The Moqui Sand Caves are super fun, family-friendly, quick hike to these light filled caves that looks great in photos! These caverns are honestly cooler than I thought they would be. I’d almost call them a road-side attraction since they’re literally right off of the road.
These caves are a great thing to do while you’re visiting Kanab, UT as a stop between hikes or if you’re looking for a small attraction to fill up your day. They’re definitely worth a quick stop to check them out.
Moqui Sand Caves vs Moqui Cave
Note that the Moqui Sand Caves/Caverns are different than Moqui Cave. Moqui Cave is a historical museum with Native American artifacts and rock collections that is right next to the caverns. The museum is a paid attraction where as the sand caves are free.
- Distance: Approx. .25mi round trip
- Time: > 1hr
- Elevation Change: 600 ft
- Difficulty: Easy
- Crowd Factor: Moderate-High
- Permits/Fees: No
- Water: No
Location & Parking
The Moqui Sand Caves are 5mi north of of Kanab UT on HWY 89 (just before the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary). They’re on the right/east side of the road. You will literally be able to see them from the road.
There is a pull out on the left/west side of the road (across from the caves) where you can park. Although most people seem to just park along the side of the road wherever there’s room.
It’s barely even worth it to tell you how to get there – just scramble up the rock face to get to them.
After parking you’ll see the caves above you on the hill side. It’s a very short walk through the dirt and brush to reach the base of the cliffs.
From here there’s not a specific direct path to get to the caves. It’s more of a choose your own adventure to scale the cliffs and make it up to the caves. The rock face is pretty steep, but it’s easy enough to walk over with tennis shoes.
Most people seem to get as high as the can on a less-steep area to the left of the caves and then traverse along the hillside over to the cave entrance.
When exploring the caves, be careful not to get to close to the edge as it’s a long drop down! The caves are not open ended and get dark in the dead-end when you’re away from the openings on the cliffside.
Be respectful and don’t carve into the delicate sandstone. There’s too much of that that’s been done already. The caves are pretty popular since they’re so easily accessible, so they may be a bit crowded, especially on weekends and over the summer.
About the Sand Caves
The Moqui Caverns/ Sand Caves, are actually an old sand mine. There are different reports about the exact history. Some say the mines exist in the 30s and 40s and that the sand was used to make the molds used to cast iron since sand doesn’t melt at high temperatures. Others say that the mine existed in the 70s and that the sand was used to be melted into glass products. Either way, these caverns are definitely man made.