Moqui Caverns: See the Stunning Sand Caves in Kanab, Utah

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

In the vicinity of Kanab, you’ll find the manmade Moqui Caverns. The tunnels you see now were formed in the 1970s when sand was mined there for use in glass production.

A look at the Moqui Caverns from outside, showing a fence and a paved walkway leading up to the front entrance.

Although the mining activity was short-lived, it left behind several spectacular caves that we were able to explore.

Scratches and graffiti have been seen by some visitors to Moqui Caverns. The caves are off-limits to anybody who leaves any form of mark in them.

In order to preserve this stunning region for future visitors to Kanab, please do not leave any traces behind. In the sand caverns, you are not allowed to make a camp or light a fire.

Moqui Tunnels, located roughly 5 miles north of Kanab in southern Utah, is a small, scenic network of sand caverns constructed by humans. We will show why a trip to the Moqui Caverns sand tunnels should be at the top of your Kanab must-do list.

To reach Moqui Caverns, you must climb a sheer rock face across a ridge. However, robust footwear is required to reach the summit due to the steepness of the climb and the sandiness of the rocks.

What Exactly Are The Moqui Caverns?

Moqui Caves are a group of small sand caverns created by man on a slope approximately 100 feet above Kanab’s main road. The caves are always open for exploration.

Many ‘windows’ and ‘doors’ dug in the 1970s for sand mining may be found within the caves. The caverns range in height from 10 to 15 feet.

As the amount of natural light entering the caves decreases with increasing distance, the shadows get deeper and darker. The sand dunes within the Moqui Caverns are soft and chilly.

This is a stunning area that the whole family can enjoy; however, younger children should proceed with care since the climb is steep and there are multiple drop-offs.

Why Are Moqui Caverns So Popular?

Moqui Caverns were relatively unknown prior to the advent of social media. When Instagram photos of the sand tunnels near Kanab, especially at twilight, began to circulate, Moqui Caverns became a “must-see” destination on most southern Utah road trip itineraries.

You’ll be rewarded with postcard-perfect sand caves after a very short hike. Photographers visiting Southern Utah should not miss this stop.

Kanab is in an excellent geographical position. The Wave is a favorite site for hikers from nearby Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

It is also conveniently located between the parks of Southwest Utah and the Grand Canyon South Rim, making it a good layover between the two.

A glimpse inside the sand caves at Moqui Caverns.
Be sure to bring comfortable shoes!

Hiking to the Caverns

The caves are roughly a quarter of a mile from the visitor center.

To get to the caves, ascend the ring of sloping cliffs and then continue south along the bench. However, some may be intimidated by the steepness of the hill and find the task to be rather challenging. It’s crucial to put on shoes that give you a sense of security and stability.

Children can often handle it well because of their lack of fear and lower center of gravity, but you should still keep a close check on them after you enter the caves.

Although your four-legged pet is welcome at Moqui Sand Caves, he or she may need some help getting up and down the sandstone cliff.

Using this site won’t cost you a dime.

It has been said that the best time of day for photography is in the late afternoon or early evening, just before sunset. Since the caves face west, this makes a lot of sense.

Include in your plan a visit to the Moqui Cave Museum, a natural history museum featuring caverns, a large collection of dinosaur footprints, and Native American artifacts. The subway ride is free, but the museum is not.

You can spend more time having fun in the Sand Caves with the time you save on this excursion. Enjoy the contrast of the sandstone and the sunlight, take some shots, and let the youngsters play in the sand. While this route is rather level and good for families, there are a few scrambles and openings with drops, so keep an eye on children.

How Big Are the Moqui Caverns?

The length of Moqui Caverns is less than 100 meters, and the sand tunnels make traveling between the two ends simple. The average width of the caves is between 5 and 10 meters; thus, a large number of visitors might cause congestion.

The trek to Moqui Caverns is around 0.5 kilometers in length.

The length of the Moqui Sand Caves is a commonly questioned topic.

It won’t take you long to go from one end of Moqui Caverns to the other since its length is less than 100 meters. Most cave passages are between 5 and 10 meters wide, making for close quarters if more than a few explorers are in there at once.

The distance from the parking lot to the entrance to Moqui Caverns is less than a half mile.

The outdoor look at the museum at Moqui Caverns in Utah.

Directions to the Moqui Caverns

From Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona

Distance: 83 miles (133.6 km), 1.5 hours travel time.

As you leave the Horseshoe Bend parking lot, turn left onto US-89 North and go for about two miles; then, take the second exit at the traffic circle and continue straight for another seventy-four miles. From the Holiday Inn Express in Kanab, go about 5 miles north on S 100 E before turning right into E Center Street and then right onto US-89 North.

On the left is the parking area, while the sand tunnels are on the right.

From the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Distance: 214 miles (344.4 km), 3.5 hours travel time.

50 miles separate the Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor Center from US-89 North in Cameron via AZ-64 East (commonly referred to as Desert View Drive). From this location, US-89 continues north for 161 miles.

The sand caverns are located to the right of US-89, however, you will need to find a parking spot first (keep in mind you will drive through the small city of Kanab).

From Zion National Park

Distance: 25 miles, 30 minutes travel time.

After exiting the East Gate of Zion, it will take around thirty minutes to reach the sand caverns. Following Route UT-9 East for roughly 13 miles, you will turn right onto US-89 South at Mount Carmel Junction and continue for approximately 11 miles.

The sand caverns are about a half-mile from where the road curves left after leaving Moqui Cave. You will locate parking a little distance down the road on the left, away from the left-hand entrance to Moqui Caverns.

From Bryce Canyon National Park

Distance: 75 miles (120.7 km), 1.5 hours travel time.

Leave Bryce Canyon by traveling north on UT-63 for 2.6 miles till reaching FR 090. After taking the third exit from the circle, continue down UT-12 W for 13.5 miles. Turn left onto US-89 S about 55 miles later. A little more than an hour should be sufficient to finish this journey.

Before reaching the sand caverns, you will pass Moqui Cave on your left, exactly as you did on the Zion path. As you go along, the trailhead parking lot and sand caverns are located on the left side of the road.

An image from the ground level of the sand and massive pillars and corridors at Moqui Caverns.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Once you’ve parked at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, you may stroll the easy path down the cliff’s edge. Keep walking past the caves on your right until you reach a flatter area of the cliff.

As you get closer to the rock face, hiking becomes more of a scramble. When hiking, a good pair of shoes with a deep tread is essential. After the rain, the slippery rock face will be plastered with sand and will be rather hazardous.

After making your way up the cliff, you’ll find a gentle slope that leads down to the sand caves below. When you reach an upper-level flat stretch, stay as near to the canyon wall as possible.

After exploring the sands of the cave and filling your camera to capacity, you can easily exit by retracing your way back along the ridge and then carefully descending the same precarious rock slope.

You may explore Moqui Caverns whenever you choose, day or night, 365 days a year. An hour before dusk is ideal for exploring the maze of tunnels in the sand caves, since the fading light will make it difficult to find your route.

Is Visiting the Moqui Caverns Worth it?

If you’re in Kanab, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit Moqui Caverns. The ascent won’t take more than thirty to forty minutes, and the sand caves are excellent photo opportunities.

It is possible to hike to the Moqui Caverns even if you are rushed for time. The trail’s handy location next to US-89 makes it one of the most accessible in the region.

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