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. Everywhere has a great view. Once you enter there is no turning back. Heed the warnings, and walk into a slot. The day-use fee is $6.00 per person and $6.00 per dog. Heavy packs on we set off on the Wire Pass trail which almost immediately entered the dry creek bed and headed east. The confluence camping area isn’t at the actual confluence of the two canyons but rather in a wider part of the canyon just before reaching the confluence. We heeded the snakes warning and gave it a wide berth. Length 5.6 miElevation gain 616 ftRoute type Out & … There are a handful of good campsites at the confluence, but they are heavily impacted and it can get congested here as most people end up camping here at the end of day one. There are several different ways to hike in this area. For the first few miles, Paria Canyon resembles Buckskin Gulch. The next morning we awoke early before the sun rose to get a start on the journey to the White House Trailhead. It is hard to imagine how such a majestic creature could come to such a fate. This is a FREE campsite. The Wire Pass slot canyon is one of the narrowest parts of the journey when backpacking Buckskin Gulch. The trailhead campground is less than a mile from the slot canyons. These sections aren’t for the faint of heart as the water feels more like quicksand than water. The canyons and washes were dry when we went. Each footstep into the unknown squished deep into the mud. Your email address will not be published. If you’re not lucky, nearby Buckskin Gulch is a great second choice. Throughout the rest of Paria Canyon, there are regular, but not constant, options. Wire Pass To Buckskin Gulch, near Kanab, Utah Three miles or as much as you can take, moderate hike. It took about an hour to drive those miles, and it was much easier on the way out since we knew what was ahead. It is short; only about half mile long. After acquiring our site we hiked the Toadstool Trail located about 3 miles away. Gloves to protect your hands from the rock handholds and a small pack to carry your water and belongings is recommended for the hike. Once you are in some of the slot canyons there is no turning back. A couple are about a hundred feet. Buckskin Gulch is wider through this area with the spring water creating a small extremely shallow creek all year round. Furthermore, normal physical mobility, or better, is required to navigate some tight areas of the trails. 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. If you’ve got a bit of a beer belly you won’t make it to the end. 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. Usually a rope is in place to help with the downclimb. Slot canyons like Buckskin Gulch are extremely prone to flash-flooding, and should not be attempted if flooding is a concern. For mile after mile, there is no escape from the canyon other than hiking to its end. 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). That’s what we did, and we absolutely loved Buckskin Gulch. Arriving at the boulder equation the path ahead immediately splits to the left and the right. Once on the other side, you will find the rope drop to the left which you are now at the base of. 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. 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. Take it slow, use common sense, and have fun. Truck Camper Magazine readers share their favorite slot canyons and the recommended truck camping locations near by. If you’re already in the canyon and see the water (if there is any) rising in depth, getting muddy, or increasing in debris, get out of the canyon. "One's destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things." The canyon hike was a 1.5 to 2-miles long and joined with Buckskin Gulch and some more slot canyons. You never know what you will find on a backpacking journey. And if you hear a sound like a jet engine (rushing water), get to high ground as fast as possible. 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. Editor’s Note: This hike remains one of our all-time favorites. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! It is about 15 to 20-miles east of Kanab, Utah. The footing is mostly very loose sand, and when dry, fairly deep. 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. A permit is needed for this canyon as well. There is one 100-foot drop that drops you over a blind wall where you cannot see the bottom of the canyon from the top. Park at the trailhead parking area for Wire Pass that leads to Buckskin Gulch. The sand bar on the left side of the creek bed is really the best indicator of the trail. Here in the middle of this long and seemingly lifeless slot canyon was a highly venomous rattlesnake. Wire Pass Trail to Buckskin Gulch is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kanab, Utah that features a river and is good for all skill levels. I can confirm that the canyon is absolutely awe-inspiring! It is about 15 to 20-miles east of Kanab, Utah. The trail itself is sandy and somewhat steep so the lack of your heavy backpacks makes it easier. Wirepass to the Whitehouse Trailhead - Buckskin Gulch is an exceptionally long and spectacular slot canyon that lures hikers into the relatively new and adrenaline pumping pursuit of canyoneering.Touted as the "longest slot canyon in the world", Buckskin Gulch is … The route then turns to a gravel road for approximately 10-miles. My advice is to let the young overly zealous hikers get by you in a wide spot. Latest: Vote For Your Favorite Camper, Gear, and Innovation. Here on the right side of the path are some petroglyphs of bighorn sheep. Paria Canyon on a whole is much wider which exposes the creek bed to a lot of sun and heat. Access is seriously controlled and limited in both time of day and number of people allowed on site for any given period. 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. No reservations are accepted. There is no camping in Buckskin Gulch until the confluence. TCM readership in 2020 smashed every prior record with an incredible 1.9-million unique visitors... Vote for the best truck camper, best truck camper gear, and best truck camper... Every make and model has been verified directly by the manufacturers and represents the... nuCamp RV has produced a video showcasing the 2021 Cirrus 620. 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. While Buckskin Gulch is much tighter and extremely secluded the true difference is in the lack of water. Any chance of rain or storms? There are many drops. At 15 miles long it is the longest slot canyon in the world. Be prepared to be amazed by the power of what water can do. 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. Editor’s Note: We have attempted to get permits for The Wave three times and failed to win the daily lottery all three times. Know the canyon and your skill level before you enter a slot canyon. Then, travel south on House Rock Valley Junction road. This means not just the immediate vicinity of the slot canyon, but the surrounding area as well. Address. About the time that the canyon widened out so much that it no longer resembled a canyon at all, we saw the familiar sign of the White House rock formation. Luckily, we came across this native in an area of the canyon where we could actually give him some space. A permit is required for both day hiking and overnight backpacking. Also, if you are claustrophobic, slot canyons may not be for you. The path then continues its narrow journey through the hidden desert terrain. The Buckskin Gulch Confluence is a magical place to camp. One of the country’s truly classic trails for hiking, the Buckskin Gulch meanders through a … The vertical cliffsides of the canyon rise up on both sides of the gulch. Before long the Wire Pass canyon widens and intersects with Buckskin Gulch. There is the Vermillion Cliffs and Paria Canyon Wilderness trailhead there. Campfires are not allowed at any of the sites. Driving to the trailhead will save you a couple of miles hiking. The views are breathtaking and photo opportunities are endless. For overnight trips into Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch, you must apply for and purchase a permit in advance. Prepare to be in a remote area and plan your route accordingly. The stars at night were amazing! We were surprised at how easy it was to walk into this slot canyon from the parking/camping area. They can be done without ropes, but ropes will help. The right is the correct path climbing up and over the uneven terrain. We turned left at the juncture and headed up the narrow canyon. Buckskin Gulch is the longest and narrowest slot canyon in the world - a serpintine hallway with walls of solid stone and a floor dotted with boulders where in some places it's so tight, even the sky is not visible. 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 canyons range from easy to walk through to requiring canyoneering and repelling skills. This article is all about our personal adventure of backpacking Buckskin Gulch. The White House Campground is one of the four possible trailheads when hiking Buckskin Gulch. Looking for some of the most incredible hikes on planet Earth? The endpoint for the Buckskin Gulch trail is typically the White House Trailhead & Campground. 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. Forget bringing the pet(s) into the monument area. GPS is useless as there isn’t a line of sight to the sky and therefore the satellite signal doesn’t reach into the depths of the canyon. The nightlife might have also been in The Narrows but the flow of the Virgin River drowns it out. It’s also critical to be aware of the weather report for the area ahead of your hike or backpack trip. We enjoyed the high tight walls but kept up a steady pace because the heat was supposed to approach 100 degrees and we knew those walls would spread apart exposing us to the harsh heat long before we reached White House. This rockslide will drop into a dark hole that could have water in it (it didn’t when we were there). 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. This is the trailhead for the Buckskin Gulch hike. Many require canyoneering and repelling skills. It is a steep winding road to get to Hayters Gap. Due to the risk of flash flood there are no good campsites in Buckskin Gulch until you get to the confluence with the Paria. The water was low for us so we looked around and found an easier path. With the small spring water emerging into the canyon it is an oasis hidden deep in the earth. There is a small BLM campground a short distance south of the Buckskin Slot Canyon trailhead. Use existing campsites at least 200 feet from a water source. Camping can be done near the trailhead in many dispersed locations. At the time we went in 2019, the fee was $6. Some swimming is required. There is little to no shade once direct overhead sunlight reaches into the canyon, so protective clothing and/or sunscreen is highly recommended. 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. Click here to read about other places to visit and camp in the United States and Canada. This is an easy slot canyon that can be walked through and navigated with children. You will get wet. How long? Time to go back!” and returned to our truck camper. Always be conscious of the weather when entering a slot canyon. Home » Expeditions » Travel The USA » Slot Canyons: The Bucket List. Allegedly, at 23 miles long, it is the longest slot canyon in the US. Once in the hole, the path ahead is completed by crouching underneath the edge of the much larger boulder that has been blocking the path and is a part of the sandy path’s 20’ drop. You must use human waste bags throughout Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon. I not would suggest being at Buckskin Slot Canyon on a weekend or during Spring break. Flash floods are a very serious threat when exploring slot canyons. Once on the canyon floor between the boulders (just to the left of where Jennifer stands in the photo), the trail ahead is obscured. You can avoid this potential catastrophe with some advanced preparations. It is a short and steep three to four-mile hike to amazing views. If you want more details about the logistics for planning your own trip check out our Guide to Buckskin Gulch. Most people hike both over two days, camping along the way. Find a Campsite. 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. We packed up in the dark and set out on our hike in the early twilight. We camped at the Dry Fork Trailhead which is on BLM land with no services, but it’s free. A fee is required for all visits (see www.blm.gov) for details. Once entering into the canyon the path ahead very quickly comes to the first challenge, an 8’ vertical drop. To finish the boulder area the path ahead requires sliding between a few more tight boulders but nothing overly difficult. Go to the BLM office in Kanab and get your camping permit for Hole-in-the-Rock Road. The thick sand under our feet, the mesmerizing patterns of rolling rock, and the lizards on the canyon walls – all of it was truly breathtaking. I had thought that this journey would be similar and in many ways that is true, but these two journeys are also very different. We made several attempts that ended with a ranch fence or gate making us turnaround and try again. 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 spaces are close to one another, but it was quiet. It’s not like another slot canyon hiker is going to come at you at 60 miles per hour while texting. The terrain is sandy and loose but isn’t overly complicated. This is a BLM site and camping is very reasonably priced . Most casual hikers are weeded out in the first few miles. This was a blessing but even in this extremely dry time the deepest part of the gulch still had waist-deep water with a soft muddy bottom. There is no trail-you simply hike down the canyon, which is so narrow you can touch both walls in some spots. You may want to do some easier canyons before this one. As many know, slot canyons can be dangerous. The Buckskin Gulch part of the hike is 13 miles long which makes for a lengthy first day. Now, my wife and I travel as a way of life. I have worked hard to live a life of travel in the fleeting moments between work. Stay in the dry creek bed until you reach the Wire Pass slot canyon. This is one of the best hike we’ve ever did. There is a path that climbs up the steep sandy slope on the left (north) side of the canyon to a ledge. With each step, the accompanying thought of, “Is there firm ground beneath?” followed. No big RVs should attempt this road. It was a long hike to get to the canyon, but it was easy. A permit is required for this slot canyon. The campground is located at Unnamed Road, Cochiti Lake, NM 87083. Before proceeding, there are six very important rules to follow before you walk into a slot canyon. With the small spring water emerging into the canyon it is an oasis hidden deep in the earth. There aren’t many sand bars inside of Buckskin Gulch so that makes it slightly easier. When hiking to Buckskin Gulch from the Wire Pass trailhead, it takes awhile to reach the slot. We loved it. Tent Rocks National Monument is an awesome place to go. If the water is high this might be the only way ahead and it requires you to trust that weathered rope with your life. It is important to get here relatively early in the day to acquire one of the few first-come, first-served campsites. The first set of boulders are easy to traverse with a clear path leading ahead. Bill and Kira Jones 2017 Ford F-350 2018 Northern Lite 9-6Q SE. Another panel of ancient petroglyphs can be seen near the confluence. We suggest that one attempt to be there in the morning when the gate opens. They say you can’t camp at the trailheads, but we did so that we could get an early start. Buckskin Gulch is located off Highway 89. Cindy Wallis 2002 Ford F250 2018 Lance 650, Wire Pass To Buckskin Gulch, near Kanab, Utah 1.5 to 2 miles until Buckskin Gulch. You just need high clearance. Douglas Davis 2008 Dodge 3500 2004 Hallmark Cuchara, Red Cliffs Park, Harrisburg, Utah Three miles round trip. That means no sandals, no boots and no bare feet. Peek-a-Boo and Dry Fork canyons were right next to Spooky, so they can be visited on the same day. There is a downclimb of 15 feet close to the confluence. We went into the canyon for about a mile and came back out. Before entering slot canyons, check the weather. No camping is allowed at the trailhead. Easy walk in sand to Class three rock scramble. We hiked in with all our gear about three miles to the entrance of the canyon. Having someone with you (or a group) to help in an emergency could be critical. Just finding the road was an adventure. On the way out we passed by at least a dozen day hikers, backpackers, and horse riders. Buckskin Gulch is very popular, yet potentially very hazardous. 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. It isn’t the most enjoyable way to conclude such an amazing journey. Trip Planner. The nightlife in Buckskin Gulch overwhelms the stillness of this desert place. There was no elevation change to speak of. It’s a fantastic and almost surreal place, well worth taking time to see in a mindful manner. It’s about nine miles from the campground to the canyon. I have done the entire Narrows at Zion a few times. Buckskin Gulch . This path concludes with a 20’ drop with a knotted rope tied off to help you in your descent. Buckskin Gulch is a natural wonder. Two of the best campsites are located just above the confluence of Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon. In the far south west corner of Virginia in Jefferson National Forest is a unique slot canyon. The day of your slot canyon adventure, keep an eye on the horizon. We pushed on through the heat passing fellow hikers headed into the canyon. You can climb down a large stick to continue inside the canyon, but it’s also possible to go outside and around that part of route. There are few technical areas, but they are easily navigated. You have to continue to the end. Lucky for us, the monsoon hadn’t materialized and the land was parched. Security will not allow pets past the entry booth, even if the critter(s) will never exit the vehicle. There were a few drops in the trail of about three feet when we hiked it. To add to the heat the terrain becomes very sandy making the progress much slower. There is one tricky part on the trail inside the canyon where there is a steep drop. A hike into Buckskin Gulch in May of 2010 remains one of our most incredible hikes, ever. It will be worth it. 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