Utah Journals

The Wildest Thing You'll Ever See

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A travel journal to Utah by Ben the Grate

Wire Pass Trail (Buckskin Gulch access) Photo, Kanab, Utah More Photos
Quote: The Paria Canyon wilderness in extreme southern Utah is insane. There's just no other way to describe it! The intrepid explorer will find himself lost in a maze of slot canyons so narrow he can touch both walls with outstretched arms, so deep that the sun never reaches the bottom.

Wire Pass Trail (Buckskin Gulch access)

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Attraction

Wire Pass Trail (Buckskin Gulch access) Photo, Kanab, Utah
Quote:
To reach the Wire Pass trailhead, follow US Highway 89 for 34 miles west of Page, Arizona. Between mile markers 25 and 26 is an unmarked road (on the west side of the dry creekbed) turning left (or south). This road, when dry, is passable with a passenger car. When wet, you'll have problems even with a 4-wheel-drive vehicle as places are steep and extremely slippery mud makes it impassable. Four-point-two miles south of the highway you pass the Buckskin Gulch trailhead. At 7.9 miles there is a big parking area on your right with pit toilets. Park here, cross the road, purchase your day pass (see below), and sign into the wilderness log. The trail avoids the wash bottom, saving sloggi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 3, 2003

Wire Pass Trail (Buckskin Gulch access)
U.S. Hwy 89
Kanab, Utah

The Wave

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Attraction

The Hike to the Wave Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
"The Wave" is an extremely unusual banded sandstone erosion pattern in a canyon near the Wire Pass Trailhead. It looks almost extraterrestrial and is definitely worth a hike if you're in the area, perhaps dayhiking into Buckskin Gulch from Wire Pass. The trailhead is the same used for Wire Pass. (See that section for directions). Sign into the wilderness log at the Wire Pass trailhead. You will have already secured your permits from the BLM. Only 10 people are allowed per day. Leaving the Wire Pass Trailhead you follow the wash downstream. After about 1/2-mile you will come to a gentle curve to the right where a broad, well-worn trail veers up and to...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 4, 2003

Paria River Trail

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Attraction

Paria Canyon Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
The Paria River winds through a narrow canyon for 38 miles on its way to the Colorado River at the entrance to the Grand Canyon. Unlike the narrower, darker Buckskin Gulch, the Paria presents less hazard from flash flooding, offers safe places to camp, and springs to obtain fresh water. Hiking Paria Canyon requires a permit which should be obtained well in advance from the Bureau of Land Management. Please see the PERMITS section for more info. Paria River trail offers the less-experienced hiker a much safer way to view slot canyons than the more intense and dangerous Buckskin Gulch. The trail normally takes a minimum of three days to hike, but more time is preferable t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 4, 2003

Wire Pass Trail (Buckskin Gulch access)

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Attraction | "Buckskin Gulch Trail"

Wire Pass Trail (Buckskin Gulch access) Photo, Kanab, Utah
Quote:
Buckskin Gulch is the longest slot canyon in the world, 16 miles of high walls so narrow you can touch them with outstretched arms. While this is a place of potent beauty, it is also a place of extraordinary danger. At best, you will have a dry walk over sand and gravel, with an occasional vertical boulder drop to negotiate, all the way to the Paria River. At worst, flooding near the canyon or higher up in the mountains will send a torrent of water down the narrows and kill you. Normal experience, however, is to be confronted with deep pools of silty water, thick mud sometimes thigh deep, and numerous difficult overhung drops over boulder chokes. This is an extremely challenging hike, and...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 4, 2003

Wire Pass Trail (Buckskin Gulch access)
U.S. Hwy 89
Kanab, Utah

Overview of Paria Canyon Wilderness Area

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Story/Tip

Paria Canyon Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
Paria Canyon is a huge place! It's owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and is a relatively undeveloped tract of wilderness on the Utah/Arizona border. The centerpiece of the area is the Paria River, which flows through some spectacularly narrow canyons on its way to the Grand Canyon. But intersecting Paria Canyon at numerous intervals are other even narrower slot canyons that divide into other even narrower slot canyons. It's an explorer's dream (or worst nightmare!) It can be difficult to comprehend the complex system of trails in the area, and there is a lot of redundant or bad information out there. The area is EXTREMELY popular in the summer with canyoneers and hikers...Read More

Permits

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Story/Tip

Climbdowns Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
All hikes in the Paria Canyon Wilderness require special permits from the Bureau of Land Management, with the exception of Wire Pass. The BLM severely limits the number of people on the trails for numerous reasons, which is good if you''re the lucky one to get the permit! 20 hikers are allowed to enter Buckskin Gulch each day. Only 10 are allowed to hike to The Wave from the Wire Pass trailhead each day. Permits are available no more than seven months in advance. They book up solidly seven months out for the prime dry hiking months of April and May. Weekends throughout the summer also tend to disappear right at seven months out. Permits can be obtained by calling the BLM di...Read More

Weather and Water

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Story/Tip

Buckskin Flooding Photo, Utah, United States
Quote:
It cannot be stressed enough in this journal the importance of following the weather patterns carefully for a full week before you set out on your hike. 1/2-inch of rain in the area is enough to flood the slot canyons and kill any hikers inside!!! This is SERIOUS BUSINESS! DO NOT attempt to hike into any of the slot canyons if there is rain predicted for the day, or if there is significant water flowing in them already. April and May are historically the driest and prettiest months for hiking. Though summer temperatures can peak around 110 degrees, the temperature in the bottom of Buckskin Gorge may remain a dark cool 75 or 80. However, on the exposed hike to The Wave, you may roast alive. ...Read More