Why You Should Add Belly of the Dragon to Your Bucket List

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View of the belly of the dragon in utah

Although Utah is the Beehive State, you could call it the Land of Red Rocks or the Land of Canyons. Utah is proud of its hard-working settlers, but the stunning sandstone landscape is what captures the hearts of travelers.

Interestingly, one of these unique sandstone formations is artificial. Learn more about why you should add the Belly of the Dragon Utah to your bucket list!

What Is Belly of the Dragon?

The Belly of the Dragon is a sandstone drainage tunnel under Highway 89 in Utah. This artificial tunnel is a unique attraction in a state of natural wonders.

No matter what your skill level, you can walk through the tunnel. You need no permit, and it’s easily accessible from the trailhead.

Where Is Belly of the Dragon?

Highway 89 runs from Flagstaff in Arizona north into Utah. It goes through Page, Arizona, then Kanab, Utah, and into Sevier, Utah, where it intersects with Interstate 70. About 17 miles north of Kanab is the Belly of the Dragon.

Mount Carmel Junction, where Highway 9 intersects with Highway 89, is about a mile north of the drainage tunnel.

A sign entering Kanab Utah near the belly of the dragon

How Was the Belly of the Dragon Made?

Like any drainage tunnel, people created the Belly of the Dragon Utah to divert water underneath Highway 89. The constant water running from the upper canyons has shaped the interior sandstone walls, making them uneven over time.

It’s crucial to note that visitors shouldn’t enter the Belly of the Dragon if there has been heavy rain due to the risk of flash flooding.

With Zion National Park less than an hour away and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park less than 20 minutes away, it’s interesting that this manufactured tunnel attracts so much attention.

However, it has become a photogenic, Instagram-worthy location you can’t miss on your journey through southwestern Utah.

How Do You Get to Belly of the Dragon Utah?

From Highway 89, turn left if driving from the south. Turn right if driving from the north. You’ll head onto a dirt road at mile marker 80. There is a well-maintained gravel road leading to a parking area at the trailhead.

If you reach the Twin Hallows Campground, you’ve driven too far. There is no parking lot or designated parking spaces at the trailhead. It’s simply roadside parking.

You’ll see a vast opening to enter the Belly of the Dragon off the gravel road about 0.3 miles from Highway 89.

How Long Is the Belly of the Dragon Hike?

The tunnel is only about 150 feet and takes about 10 minutes to reach from the roadside parking area. If you want an actual hike to the Belly of the Dragon, you can continue walking past the tunnel in a dry creek bed.

According to AllTrails, the out-and-back hike is about 1.8 miles, but hikers have commented that you can continue for additional miles. You can hike about five miles to a small slot canyon before you have to turn around.

Other Unique Places to Visit Near Kanab, Utah

The Belly of the Dragon isn’t a place you should go out of your way to visit, but it’s among numerous unique attractions in this part of Utah.

Add it to a longer list of things to do and places to stay for a fun time near Kanab! All these locations cover about 160 miles along Highway 89 in Arizona and Utah.

The Wave

Across the Arizona border is a stunning natural phenomenon of wavy sandstone. The bands of red, pink, yellow, and white sandstone are remarkable.

Wind erosion over millions of years has created a picturesque location for wedding and engagement photos.

Due to the popularity of this area, you need a permit to visit, and it is only accessible through a lottery system. The Bureau of Land Management limits foot traffic to no more than 20 people daily.

Peek-A-Boo Canyon

About nine miles north of Kanab is Peek-A-Boo Canyon. The sandy trail leading to Peek-A-Boo, or Red Canyon, is best to travel via ATV. It’s an easy 0.7-mile out-and-back hike suiting all experience levels.

The slot canyon features stunning orange sandstone walls and ancient Moqui Steps. Pay attention to the weather, as flash flooding happens often.

Pro Tip: Save money on camping fees with a Thousand Trails Membership! Learn more about the different memberships.

Peek-a-boo-canyon near near the Belly of the dragon in Utah


Arriving at the Toadstools about 40 miles east of Kanab, Utah, is like visiting another planet. The unique natural wonders of balancing rock and hoodoos, plus the various shades of browns and grays, will make you feel like you’re on Venus.

The Toadstools are rock formations where boulders perch on rocks of smaller diameters, making them look like mushrooms.

Sand Caves

Five miles north of Kanab, the Sand Caves are close to the Belly of the Dragon Utah.

They’re also right off Highway 89. It’s a short 0.25-mile hike to the Sand Caves, but you can also see them from the highway. However, like the Belly of the Dragon, the Sand Caves are also artificial.

When people began mining for the sand in the area, they created these caves. The mining was brief, but they left beautiful caves to explore.

Sand Caves in Utah near the belly of the dragon

White Pocket

A bit farther from Kanab than the other attractions, White Pocket is about 75 miles east of Kanab in the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness of Arizona. If you don’t visit the Wave, White Pocket is a beautiful hidden gem in the same region.

However, you’ll need 4WD to visit this remote area. The shapes, colors, and texture of this region are extraordinary.

White puffs of rock look like cauliflower amid the desert oranges and reds, defining the Arizona and Utah deserts.

Keep in Mind: Utah is home to some of the best national parks! Start planning an RV Trip to Utah’s National Parks

Wahweap Hoodoos

The Wahweap Hoodoos Trail is a moderate 10.4-mile out-and-back hike near Grand Staircase or Escalante National Monument.

Like the Toadstools and White Pocket, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived on a different planet with distinct white rock formations. The sandstone spires are only accessible by hiking.

View of the Waweap Hoodoo Trail near the Belly of the dragon in Utah

Is a Visit to Belly of the Dragon Worth It?

A visit to the Belly of the Dragon isn’t worth going out of your way, but it’s certainly worth stopping to see on a road trip through southwestern Utah.

This region is full of spectacular natural wonders and unique attractions. You can start at White Pocket and travel along Highway 89 to see all these fantastic locations.

Spend a day or two exploring this area of the Southwest and end your visit with a walk through the Belly of the Dragon. Utah has a fantastic journey ready for you! Have you started planning your route yet?

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