“We wanted to honor cowboys and cowgirls of the late 1800s,” said Cowboy Bunkhouse owner Jeff Michelsen, of his wife JoAnn Clarkson Michelsen, and his new venture in Kanab. Utilizing western history, they are creating something more like a European hostel than a motel.

He said the idea came to the couple after a Clarkson family Thanksgiving, when at a family meeting JoAnne’s parents, Dale and Patsy Clarkson, told their children something needed to be done with the property at 210 West 300 North in Kanab. The property has a storied past, serving as Kanab’s first hospital, and later as a Christian academy for boys and girls, and more recently, a place for Headstart.

Jeff said that inspired JoAnne, because she and their daughter Jen had stayed in hostels in California. “My wife had wonderful experiences staying in hostels, where she made lifelong friends. She thought a hostel provided a better vacation, in that you weren’t closing yourself into a motel room, and were actually interacting with other guests. We have a big building here with lots of rooms!”

The Cowboy Bunkhouse pays homage to the cowboys, cowgirls, cattle trails, and railroads of the late 1800s. Each north/south hallway is named after a cattle trail. Each east/west hallway is named after a railroad. Each room in the women’s wing is named after a cowgirl – Phoebe Ann Oakley and Rose Dunn – to name a few. Rooms in the men’s wing are named after cowboys, such as William Pickett and Charles Goodnight.

The family reunion suite, provides an area for groups, coincidentally situated in the old hospital’s maternity area, and provides not only beds, but a kitchen and common area. Each room in the reunion wing is named after a cattle drive destination – Dodge City, Abilene, Topeka and Wichita.

But what is a bunkhouse one might ask? Bunkhouses, or hostels, are known to encourage and enable low impact travel, while preserving and protecting the landmark building, national parks, and communities where they reside. It boils down to sharing spaces, and fosters interaction between guests.

Different accommodations that you can choose from at The Cowboy Bunkhouse:

Bunk rooms – dorm style rooms with four bunks each. Four bunk rooms for women, and five bunk rooms for men. Guests will be provided a blanket, pillow and linens at check in. Each bunkroom contains a sink and toilet, and a shared bath/shower nearby.

Family rooms – contain a double bed, twin bed or bunk beds, a private toilet, shower and sink.

Private rooms – have a double bed, a private toilet, shower and sink.

Group rooms – (perhaps scouts?), contain multiple bunked twin beds, a private toilet and sink, and a shared bath/shower located nearby .

Family reunion wing – has two bunk rooms, two toilets and one shower for men, two toilets and one shower for women, a kitchen, dining area, and a meeting room.


A shared kitchen is open to guests at any time. It contains a refrigerator, microwave, stove, sink, plates, bowls, glasses and silverware. You can purchase food from local grocers; shelf and refrigerator space will be available. A light continental breakfast will be provided each morning.


The Cowboy Bunkhouse will provide its own activities available at night, and will support and encourage other community businesses and activities.

For more information, call 435-644-8224, or check out their website at www.thecowboybunkhouse.com