Wire Pass To Buckskin Gulch, near Kanab, Utah Three miles or as much as you can take, moderate hike. You’re also very likely to lose cell service inside of a slot canyon, and that’s if the area has it at all. The first set of boulders are easy to traverse with a clear path leading ahead. There are full hookups, recently renovated showers, a small dog park, and a very friendly and helpful owner. Flash floods are a very serious threat when exploring slot canyons. The right is the correct path climbing up and over the uneven terrain. Taking a right into Buckskin Gulch the canyon feels wide at first, especially compared with the tight Wire Pass slot canyon. Gary Gadwa 2012 Ford F350 2010 Eagle Cap 950, Buckskin Gulch, East of Kanab, Utah 21-miles of strenuous hikes. With a backpack on it is a tight squeeze to get through the most claustrophobic part of the canyon. Once you enter there is no turning back. Nearing the 12 mile mark the last true obstacle begins. Together with Paria, a number of hiking options exist here, with one route stretching for some 38 miles, from trailheads near the Utah/Arizona border down to Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River. As tragic as it was we stopped to stare at the raptor’s long talons. The views are breathtaking and photo opportunities are endless. Distance is nearly impossible to gauge inside Buckskin Gulch. After acquiring our site we hiked the Toadstool Trail located about 3 miles away. That doesn’t last long. We did not have time to go in that direction. Editor’s Note: This hike remains one of our all-time favorites. It was difficult for us to determine the way ahead in dry conditions, I can only imagine how difficult it would be had there been a substantial amount of water in the gulch. The nightlife in Buckskin Gulch overwhelms the stillness of this desert place. Flash floods have killed people who get trapped in them during flash floods. Usually a rope is in place to help with the downclimb. Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons, Escalante, Utah Three miles round trip from trailhead. So, when we heard there is a slot canyon in Virginia, we had to check it out! We hiked in with all our gear about three miles to the entrance of the canyon. Hiking Buckskin Gulch Guide – The World’s Longest Slot Canyon, Havasu Falls Reservation Review – Updated for 2020, Craters of the Moon Trails – The 6 Best Hikes, Click Here to Start Planning Your Journey to Buckskin Gulch. As long as the good Lord allows. We followed each other on the six-hour drive just past the town of Kanab, left his car at White House Campground (our destination), and took my car to the Buckskin Gulch Trailhead (our starting point). You may want to do some easier canyons before this one. As Buckskin Gulch begins to once again narrow it reaches the confluence. The confluence refers to the area where Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon meet. There is one tricky part on the trail inside the canyon where there is a steep drop. The next two pictures are in Mystery Canyon in Zion National Park. Forget bringing the pet(s) into the monument area. The second is how it was formed. That means no sandals, no boots and no bare feet. Definite canyoneering and good repelling skills are needed for this slot canyon. Then, travel south on House Rock Valley Junction road. Once the trail rounds the hill there is another smaller hill of sand on the right side as well. At 15 miles long it is the longest slot canyon in the world. The narrow stretch of land deep in the earth continued to reveal astonishing and beautiful rock walls. A couple are about a hundred feet. Bats, birds, and insects of all kinds make this a surprisingly noisy campsite. Easy walk in sand to Class three rock scramble. We pushed on through the heat passing fellow hikers headed into the canyon. The shortest and most common route to experience pretty much all of Buckskin is Wire Pass to White House, which is a ~23-mile trek. The ice made a series of deep fractured cracks in the capstone rock on top of Middle Knob that are more like a maze than the more “linear” water eroded slots of the West. The nearby Stateline Campground is 10.5 miles south of the highway on House Rock Road. Our journey through Buckskin Gulch started with a night in the quiet and secluded White House Campground. The trailhead campground is less than a mile from the slot canyons. Paria Canyon is about as wide and deep as Buckskin Gulch at the confluence. Always be conscious of the weather when entering a slot canyon. Camping can be done near the trailhead in many dispersed locations. As we locked things up our Paria Outpost & Outfitters shuttle arrived right on time and we hopped in for our journey to the Wire Pass trailhead. It isn’t every day you get to see those close up. This path concludes with a 20’ drop with a knotted rope tied off to help you in your descent. A permit is needed for this canyon as well. The final push is short but in deep sand. Take it slow, use common sense, and have fun. All Rights Reserved. Each footstep into the unknown squished deep into the mud. Looking for some of the most incredible hikes on planet Earth? This is a BLM site and camping is very reasonably priced . They say you can’t camp at the trailheads, but we did so that we could get an early start. We turned left at the juncture and headed up the narrow canyon. Before long Paria Canyon did widen up and we found ourselves sprinting through the sunlight from shady spot to shady spot along the canyon walls. Length 5.6 miElevation gain 616 ftRoute type Out & … We hate to lose readers. A permit is required for both day hiking and overnight backpacking. If you’ve got a bit of a beer belly you won’t make it to the end. Access the day hike from Wire Pass Trail, a short tributary to Buckskin Gulch and the most scenic and direct way into the classic narrows — it’s an ideal alternative to the multiday backpacking trip. As the canyon begins to once again narrow the boulders become clustered and the trail ahead is obscured. Know the canyon and your skill level before you enter a slot canyon. We hiked Buckskin Gulch in mid-September which can often be one of the muddiest seasons. There were a few drops in the trail of about three feet when we hiked it. The Buckskin Gulch Confluence is a magical place to camp. Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Kanab District. Heavy packs on we set off on the Wire Pass trail which almost immediately entered the dry creek bed and headed east. The towering vertical walls tighten to about two feet in width. Red Cliffs Park is near Harrisburg, Utah about 15-miles north of St. George, Utah along I-15. It is a Class 3 scramble (easy and moderate climbing) if you go to the upper elevation of the trail. The day of your slot canyon adventure, keep an eye on the horizon. There is a small BLM campground a short distance south of the Buckskin Slot Canyon trailhead. Because of the nature of this canyon and Utah topography this canyon is subject to deadly flash flood if it rains anywhere along the headwaters. Most casual hikers are weeded out in the first few miles. The signed turnoff to Buckskin Gulch Trailhead (located 0.2 mile east of the road), which you avoid, is located a short distance south of the wash. You reach the spacious Wire Pass Trailhead, located on the west side of the road, 8.4 miles south of US 89. Take the challenge and practice your off-road driving to get there. Buckskin Gulch is very popular, yet potentially very hazardous. No permit exemptions, passes, or discounts apply. The next morning we awoke early before the sun rose to get a start on the journey to the White House Trailhead. Our second day was forecasted to be a hot one. The campground seemingly fills up overnight during the hiking season. The vertical cliffsides of the canyon rise up on both sides of the gulch. There is a BLM fee at the trailhead. The location of Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons are about 10-miles east of Escalante, Utah off UT-12 then onto BLM Road 200. Editor’s Note: We have attempted to get permits for The Wave three times and failed to win the daily lottery all three times. First come -> first camped. There is no camping in Buckskin Gulch until the confluence. Here on the right side of the path are some petroglyphs of bighorn sheep. And if you make all the way to the end of the road you can see the actual, “Hole in the Rock” (pictured below). There is a path that climbs up the steep sandy slope on the left (north) side of the canyon to a ledge. We took several interesting photos there. Buckskin Gulch is wider through this area with the spring water creating a small extremely shallow creek all year round. My recommendation is to enter into the canyon, lower your heavy bags down with a rope and then hike back out of the canyon and take the bypass over the hillside to the south of the main trail. Don’t go here if you’re claustrophobic at all. Some are more memorable than others, and some have become overrun. Tent Rocks National Monument is an awesome place to go. Over the years we have been to several slot canyons. But camping there the night before would give you the chance to get out on the Buckskin Gulch trail extra early. Furthermore, normal physical mobility, or better, is required to navigate some tight areas of the trails. How long? When we were volunteering at Bryce Canyon we took a trip down the Hole-in-the-Rock Road in Escalante where there are several slot canyons. We like to take our time and take loads of photographs. Park at the trailhead parking area for Wire Pass that leads to Buckskin Gulch. Throughout the rest of Paria Canyon, there are regular, but not constant, options. The canyon at first widens slightly and large boulders cluster on the canyon floor. It is about 15 to 20-miles east of Kanab, Utah. Peek-a-Boo and Dry Fork canyons were right next to Spooky, so they can be visited on the same day. There is a hike called Canyon Trail that includes a slot canyon and hoodoos. The rock color is so amazing unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Beyond the challenging muddy section, the trail once again became dry terra-firma and we were able to resume a fairly quick pace through the scenic wonderland. It sometimes is as narrow as 2ft. Buckskin Gulch Trailhead is located first, 4.5 miles south of 89 on House Rock Road. It is very long and the last repel, drops you about 100-feet down a waterfall into the Narrows of Zion National Park. The next few pictures are of Ordeville Gulch in Zion. Items you should consider for any hike include water, nutritious snacks, a small first aid kit, a knife or multi-tool, compass, sun protection, sunglasses, flashlights or headlamps, fire starting supplies, warmer clothing and rainproof clothing. The way the canyon walls light up with all the nooks and crannies of thousands of years of being polished by wind and water is stunning and similar. The road to the canyon is a good paved road. At the time we went in 2019, the fee was $6. Once on the other side, you will find the rope drop to the left which you are now at the base of. A fee is required for all visits (see www.blm.gov) for details. New Mexico’s Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a slot canyon with many geological features resulting from wind and water erosion. After you hike the canyons you can drive further down the road and dry camp on top of the red rocks here (37°19’40.2″N 111°03’33.9″W). We went into the canyon for about a mile and came back out. Permits are $6 per person for day hiking and $5 per person per day for overnight backpacking. Slot canyons like Buckskin Gulch are extremely prone to flash-flooding, and should not be attempted if flooding is a concern. The canyons and washes were dry when we went. Beware of spiders and snakes. It then drops down a sandy slope about 20′ to the canyon floor. That’s what we did, and we absolutely loved Buckskin Gulch. About Buckskin Gulch. Use a regulator because the water pressure is high. Beyond the escape route, the trail narrows to the tightest section within Buckskin Gulch. Alternatively, you could attempt to lower yourself down the 8’ ledge by shimming your way down the walls but you are definitely risking unnecessary injury. The path then continues its narrow journey through the hidden desert terrain. Lone Rock is a National Park Service campground along the lake, and it’s still great. There are no “no overnight parking” signs so it seems legit to stay here. It was the sound of a rattle going off in an alarming pitch echoing off the tight walls that alerted us to the danger. The White House Campground is one of the four possible trailheads when hiking Buckskin Gulch. Wire Pass that leads to Buckskin Gulch is a small but beautiful slot canyon located down an eight to nine mile rough road near Kanab, Utah. Gloves to protect your hands from the rock handholds and a small pack to carry your water and belongings is recommended for the hike. The miles beyond resemble much of the prior gulch. Copyright © 2007-2020. Day use is $6 per person, camping an additional $5 per person; overnight trips must be booked in advance and are restricted to 20 people per night, though this limit is rarely reached. You will plunge right into the Buckskin squeeze, where the canyon is rarely more than 10 feet wide and the corridor can be hundreds of feet deep. Another panel of ancient petroglyphs can be seen near the confluence. The fee is … Both of these hikes are difficult and ropes would help if you intend on doing Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot canyons. Stay in the dry creek bed until you reach the Wire Pass slot canyon. We made it back to the truck with having lived yet another truly unique and amazing experience of backpacking Buckskin Gulch, the world’s longest slot canyon. The trail itself is sandy and somewhat steep so the lack of your heavy backpacks makes it easier. Before entering slot canyons, check the weather. They can be done without ropes, but ropes will help. Postpone your hike until it clears. Wire Pass a beautiful place and has very little traffic compared to the famous slot canyons in Page. Camping is the same as for Mystery Canyon. The day-use fee is $6.00 per person and $6.00 per dog. The road to access it starts out as a good dirt road, but then the turn-off to the canyon requires a high clearance four whee drive. There is no trail-you simply hike down the canyon, which is so narrow you can touch both walls in some spots. The Buckskin Gulch part of the hike is 13 miles long which makes for a lengthy first day. For a shorter day hike, take the Wire Pass Trailhead for a shortcut to Buckskin Gulch that will still provide you with some stunning views of the most beautiful places in the canyon. This will help with your balance and avoid potential falls. Just go prepared with snacks and water, pay attention to the weather and surroundings, and know your limitations. It is still about a 40-minute drive to Hayters Gap, or a 12-mile hike one way from the other end of the Brumley Mountain Trail at Hidden Valley. The last picture of my truck camper is when we were boondocking just outside of Little Wild Horse slot canyon in central Utah just outside of Goblin Valley. If it rains or snows, the road to the slot canyon as well as the road on south to the BLM campground and beyond can go from treacherous to impassable. The route then turns to a gravel road for approximately 10-miles. Statistically, you are in more danger driving your truck down the road than hiking in a slot canyon – especially if you’re following the above rules and being careful. This is a great hike you can take kids on without too much worry. Access is seriously controlled and limited in both time of day and number of people allowed on site for any given period. You have to continue to the end. The creek bed consists of small rocks and sand so it never became overly muddy. These sections aren’t for the faint of heart as the water feels more like quicksand than water. If you continue far enough into the canyon you eventually will come across some wet areas, but not so wet as to not be easily passable. It is also the muddiest section of the journey. As it was just past noon and the mercury undoubtedly passing well beyond 90 degrees we were elated. It is a low cost campground with water at the sites. Someone had placed a rock arrow on the floor of the canyon pointing the way towards White House (left). It is best not hiked in sandals, which Joyce did. We suggest that one attempt to be there in the morning when the gate opens. There was no elevation change to speak of. For example, if you want to hike Buckskin Gulch (highly recommended) do a Google or  Yahoo search and read about the description and difficulty of that slot canyon. This oasis campsite was a surprisingly stark contrast to the rest of Buckskin Gulch. Prearranged and very limited permits from the Kanab BLM office are required for The Wave, which is an ultra scenic geologic area side hike. Before you know it the walls tower above you on both sides mere feet apart, blocking out all but a sliver of the blue sky above. No big RVs should attempt this road. First, pay close attention to local weather forecast. While starting at the A hike into Buckskin Gulch in May of 2010 remains one of our most incredible hikes, ever. It is important to get here relatively early in the day to acquire one of the few first-come, first-served campsites. We awoke early the next morning just before sunrise and moved our rig from the campground to the trail parking lot. When you are on the canyon floor don’t go up the steep sandy slope but instead, climb up a smaller boulder just below the ledge that the sandy path leads to. Security will not allow pets past the entry booth, even if the critter(s) will never exit the vehicle. Use existing campsites at least 200 feet from a water source. The trail is primarily used for hiking. Luckily, we came across this native in an area of the canyon where we could actually give him some space. Click here to read about other places to visit and camp in the United States and Canada. Unless it’s been raining it’s an easy dirt road with no need for four-wheel drive. When we returned last year in 2019, the only thing we saw were the crowds. Douglas Blake 2001.5 Dodge Ram 2016 Northern Lite 8’5” Q Lite, Spooky Slot Canyon, near Kanab, Utah Moderate hike, about two miles round trip. I have included some pictures of a few of the slot canyons I have enjoyed exploring. Cellular service is non-existent along most of the trail. There is the Vermillion Cliffs and Paria Canyon Wilderness trailhead there. Buckskin Gulch is a narrow continuous slot canyon for 14 miles. If you ignore these basic rules, slot canyons can be incredibly dangerous. There is no limit on day use. It was in this section while immersed in the beauty we were shocked back into the reality of the danger that lurks here. This is insurance that someone will come find you if you go missing. Make sure to do your homework ahead of time about the technical aspects, water features and time commitment of any slot canyon you consider. The adventure might be mundane in its repetitive views if it weren’t so absolutely stunning and amazing in its surreal beauty. There are some more easy slot canyons down the Hole-In-The-Rock Road just outside of Escalante, Utah. You then arrive at the vertical cliff face to find that the creek bed does a 90-degree. The water inside the canyon is unreliable and the season had been a dry one so we took no chances and traveled with a day and a half worth of water (6 liters per person). There are also deep footprints in the dried earth that harken to a time when fellow explorers were forced to travel the muddy terrain. The undulating narrow canyons and towering red rock formed by millions of years of flash flooding and erosion was something out of a Hollywood movie. It is a short and steep three to four-mile hike to amazing views. It’s common sense, but another repeated piece of advice is to know your limitations and turn back when you hit something you’re not comfortable with. I talked my friend Manny into going and we set a date. You never know what you will find on a backpacking journey. There are no immediate National Forest Service campgrounds within an hour’s drive, so we camped at the free Virginia Wildlife Management Area, Hidden Valley. It was a long hike to get to the canyon, but it was easy. Find a Campsite. I have done the entire Narrows at Zion a few times. As we arrived in this area we were joined by the local inhabitants looking for their dinner. Buckskin Gulch is popular, potentially hazardous and part of the Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, so there are several rules regarding access. This article is all about our personal adventure of backpacking Buckskin Gulch. Beyond the 8’ cliff the slot canyon flattens out and the flat trail becomes a great indicator of the journey ahead. Again, GPS doesn’t work this deep in the canyon so know what you are looking for. It is important to keep ones hands free of items when climbing or descending. After a nice informative drive that added much to our future to-do list, we disembarked from the shuttle, stretched out, and put on our extremely heavy packs. There is little to no shade once direct overhead sunlight reaches into the canyon, so protective clothing and/or sunscreen is highly recommended. We almost gave up, and then came upon the road. No camping is allowed at the trailhead. Still, on a whole, this desert trail has a lot of solitude. The footing is mostly very loose sand, and when dry, fairly deep. There are some tight spots along the way. Also, if you are claustrophobic, slot canyons may not be for you. If you are afraid of these flying mammals this could be nerve-racking but we found the experience to be an exhilarating experience and a highlight of the journey. They can be contacted via phone at for pricing, directions, reservations and more. Buckskin Gulch is located in the Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area (also known as Paria Canyon) on the border of Utah and Arizona near the cities of Big Water, Utah and Page, Arizona. As we ventured into the murky, muddy water the hiking sticks that we had thus far barely used became essential tools for determining the best footing ahead. It is a steep winding road to get to Hayters Gap. … We choose Peek-A-Boo Canyon which narrowed down to a tight squeeze (pictured above). Russell Berquam 2014 Ford F-350 2015 Arctic Fox 1140, Antelope and Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyons, Page, Utah and Escalante, Utah Easy and long. The only place high clearance would be helpful is from the Peek-A-Boo Gulch parking area to the trailhead. The sand bar on the left side of the creek bed is really the best indicator of the trail. When hiking to Buckskin Gulch from the Wire Pass trailhead, it takes awhile to reach the slot. Once at the top of the smaller boulder you will round a much larger boulder (that obscures this path from view) and slide down another slab of rock. While Buckskin Gulch is much tighter and extremely secluded the true difference is in the lack of water. The first picture is from Birch Hollow Slot Canyon just east of Zion National Park in southern Utah. This is an easy slot canyon that can be walked through and navigated with children. Vote For Your Favorite Camper, Gear, and Innovation, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, VOTE: Best of 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards, 2021 Buyers Guide and Gear Guide Announced. Above: Only a little bit of water in this slot canyon – you need to be aware of the upcoming weather before entering a slot canyon. Then, travel south on House Rock Valley Junction road. 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