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Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Can you handle all of the cute?

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, located just five miles north of Kanab, is the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless animals and provides adoption, spaying/neutering, and educational programs. The organization has also been the world’s leader in the no-kill movement for 30 years. It was established in 1984 and found its current home in 1991.

Best Friends reports that four million cats and dogs lives are lost every year. A bleak number, but this is down from 17 million when the organization was first founded. This is due to increased adoption rates and the helpful education that Best Friends provides. The organization truly is activating its motto, “Save them all.”

This incredible Utah animal sanctuary is located in Angel Canyon, which is an ideal place for people who love nature as much as they love animals. The nonprofit owns nearly 3,700 acres of property, and leases another 17,000 acres from the Bureau of Land Management — it’s sprawling, to say the least.

Make Your Next Trip A Volunteer Vacation

by Megan Michelson

At the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, you can enjoy a getaway to a stunning region of southern Utah while also making a difference in the lives of rescued pets and wild animals. Go home with a new pup or just spend a few days with a furry friend who needs love perhaps as much as you do.

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What Makes it Great

On any given day, the sanctuary is home to about 1,700 rescue animals. Most of these are dogs and cats, but there are all types of animals, including horses, burros, birds, rabbits, goats, pigs, and an assortment of other creatures. These furry (and not furry, too) friends come from all over the country, mostly from shelters that don’t have the dedicated resources to socialize, train, and heal them to the point where they will be welcomed into someone’s loving home.

Tours of Best Friends and visits with the animals are available daily, year-round. The guided tour, which starts at the Welcome Center, is free and takes approximately an hour and a half; there are four throughout the day. More than 25,000 visitors travel to this Utah animal sanctuary to tour and volunteer each year. It’s an experience most will never forget. 

The general tour is informational and takes you through the scenic grounds where Best Friends operates. You will poke into a cat and dog shelter (it is important to socialize these animals so Best Friends rotates the visitation schedule). There are a number of ways to volunteer, including taking an animal for a stroll on one of the numerous trails around the shelters. There are hikes, vistas, and red rock as far as you can see here.

If that’s not enough, enjoy a $5 all-you-can-eat vegan buffet on the grounds every lunch hour; it’s delicious.

Travel Planning


Kanab is a prime base camp to three national parks, three national monuments, several state parks, and a number of historic sites in southwest Utah and northern Arizona.

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Road to Mighty

Southern Utah. Home to Utah’s Mighty Five® national parks and connected by some of the most scenic byways and backways in the country. Find your road:

See Itineraries

Traveling With Dogs: National Parks

Learn the regulations for traveling with dogs in Utah's Mighty 5 national parks and explore better options on the Road to Mighty.

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