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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Hollywood Western Backdrops Come Alive In Kanab

Kanab has long been known as a cowboy town, and the surrounding area has served as the location for countless TV shows and Holloywood movies. It is also a gateway to some of our most popular national parks and recreation areas.

The title of this post comes from this Las Vegas Review Journal article, which extols the attractions found the in the area. Below are excerpts.

Kanab is a town of fewer than 4,000 souls, but they live in spectacular surroundings. Within a 90-minute drive from Kanab, Utah, you can stand on the Grand Canyon's North Rim, hike the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park, hit the trails at Zion National Park, squeeze into a slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or shove off onto the waters of Lake Powell.

This is the western section of the 1.9 million-acre (Grand Staircase-Escalante National) monument, a not-yet-well-known preserve of some of Utah's most stunning scenery. We spent the rest of our day and early evening making a big back-road loop, up the 34-mile Skutumpah Road, down the 46-mile Cottonwood Road and back to Highway 89, returning to Kanab 32 miles later.

After miles of twisting roads and some shallow stream crossings, we stopped at Bull Valley Gorge. This is a wonderful, corkscrew slot canyon that you can hike through; it takes some technical climbing skills to explore it down and back but simply walking along the rim and looking into its depths is worth the trip. Even that isn't for a person seriously scared of heights or unsteady on the feet, for a stumble here could be your last mistake.

Kanab was once a cattle town, but Hollywood has been dropping in since the 1920s. Set at the base of the colorful Vermilion Cliffs, Kanab is surrounded by interesting landscapes, ideal for filming outdoor adventure movies. The first filmed there was "Deadwood Coach," starring Tom Mix, in 1924. Some later ones were "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Planet of the Apes," "Maverick" and "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing." Television shows that used Kanab scenery have included "The Lone Ranger," "Gunsmoke," "F-Troop" and "Lassie."

One of Kanab's largest events, the Aug. 18-20 Western Legends Roundup, celebrates the town's Western culture. One of its most popular aspects is the Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, where poets compete for jackpots. This annual event features cowboy music, Dutch oven cooking, Western swing dancing, and demonstrations, exhibits and workshops. There are workshops in swing dancing, Western photography, hand quilting and silversmithing.


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