A Summer Day Trip To Kanab Is Just What You Need
A hidden Utah treasure is just an hour and a half away from St. George and it’s the perfect mix of history, natural beauty and legacy.
Moqui Cave is located in Kanab, UT just passed the turn for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. If you aren’t careful, you’ll drive right past it! The cave is surrounded by the signature Utah red rocks and serene Zion National Park-like canyons.
If you’re wondering what the big deal about a cave is well, it’s also a museum and somewhat of a historical site. Not to mention it’s been visited by some pretty famous movie stars.
Moqui Cave was purchased in 1951 by Kanab locals Garth and Laura Chamberlain, Current owner, and grandson Tanner Chamberlain said. This was in the glory days of Western movie stars like John Wayne and Clayton Moore.
Chamberlain said his grandfather's purchase was inspired by the common complaint visiting actors had which was that there had been no place to hang out and cool off during shooting. The Moqui Cave was turned into a bar and dance floor making it the perfect rest stop for the movie crews.
Big stars like John Wayne, Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels made their way to Moqui Cave and probably downed an old-fashioned while sitting on bar stools that are STILL THERE TODAY.
Eventually, Laura and Garth grew tired of bar fights and late nights, so they decided to turn Moqui Cave into a museum and a place that houses thousands of different artifacts.
With the cave walls painted white and the concrete floor already there, all that was needed was to start collecting pieces.
“He (Garth Chamberlain) studied archaeology, geology, and paleontology at BYU. Yes, he went to BYU and then opened a bar,” Chamberlain said. “So, all the artifacts, the fossils, the minerals you're going to see throughout, mainly all collected by my grandfather.”
There is a variety of things to see inside the museum. One of my coolest areas of artifacts is the collection of art and arrowheads (plus more) from local tribes like the Navajo, Hopi, Paiute, and more.
If you’re a rock lover, then there is an ENTIRE room that you will love. There is just about every kind of rock in there that naturally glows under fluorescent lighting. You’ll be surrounded by neon greens, blues and oranges. It’s a super cool experience.
BYU also has donated some artifacts to the museum to support the Chamberlains' business.
There are also dinosaur tracks and dig sites for the kids if museums aren’t really their thing.
“It's just a different piece of ancient history that not very many people get to see our area loaded with beauty, and amazing places, lot canyons, and Zion national parks, and all these things,” Chamberlain said. “A lot of people don't really know the history of how amazing this area was. And you can come and see some of that history here.”
Chamberlain is the third generation to take over Moqui Cave and is adding new things to the cave all the time...like food.
After visiting the museum, there is a lovely little food stop just right outside called The Cave Café and it serves hot sandwiches, acai bowls, smoothies, and coffee. Chamberlain said the most popular item is the Moqui Bowl!
I asked the staff to surprise me with a menu item and I was able to try the Honey Apple Bacon panini. IT WAS AWESOME!!!
The best mix of sweet and savory. It had apple slices, apple butter (to die for) crispy bacon, cheddar and Havarti cheese. I highly recommend it.
Moqui Cave is the perfect day trip experience, and you don’t have to travel too far. If you’ve been it might be time for another visit!