I love being a vacation rental owner and host, I really do!
I love meeting guests and helping them discover little gems in our beautiful area.
I love hearing about their adventures at the end of the day.
I love feeling like friends at the end of their stay.
And I love helping a friend out and saving them some hard-earned vacation money.
At the end of the day, a host makes about the same amount whether the guest books direct or thru a third party travel website. It is the guest who comes out on the shorter end of the deal.
dang, That’s not what friends are for. Next time – Book Direct!
Balloons and Tunes is on it’s way, Hooray! Kanabs annual Hot Air Balloon Festival and Battle of the Bands is coming Feb 15 and 16, 2019. Kanab, Utah. This is becoming one of my favorite events of the entire year.
Who doesn’t love beautiful Hot Air Balloons rising against Red Rock cliffs and bright blue skies? (see my former post on Balloons and Tunes) But Saturday night is when this Festival really shines!
Food, music and Balloons. The Police Shut down the main highway thru town for about 5 blocks. The Balloonist line their baskets down the center of the street. Weather permitting, they inflate their balloons but stay on the ground. Weather not permitting, they don’t inflate balloons but still flare the gas burners. Oh glory! It is so cool! Heat, light, huge balloons, the roar of the burners. Ya just gotta feel it.
The winning band from the last two days of “Battling it out” gets to play in the big tent on Main Street for a couple of hours while we enjoy the food and booths.
And then it gets a little better… Wishing lanterns. For every child who saw Disney’s Tangled and didn’t think all the floating lanterns were real.. THEY ARE!
Here is my sister launching her wishing lantern with hundreds of others. It is so beautiful. I wish you all get to come this year! You are gonna love it.
Spring is Coming….. in a while. But now is the time to prepare – for Ragnar! Gather up your trail running team, get registered and get training! The race takes place May 10-11th, just outside of Zion National Park, South Western Utah.
While John and I are not racers, we did go up to Ragnar last year and volunteer at the arrival and unloading zone. Wow, what a lot of folks and what a lot of ENERGY! And what a beautiful setting for a trail race. Zion Ponderosa is just a few miles outside of the East gate of Zion National Park. You just cant beat this setting. The stars are going to be amazing on the night portion of this run.
The popularity of trail running has been growing rapidly in our area the last couple of years.
– June bring on the extremely tough “Top of Zion Relay”.
– September is 7 days of “Grand 2 Grand Ultra Marathon”, an outstanding event with folks from all over the world.
– Grand Circle Trailfest in Oct. is a huge 3 day event that pretty well fills up the town of Kanab.
High desert mesa trails, billions of stars, unforgettable long weekend
“Ragnar Trail Zion-UT presented by Salomon is the trail relay that inspired the entire series, and it’s back for year seven! Grab your most adventurous friends (or anyone ready for an unforgettable, nature-fueled experience) and join us May 10-11, 2019 to run relay style over two days and one star-filled night!
Your team will set up camp at Zion Ponderosa Ranch, a hidden gem just outside of Zion National Park. This venue features amenities such as a pool, hot tubs, showers, a rock climbing wall and restrooms. This year, Ragnar Trail Zion is a full blown 3-day weekend adventure in the desert. Runners (friends, co-workers, kids) are welcome to start their Ragnar Trail experience one full day earlier on Thursday for s’mores, campfires, a stargazing activity and a live band!
On Friday, the real fun begins as teams of 8 (or 4) cycle through a series of three challenging trail loops that start and finish back at Ragnar Village. You’ll run through sweet summer sage, under towering ancient pines and across red dirt trails that take you up (and up!) to some expansive overlooks including Dixie National Forest, Cedar Breaks, and Zion National Park’s famous “Checkerboard Mesa.”
When the sun sets and the moon comes out the party keeps going as runners head to the trails in the dark for a spirit-quest, soul-searching, star-fueled night of running is where the real memories are made.
The race wraps up Saturday where you can finish together under the Ragnar arch and celebrate with the best medal ever. Mark your running calendar for May 10-11, and don’t miss the experience that just might change you.”
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH OUR NATIONAL PARKS IN SOUTHERN UTAH??
A huge question for our guests in Kanab right now. So this week in my “Know Before You Go” post, I have tried to track down the most up to date info possible.
The National Government shutdown has affected a lot of people in many areas. But the Parks are our “nearest and dearest” here in Southern Utah. You can still enjoy our amazing natural wonders, just bring some extra respect and patience (and your own trash bags) with you this month.
We have all seen the photos and stories – Trash and human waste are piling up in some national parks that lack employees in visitor centers, rangers on roads, and custodial workers to clean bathrooms and empty garbage cans during the partial federal government shutdown. But NOT IN UTAH! Rangers are being paid with state and private money and are safeguarding park roads and resources in Arches, Zion, and Bryce Canyon national parks. Hoo-Ray!
I have heard the visitors who have been to Zion have, for the most part, been very careful to do their part by packing out their trash, and some have paid their entrance fees in the form of a donation.
Zion National Park The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is open through January 30, 2019 along with one loop of Watchman Campground, the park store and restrooms at the visitor center.
The shuttle service will be discontinued, but cars can travel the shuttle route. Please be aware that the park staffing will be minimal and visitors need to be careful and take responsibility for their own safety.
The Utah Office of Tourism has agreed to spend another $4,275 to keep Zion National Park open through Wednesday Jan 16th. After that, they expect private funding to continue so the park can remain open through the end of January.
Bryce Canyon National Park The park is open with most areas and services available. The main park road and the road to Bryce Point and Inspiration Point are closed to vehicles at the Bryce Junction. The Sunset and Sunrise viewpoints and all the roads below Sunset are open and will be plowed in the event of snow.
Bryce Canyon National Park will remain open for at least the next 10 days (up to Jan 24) due to funding from the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association, though the state might step in with “nominal” contributions to extend that through January, according to the budget office.
Visitors centers are open through:
Arches: January 30
Bryce Canyon: January 30
Canyonlands (Island in the Sky District): January 30
Zion: January 30
After these dates, should the shutdown continue, the parks will still be accessible, though the visitor centers will be closed. All other federal welcome centers are closed.
The Utah Department of Transportation plowed snow-covered roads in Arches and Canyonlands national parks last week. The Canyonlands Natural History Foundation has committed to cover the costs for visitor services in both parks for 30 days.
“We want to make sure people can plan out weeks in advance. We know what we can do for the next six weeks, two months if this continues,” said Kristen Cox, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. She told reporters – “If we can’t sustain it after a few months, then we’ll have alternative plans for people to visit state parks.”
Beneath the highway is a hidden Dragon. Well, at least the Belly Of The Dragon!
A great place to bring your kids and get that “cave exploring feeling” even though the Belly is more of a tunnel. It is just long enough you may want a flashlight in the very center before you can see the light from the other side.
Easy to get to, just off the road. The Belly of the Dragon is 16 miles north of Kanab on Highway 89. As you start coming down the big hill into Mt Carmel Junction, (traveling north from Kanab), you’ll see a well-maintained dirt road on the left at the bottom of the hill, known as Barracks road. (This is about 1/2 mile before you reach Mt. Carmel junction.) Make a sharp left after the guardrail, go 1/4 mile up that dirt road and the entrance is on the left.
There are plenty of places to park. The cave faces west, so lighting is best in the early afternoon. There is a little bit of a scramble to enter into the opening but nothing to strenuous.
You can continue on a short hike on the far side of The Belly up a sandy wash. Depending on the time of year there may be a small waterfall there.
A fun and easy place to stop for great photos!
Travel Tip created by Sherene and John in association with Vacation Soup
Kanab has some great restaurants but none of them have quite the ambience that you will find at the Iron Horse Restaurant.
The Iron horse sits right on the bend in the middle of town, Behind Denny’s wigwam. There is a huge courtyard full of fun photo ops.
Including an old Western town, a covered wagon and a giant wooden chair. If it hadn’t been there for years and years you would think it had been designed just for Instagram!
The Iron Horse has changed hands in the last couple of years, parts of the menu comes and goes, but it is always about great barbecue.
November to March is considered “Off Season” for Kanab. But off season has it’s perks. The weather is still often mild, less tourist traffic and the Iron Horse “$8 Baskets”!
For only $8 you can have your choice of three different meals. The burger and fries, wings and fries and my favorite – nachos with BBQ pork!
Iron Horse Restaurant & Saloon is the only full-service bar and restaurant in southern Utah’s Kane County. Iron Horse has indoor seating for guests—plus a pet-friendly, outdoor patio. During the summer months there is great live music. Mike is a COWBOY musician. Not a country Western musician, there is a big difference in my book! He does such a great job of bring the spirit of the western cowboy to dinner!
They have giant steaks, giant brisket and the best part – Giant Brownies! Kinda hard to tell, but the giant slab of brownie is bigger than my whole hand. Plenty to share, yum.
If you’re interested in Group seating make reservations in advance at 435.644.2277. Always best to confirm hours of operation during your stay.
Denny’s Wigwam, probably the largest gift shop in the area, is attached to the Iron Horse and you will want time to browse all the cool Western goods at Denny’s while you are there.
Iron Horse Restaurant, Kanab, UT
78 E. Center Street
Kanab, Utah 84741
(435) 644-2277 – Iron Horse
(435) 644.2601 – Denny’s Wigwam
Mark your Calendars, Feb. 15-17, make your reservations early and we will see you there!
Pilots will fly their balloons each morning at sunrise at the Coral Cliffs Golf Course just east of Kanab on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting).
Battle of the Bands will take place on Friday and Saturday; winner takes $2,500 second place $1,500 and third place $1,000.
Battle of the Bands will begin Friday evening and continue Saturday during the street festival. There will be fire pits and standing heaters throughout the vendor and crowd areas.
Saturday evening the Balloon Glow will take place at 7pm and the winner of the Battle of the Bands will perform. This is where all the hot air balloons fill up on the street and glow for the crowds! Pure Magic!
Buy a lantern at a vendor booth for the Lantern Launch following the Balloon Glow and watch the night sky filled with wishing lanterns floating skyward. Awesome! This is a one-of-a-kind balloon event in scenic red rock country! Don’t miss the most magical winter event in all of Southern Utah!