Fryxell and Amy McCarthy, Buckskin Gulch
Buckskin Gulch is arguably the world's longest slot canyon. For thirteen fantastic miles the canyon is deeper than it is wide. It's also one of the world’s most spectacular hikes.
For most of its reach, the narrow slot canyon offers pleasant walking. A few knee deep pools and a several boulder chocked sections requiring rock scrambling are the only obstacles. Flash floods are the biggest hazard earning Buckskin Gulch inclusion in Backpacking Magazine's list of America’s Most Dangerous Hikes.
Fryxell's first trip to the desert
This one or two-day adventure is typically done in conjunction with an 8-mile segment of the Paria River. A BLM permit is required. Only 20 people a day are allowed to overnight in the canyon. However, day use is unlimited and dogs are allowed.
"Fryx" and Amy on the Paria River near White House Campground
On May 4, 2013 my wife Amy, our dog Fryxell, and I completed the Buckskin Gulch/Paria River loop in a day and a half. Detesting car shuttles, we did it as a loop by starting and ending our hike at the White House Camp Ground on the Paria River.
On the first day we walked two miles up the Paria River past an old homestead to Long Canyon. A scenic five-mile walk along a graded gravel road led up Long Canyon and through a Pinyon-Juniper woodland to the Wilderness boundary and our camp.
Claret Cup in bloom
The start of our 24-mile hike
Early on our second day we enjoyed an easy descent into Buckskin Gulch and begin the 24-mile journey back to the White House Campground and our car.
The beginning of 13 miles of Narrows
Petroglyph of a Bighorn Sheep
Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch Confluence
Entering a narrow section through Navajo Sandstone
A Slot Canyon
A beam of sunlight
A natural labyrinth
A natural path between 600-foot walls
Buckskin Gulch is often only several meters wide
A small spring provides running water near the confluence with the Paria.
Buckskin Gulch-Paria River Confluence
Paria River near White House Campground
Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness - A Lasting Legacy
Video by the BLM
Buckskin Gulch and the lower reaches of the Paria River are located within the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area. Designated by congress in 1984 and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the 112,500-acre Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area straddles the border of Utah and Arizona. Towering walls streaked with desert varnish, legendary slot canyons, massive red rock amphitheaters, arches, ancient petroglyphs, and lush hanging gardens create an ethereal landscape.
Map by Clim-Utah.com
Climb-Utah.com offers an accurate and detailed Buckskin Gulch route description and map along with other useful information.