How the West Was Won." Thousands of visitors from throughout the world stop here to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and to explore the "Little Hollywood" of the "Old West." A walk of fame along Main Street documents the stars of the westerns filmed here.
The story of Kane County and the city of Kanab come alive in the architecture of historic homes and buildings, which can be appreciated during a Kanab Walking Tour featuring the "Old Library" local history museum and the historic Heritage House. Historic Parry Lodge has hosted stars including John Wayne, Glen Ford, Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, and many other film legends, and is still a comfortable oasis in the desert southwest.
To become acquainted with the colorful roots of Kanab's past, visitors can also take short half-day excursion to Pipe Spring National Monument, where pioneer life on the American frontier is re-created around the historic rock fort. Each August, Kanab hosts the Western Legends Round-Up, a five-day event that preserves, promotes, and develops local culture and heritage through working folklore displays, cowboy poetry, music, and education.
Community involvement in this festival through volunteer efforts and financial support is enthusiastic and extensive. Last year an estimated 8,000 visitors enjoyed tours, exhibitions such as working cattle and horse shoeing, an authentic overnight wagon trek, classes in traditional skills, performances, and a ceremony honoring Western legends.
Designated a Preserve America Community in April 2005.